This is one of the most underrated pomp rock albums of all time! Angel epitomized the overblown glam look of the 1970's and certainly their sound was a bit glammy and glittery. However, their songs were good and they were as much a progressive rock band on this album as they were glam. As a matter of fact, "Tower" is one of the greatest progressive rock songs ever written. The interplay between the keyboards of Gregg Giuffria and the guitars of Punky Meadows are oustanding. Actually, Giuffria's keyboards are a bit more up front and play a more important role in the songs than one some of the follow-up albums. While the entire album only contains eight songs, all eight are vital and there isn't a filler in the bunch. From the brilliant opening track to the rock anthem "Rock & Rollers" to the melodic "On & On", Angel's debut is a fine example of 1970's pomp rock. (thanks Olaf)
Angel - On Earth As it Is In Heaven (Casablanca) 1977
OK, I know that nostalgia plays a big roll in music taste. Angel's "White Hot" is no where near the heavy metal that "Helluva Band" was. I probably should hate this album but I actually really like it. Angel were desperate to make it by this point in their career. For for some reason, despite the fact that they had the image, the cool logo, the label backing, the press, the big stage show, the songs, the chops and everything else going for them, they couldn't break big like label mates Kiss and Parliament. In order to gain a wider audience Angel went for the mid 70's pop rock sound. It did help to boost their sales slightly, as "White Hot" became the band's biggest selling record. I have several favorite son this disc including the rocking abum opener "Don't Leave Me Lonely". "Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" has a catchy, sing-along chorus. "Got Love If You Want It" is a pretty heavy song, that would have been even heavier with a slightly dirtier, meaner production. "The Winter Song" is a cool ballad. This song was later reworked into a Christmas song called "The Christmas Song." "White Hot" also sport an incredibly cool cover.
At the last minute "Winter Song" was added to this album in replace of a song called "Better Days", which was released on a very obscure 45 RPM single. Would be nice to see this song added to a remastered version of "White Hot". "Winter Song" was originally recorded as "The Christmas Song" to be released in October as a 45 before the release of "White Hot." AngelRocks.com has an MP3 of this song posted, although I don't know how long this MP3 will be there: http://www.angelrocks.com/angelbetterdays.mp3
Angel's last studio disc for ten years is actually a lot better than most reviewers said at the time. Granted it's in a more pop oriented direction, but overall it's still one fine rock 'n roll disc. Angel had seen an increase in popularity with "White Hot", their most successful album to date. "Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore", a hit cover of the Rascals, helped propel that album up the charts. With "Sinful" the band was attempting to create another hit single. The flamboyant, progressive sounds that had been heard on the band's debut have long since been replaced by more straight forward hard rock. Unfortunately the album didn't do quite as well as the band or their label had hoped, never even breaking the top 100 on the pop charts. Still, this album is chock full of great songs. Probably the most obvious is "L.A. Lady", a glam rocker that easily would have been a hit had it been released a few years later in the midst of the up-rise in metal in the 80's. "Bad Time", the song that closed out side one of the record, was a darker song lyrically. Edwin Lionel "Punky" Meadows guitars are heard loud and clear throughout this album. His distinctive tone is what starts side two of the record with "Waited A Long Time". This song is actually a pretty heavy song, with clearly heard bass and a heavy guitar riff. Unfortunately the crisp, pop production stripped away what could have been a much heavier song.
Originally this album was to be called "Bad Publicity" and had a totally different cover. Apparently, Casablanca felt this cover would ruin Angel's image. It is rumored that Neil Bogart was concerned that the young lady leaning over the railing in the background wasn't wearing any underwear. Still, some promo copies with the original cover art made it out onto the market. From the information I have gathered on-line, there are less than 50 of these actually in circulation. I wonder if the "tougher" looking cover might have actually helped this one to sell a bit more. I tend to think that some fans were beginning to be put off by Angel's lilly white image at this point in the game.
After the recall, the records were stripped from their covers, the original covers destroyed, and the records and sleeve replaced into the new, white "Sinful" covers. Original vinyl pressings of "Sinful" still have "Bad Publicity" printed on the record label itself. Repressed versions have "Sinful" printed on the Casablanca label. Some copies still had the original picture sleeve, but most repressings were given generic Casablanca sleeves.
The CD reissue includes this banned cover art inside the insert. The CD reissue also includes two bonus tracks, "Virginia" a cool power ballad, and "20th Century Foxes" a terrible disco track written for the movie of the same name.
In 2005 Hip-O Select re-released "Sinful" on CD, without the two bonus tracks that were on the Mercury Records version.
Angel - Live Without A Net (Mercury) 1980
Angel - Live Without A Net (BGO Records) 1980
Great live set that includes all the fun excesses of a 70's metal show including extended songs, keyboard, guitar and drum solos as well as a good selection of material from the band's discography. Angel also included a charged up cover of David Bowie's "All The Young Dudes." "Live Without A Net" is a fine career retrospect of a band that was most certainly one of the under appreciated bands of the 70's. It's a shame that this had to be the band's last official album for over a decade. I often wonder, had a live album been released only a few years earlier in Angel's career would they have taken off like Kiss or Peter Frampton? Both these artists struggled before their ground breaking live albums were released. Also band's like UFO, Blue Oyster Cult and Thin Lizzy were having great success with live albums around the same time. In any case, "Live Without a Net" is an awesome live CD.
For years "Live Without A Net" was the rarest of all the Angel CDs. I'm not sure if it is because it was pressed in smaller quantities or what the reason is, but "Live Without A Net" was selling constantly for no less than $50 on eBay. "Live Without A Net" was remastered and re-released on a single CD on Europe's BGO Records in 2006. The BGO release also contains an 8-page, full-color booklet with photos and a biography.
Angel - An Anthology (Mercury) 1992
Anthology was the first of any of Angel's music to see reissue on CD, so of course, I had to own it. The disc contains material from all of their albums, except "Live Without a Net." It is really interesting to see the progression in this band. As was true of a lot of the 70's hard rock bands, including label mates KISS, Angel headed into a more pop-rock direction in an attempt to gain (or hold on to) a fan base. Still Angel had a certain charisma that holds true for all their music and this disc is a nice collection of it. The disc also includes a decent bio and a few photos, although I would have liked to have seen a few more. There is also a few rarities on "Anthology" including the "Christmas Song," which is a rewrite of the "Winter Song" and "20th Century Foxes" which was the theme song of the movie by the same name. Unfortunately, while it may have worked for the movie, by itself it is a rather dull song. One other thing about this disc is that it rekindled my interest in Angel after hearing incredible songs like "Tower" and "On and On." Of course, to find their CDs has been a struggle, as they are far and few between, selling on eBay for anywhere from $30 to $100 each. OUCH!