Heaven's Metal Gives Angelica Without Words 4.5 Start

Angelica, Reviews -

Heaven's Metal Gives Angelica Without Words 4.5 Start

When Angelica first appeared, it was a project conceived by
guitarist/songwriter Dennis Cameron with four albums being
released between the years of 1989 to 1992. After a 27 year
hiatus, Angelica has returned with a new release, but with a
twist.


The songs released during the project’s first run were typical
of the pop glam metal era, which is not to say that they were
bad songs. They were known for Cameron’s guitar work and
straightforward lyrics, proclaiming a bold message. The
compositions on this new Angelica recording are very modern with
lots of low end and much more growl than the project’s early
songs. The twist is that Without Words is, literally, without
words. An instrumental album in the vein of Joe Satriani or
Eric Johnson, the story is now being told with a guitar instead
of a voice.


One knock on this genre is that sometimes a player can come off
as being over the top, more interested in displaying technical
ability and “shredding” over creating atmosphere or substance.
This album contains plenty of technical prowess, but the playing
never has the feel of a “look at me” attitude. Instead of cold
technicality the songs provide a roller coaster of heart and
emotion and you get the feeling that instead of showing off
Cameron is opening himself up and sharing an incredible gift
that he has been given.


The songs range from heavy and driven, displaying thick chords
overlaid with masterful melodies while other songs are gentle
with an undercurrent of edginess. And some of them are just
plain fun. All are filled with hooks, unique chord changes and
sounds that are very satisfying to the ear. All of this is
executed with the kind of talent that makes excellence seem
effortless.


The flawless execution of drive, melody and sound keeps each
song exciting and interesting, even with the absence of lyrics.
Every song is unique, yet the album has an unmistakable theme
that gives the listener the impression that they are on a
journey of great importance.

 

The 10 songs on this album are placed in perfect order and flow
together seamlessly from one to the next. Standout tracks
include Just Amazing, which is built from a beautiful acoustic
rendering of Amazing Grace that grows into a new creation
altogether. Psalm 91 is an epic song that perfectly captures
the themes of the verses found in the psalm of its title. The
album wraps up with two interesting tracks, Gumbo and Chick’n
Pick’n. Gumbo is a rocker with Southern roots, complete with
banjo picking and clean country leads dueling with the most
metal of guitar solos. Chick’n Pick’n is another country
influenced song that is in the vein of Brad Paisley. If you
know anything about Brad Paisley, you know that the guy can
play.


The CD is part of the Legends of Rock Series and is packaged in
a jewel case with an 8 page booklet that includes a Gear Talk
section.


I have been a music fan for my entire life and I have very few
instrumental rock albums in my collection. I’m not a guitar
player and these types of albums don’t normally keep my
attention. I’ve always appreciated the playing of Jeff Beck,
Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and others, but their albums have never
caused me to want to listen for extended periods of time.


Without Words not only managed to grab my attention but it also
managed to hold it. The album caused me to listen in a way that
few instrumental rock albums have in the past. Dennis Cameron
still has something to say even if it is without words.
4.5 stars out of 5, highly recommended.


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