Founding Angel members Frank Dimino and Punky Meadows last studio album together was “Sinful” – now 40 years old. In 2015/2016 both recorded their first solo albums, with Punky guesting on Frank’s. They went on seperate solo band tours, and eventually guested together, then playing together as a new version of the 70s hard-rock band.
Risen is the latest and greatest chapter in the return of Angel. First off – (and possibly for health reasons) neither Felix Robinson (bass player, who was also in Punky’s band) or Barry Brandt (drummer, who was in last incarnation of Angel with Dinino in late 90s) are on this, nor is keyboard player Gregg Guiffria , who left the music industry for bigger things years ago. The band is now a 6 piece with Meadows sidekick Danny Farrow, who plays guitar and co-wrote with the 2 founding bandmembers. The rest of the band consists of Charlie Calv on keyboards [from Punky’s band], Steve O’Jane on bass [also from Punky’s band], and drummer Billy Orrico [Tug Of War].
Punky Meadows notes that the album “…will satisfy every Angel fan and take you on a musical journey.” Well, he is not wrong! Risen consists of 15 brand new Angel songs, as well as the keyboard intro [“Angel Theme”] and a remake of the classic “Tower” [from the band’s debut in 1975]. For the most part this is a great batch of hard-rockers and pop-rockers with plenty of cool hooks, solos, catchy choruses, and all-round solid productions. For any Angel fans who liked the first track released – “Under The Gun” – you will be more than happy with this album and songs like “Slow Down”, “We Were The Wild”, “Our Revolution”, “Over My Head”, “Desire”, and “Shot Of Your Love”. With 2 guitars, the band is a bit heavier sounding than where they left off in ’79. I could do without the sugary ballad “IOU”, tho realize plenty of Angel fans will probably enjoy it,; I prefer the heavier ballad here – “Don’t Want You To Go”. A few different cuts in the 60s pop influenced “Tell Me Why”, softer pop number “Turn Around” [great chorus], and cool heavy anthem – “(Punky’s Couch Blues) Locked, Cocked, Ready To Rock” [Punky fans will dig this]. Stand-outs for me are the heavier rockers “My Sanctuary” and “Our Revolution”, and instant classic “1975”! If fans are looking for that mini-epic [ala Tower or Fortune] this is it – lengthy dramatic keyboard intro, starts out slow with acoustic guitar and organ, and picks ups from there – love the bluesy solo, the harmonies, and Frank’s vocals as this song pays tribute to the music scene of that period [mentioning New York Dolls, Kiss, Queen….].
Risen is a very enjoyable album, with so many easily likeable songs, and great performances from 2 guys [and band] who disappeared from making music for far too long. Frank sounds like he hasn’t aged at all, and Punky – despite being out of music for so many years, sounds like he’s got a lot to say and has never been better. Here’s hoping there’ll be more!