• 9/10
    AMERICAN ANGEL - Vanity - 9/10


Chavis Records
Release date: May 29, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Hailing from New Jersey, USA, American Angel is best described as one of those “obscure” Hard Rock/Hair Metal bands that got overlooked or cast aside in 1989 by the often talked about “Grunge Movement.” Their 1990 self-titled debut now goes for $70.00 USD (used on eBay) and their 1992 EP is just as difficult to acquire. In a decade when revival of 80s bands seems to be at an all time high, American Angel has decided to join the trend with a new set of twelve tracks entitled Vanity.

Vanity is somewhat of a concept album, actually more of a collection of songs centered around a story that looks back at a time when music was driven by the image. It’s not the “story,” though, that will drive sales of this CD, but rather the fact that Vanity delivers plenty of powerful Hard Rock/Hair Metal embedded with Blues-based nuances (e.g., occasional slide guitar).

The fireworks begin as soon as the starting gate is lifted with “Pantomind,” which rides on a slamming drum rhythm and a galloping riff. All of this is enhanced with some contained slide guitar and a wonderful melodic chorus. This is followed by the title track, which is wonderfully sung by Rocco Fury, and here the songwriting delivers once again with another nice melodic chorus and hook line. There really isn’t a weak track on this release. It does contain some slower, mid-tempo Blues-based Rock songs but even those are delivered with a certain power and strength all maintained around a certain degree of melody.

All of this music is wonderfully delivered, but the trait that will distinguish itself the most in this band is the wonderful vocal performance by Fury. It’s hard to imagine that he sounds this good after some eighteen years. His predominately gritty vocal style is somewhat characteristic of Sebastian Bach without sounding like a carbon copy. Fury has the impeccable talent of taking his voice from a gritty, rawer tone and then switching mid-song to a more melodic, almost falsetto range. One of his many highlights is on the slower, ballad-like “Warm Inside” where Rocco and the band deliver a very powerful and moving performance that is akin to the impact of say Skid Row’s “18 And Life.” This one has incredible hit potential.

There are so many great moments on this release, its hard to mention them all. Certainly one that deserves mentioning is “Turns To Grey,” which is a catchy Melodic Rocker containing one of the most memorable choruses on the release. Then there is “End Of The Night” with another gritty vocal performance, which sees Rocco change gears and then sing the chorus in the Sebastian Bach falsetto range.

Hopefully, history has proved to be a lesson for music lovers who won’t repeat their 1990s mistake by overlooking this band once again. It’s really a shame these guys got overlooked originally because even today they have a lasting appeal and quality akin to the Skid Row of the 80s without the bad boy attitude. Vanity holds its own as a powerful collection of Blues-inspired Melodic Hard Rock/Hair Metal with plenty of “crunch.” At this point, it is the lead contender for the best Melodic Hard Rock release of 2007. Hopefully, this “win” will spin-off another album or ten by these guys in the very near future. This is perhaps one of those rare cases where the quality and maturity of the comeback material exceeds anything else in the band’s catalog. Definitely a recommended buy, especially for any Skid Row fans that were not particularly thrilled with Skid Row’s modern day efforts. Fans will not be disappointed if they let “Vanity become their favorite sin!”


Rocco Fury – Vocals
Dennis Zehrer – Guitar
Mike Biscula – Guitar
Jay Druzba – Bass
Marc Ambrosy – Drums
Eric Ragbo – Keyboards


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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