SEPTEMBER 1st 2013

Review by Anka

It’s been a while since I heard any AOR type of music. Mind you, I love this stuff, it’s just that this genre hasn’t been in the spotlight in a long time. Do we forget it once no one brings it up anymore? Well not now. Arc Angel ‘s new release this August (also coming after a long break under this moniker) is a nice surprise. Obviously if you’re too strongly anchored in the current musical reality this won’t be your thing. But if you’ve known rock for a while, or if you’re nostalgic at all, this album will be a keeper. 

Yes, Arc Angel started out around 30 years ago, and this is music mostly specific to the 80’s decade, but there’s nothing awkward about hearing this album now - in my mind, AOR will always have its place in any decade. The band’s mastermind Jeff Cannata created a new album that doesn’t sound expired at all in today’s rock soundscape.
“Harlequins of Light” brings 12 melodic rock songs backed up by balanced orchestral arrangements. The album develops at a relatively settled pace, with sharp-sounding, guitar solos and catchy, sing-along choruses. From the very first notes, the guitars get a major role within the songs. Even on the ballad-style tracks, the guitar leads remain essential and carry the melodies beautifully. Piano adds even more melody and the orchestral arrangements support the rock riffs with retro sounding tones.

You can feel a slight progressive direction at times, but everything is so melodic and flows smoothly, that it doesn’t require any effort on the listener’s side. There’s a generic soft tone and warm vibe throughout the album and it all sounds gentle yet powerful. Ballads like “Through the Night” and “Legend of the Mary Celeste” are highlights that can easily rival any power ballad of the 80s.

Songs to remember: Fortune Teller 2, Diamonds and Gold, Harlequins of Light, Through the Night

An easy listen that will please any melodic rock and AOR fan. It’s got its retro flavor but as mentioned before, nothing sounds outdated here. The good part about such music is that it can easily get radio play and even more exposure in all sorts of media. Not sure if we’ll see Arc Angel around or if Jeff Cannata will focus on other projects from here on, but surely this album didn’t disappoint and hopefully there will be more coming in the future.