Album review: ARC ANGEL – Harlequins of Light

 

Frontiers www.frontiers.it

Arc Angel is Jeff Cannata and Jeff (and Arc Angel) go back a long way. Jeff (going then by the name of Christopher Hawke) was a founding member of Connecticut based progressive rock band Jasper Wrath who released their self-titled debut back in 1971. When Jasper Wrath broke up in 1976 Cannata, with band-mate Michael Soldan, formed Arc Angel and the rest of the band including one James Christian formed Eyes. Arc Angel’s debut surfaced to little acclaim in the US back in 1983 but picked up a cult following in Europe. After various projects including one of the early releases on the Now & Then label (Cannata’s Watching the World), Jeff has seen fit to resurrect the Arc Angel name for another go.

Harlequins of Light kicks off in full overblown pomp mode with the superb title track. An atmospheric piano intro is followed by an orchestra and guitar refrain that brings Kashmirto mind. Unfortunately to my mind things then begin to slip…

Best remaining tracks are power ballad Through the Night which carries a very familiar catchy tune…maybe a cross between Angel and Queen and last track Legend of the Marie Celeste with its creaking boat intro and Magnum/Saga feel. As Far As the Eye Can See kicks off with a Def Leppard intro and then turns into Asia. War (Battle Wounds of Life) has an intriguing title but turns out to be bland and fairly tuneless. Get to You is a soppy love song and is totally out of place and nearly unlistenable…

Production is superb throughout and the playing is faultless. Vocals could be a little stronger in places. The most obvious reference for the overall style is a cross between John Payne era Asia with some Magnum, Angel, House of Lords and “H” era Marillion thrown into the mix.

An album and of real highs and lows – it’s a shame that the songs couldn’t have continued in the same vein as the title track…nice artwork though.

***

Album review by Phil Berisford


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