Published on April 5th, 2020 | by Justin G.
Archon Angel: Fallen (Frontiers, 2020)However jaded you may be when it comes to these Frontiers projects, when they announce a new album featuring former Savatage frontman Zak Stevens, you have to take notice. It has been several years since the last Circle II Circle album, and that’s just too long to go without hearing that powerful and distinctive voice. Here he’s paired with guitarist Aldo Lonobile (Secret Sphere, Edge Of Forever) for a project called Archon Angel. The Archon Angel debut album is titled Fallen, and it features bassist Yves Campion (Nightmare) and drummer Marco Lazzarini (Secret Sphere), as well as songwriting assistance from in-house talent Alessandro Del Vecchio (Voodoo Circle) and Simone Mularoni (DGM). The stated goal of this project was to recapture the style and energy of classic Savatage albums like Edge Of Thorns and Handful Of Rain, but I’m not sure that’s what Archon Angel ended up with on Fallen. Sure, there are some vocal/choral elements on songs like “Rise” and “Under The Spell” that resonate, and album closer “Return Of The Storm” comes pretty darned close to sounding like a Savatage song. For the most part though, the songs on Fallen tend to sound like they’d fit on either a DGM or Circle II Circle album. As good as they are (and some of them are quite good), they sound more interchangeable than uniquely Archon Angel. If you can set aside expectations (and a fair amount of the pre-release hype), there’s a lot to like about Archon Angel. Zak Stevens never turns in a bad performance, and it’s interesting to hear him take on this Italian heavy, not quite power metal style. And Lonobile is a very talented musician backed by an equally talented supporting cast. The songs are all really solid, and enjoyable while they’re playing. It’s just that you’re not likely to remember them once they’re done. It will be interesting to see if this is a one-off, or if Stevens and Lonobile stick around for another album or two and really define what makes Archon Angel unique.
Summary: I really wanted to love this one.