Album review: HEAVEN – Where Angels Fear To Tread

HEAVEN - Where Angels Fear To Tread

Rock Candy Records [Release date 09.10.20]

Australia’s tough as teak rock bands. There were four: AC/DC, The Angels, Cold Chisel and Rose Tattoo.

But there was also a fifth…Heaven.

They had formed in 1980′s Sydney. The band’s vocalist, Scottish born Allan Fryer, had been tipped to replace Bon Scott. Their manager, Michael Browning, once managed AC/DC. They couldn’t go wrong, except the breakthrough never happened.

In 1980, Browning had taken the band to the US to tour and to record this, their second album, “Where Angels Fear To Tread”. Glenn Hughes and Ronnie James Dio added to the backing vocals. And in the band’s menacing, stalking, hard rock rock songs, you can detect trace elements of Black Sabbath going back to their “Heaven And Hell’ album. Quite conceivably, that’s where Heaven got their name.

The songs are all so tight and punchy. Guitarists Kelly’s and Cocks’ remarkably lean yet eminently anthemic axework jointly soar above a piston pumping groove on track after track. ‘Madness’, ‘Rock School’ and ‘Hard Life’ leap off the page.

Fryer’s voice, somewhere between Feargal Sharkey’s tremulous tenor and Bon Scott’s gravelly edge, has the perfect hard rock heft and weight for sensory assaulting songs like ‘Where Angels Fear To Tread’, the track, and the muscular ‘Scream For Me’, but is equally effective on the the more considered tones of Supremes’ cover, ‘Love Child’ and the deliberately unconvincing sentiments of ‘Don’t Mean Nothin’.

The original album hit the US Rock charts a glancing blow. Then disappeared. A third album ‘Knocking On Heaven’s Door’ (1985) disappeared without trace, despite what is probably the pre eminent recording of the Dylan classic.

On this reissue, Rock Candy’s remastering techs have again excelled themselves, bringing up the dynamics that were just waiting in producer George (Kiss/Lita Ford/Mellencamp ) Tutko’s original mix for rediscovery.

And the beefed up artwork, an entertaining essay and some new interviews do the album the justice it deserves.

Review by Brian McGowan

The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk

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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 18 April 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

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Featured Albums w/c 19 April 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 STEPHEN CRANE Kicks (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE TREATMENT Waiting For Good Luck (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 AMY SPEACE & THE ORPHAN BRIGADE – There Used To Be Horses Here (Proper)

Power Plays w/c 3 May 2021 (Mon-Fri)

THE COLD STARES In The Night Time (Mascot)
NATHALIE MIRANDA Battle Scars (You Won’t Forget My Name) (indie)
RAMES Eleanor Street (indie)
CRIMSON RIOT Shatter (Golden Robot Records)
THUNDERMOTHER You Can’t Handle Me (AFM Records)

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