Previously, we'd already posted on these hallowed pages a review of The Angels Face to Face, a devastatingly powerful album that married the passion and intensity of the Sex Pistols with the rock and roll riffs of AC/DC. In truth, it's difficult to tell which is the quintessential Angels album, their first American release Face to Face or their follow-up Dark Room. The Australian version of Face spent an unprecedented 77 weeks on the Aussie charts, and Dark Room followed it by immediately going platinum. In America, however, The Angels still struggled to find an audience. The problem was no one knew how to classify the band. Too punk for heavy metal, they were too rock for punk and too heavy for new wave. As singer Doc Neeson put it. "Punk. Heavy metal. New Wave. We're a rock and roll band. Those other words confuse me."
Indeed, The Angels were a rock and roll band, and Dark Room, rocks in fine form. Like Face to Face, Dark Room has the same propulsive rhythms, manic vocals and contains its own classic of Orwellian paranoia, "Face the Day." Again, Neeson's voice is barely contained within the structure of the songs and the Brewster bros blast out one mighty riff after another.
Dark Room contained the Angels first #1 hit with "No Secrets" (although "Am I Ever Going to See Your Face Again" was a monster hit down under.) As the first sounds you hear when the CD spins, "No Secrets," kicks off the affair with a stuttering riff that builds in intensity until Doc Neeson's twisted vocals sneer on top of the pounding bass. "Wasted Sleepless Nights," begins with a dirge-like Velvet Underground bass line, gradually building momentum until the guitar slashes in, Neeson's vocals building in mania until he screeches across the chorus. Absolutely, vintage Angels. "Night Comes Early," and "Devil's Gate," follow form, just balls-out rock and rollers in serious need of a thorazine injection.
But, without a doubt, the highlight of the album is "Face the Day," a perfect vehicle for Doc Neeson's brand of mental illness. Forget the Great White embarrassing bastardization, no one could do justice to this amazing declaration of schizophrenic paranoia other than Neeson. Check out the video down below. The mania in Neeson's eyes is real, my friends. Let's face it, he wasn't nicknamed the Mad Irishman for nothing.
But truth be told, which one of us hasn't at one time just wanted to pound the fuck out of the alarm clock, hide our heads under our pillows and just wish the day would go on with out us. Or as our Mad Master of Ceremonies declares: "Long night leaves me stranded/black vision, danger sign/no love need protection/feels like I'm on production line/daggers of dawn/cold hearted day/why does it have to be morning?/cover my head/stay in bed/too late for luckless warning/I don't want to face the day."
Beautiful. Simply beautiful.
I once wrote a short story, interspersing the lyrics of "Face the Day" with images of a sermonizing Jimmy Swaggart and images of flight attendants pointing out the way to the emergency exits. Well, it made sense at the time.
Anyways, as always, the band is incredibly tight behinds Neeson's mad vocals, riffs executed to perfection, the rhythm section endlessly flawless, as they propel the songs forward, ever fricking forward. The arrangements on Dark Room are more complex than Face To Face, with more variation of tempo within the songs, rather than the straight ahead blues-busting riffs. "Poor Baby" is catapulted into the stratosphere with a grinding prototypical Angels riff while "Alexander" would sit comfortably on any AC/DC album with the exception of the lyrics ,which are far too intelligent for Bon Scott to master.
The Angels are a true treasure of straight-out raucous rock and roll that somehow got lost on the sanitized American shores. Thankfully, those brilliant Aussies knew what they had, and the Angels enjoyed a huge measure of success there. More Angels albums will probably make there way onto these review pages in the future. Two Minute Warning is an exceptionally brutal outing for the lads. But in the meantime, run, don't walk to the local CD shop, jump online over to CD Baby or Amazon and do yourself a favor, pick up Dark Room and revel in the shear insanity of the Angels creation.
Mental illness never sounded so good.-Racer
Buy here: Darkroom