Home Magazine Album Reviews Interviews News Featured Musician Genre Seeker SOTW

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Angtoria: God Has a Plan for Us All

Year released: 2006
Label: Listenable Records
Official website: http://www.angtoria.com


1. The Awakening [1:31]

2. I'm Calling [4:57]

3. God Has a Plan for Us All [4:33]

4. Suicide on My Mind [4:15]

5. Deity of Disgust [4:59]

6. The Addiction [3:27]

7. Six Feet Under's Not Deep Enough [3:51]

8. Do You See Me Now? [4:25]

9. Original Sin (The Devil's Waiting in the Wing) [3:38]

10. Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned [4:43]

11. Confide in Me (Kylie Minogue cover) [4:14]

12. That's What the Wise Lady Said [4:31]

I just finished this album last night, and I thought hmm.. this has to be up on Zetalambmary. Angtoria's debut and only album to date, God Has a Plan for Us All, released in 2006. Though if you listened to the songs, you'd realise its not a really nice plan probably. Fronted by Sarah Jezebel Deva (her real name's Sarah Jane Ferridge, you'd think she'd have picked a stage name that's shorter than her real one ain't it..), widely known as the backing vocalist for Cradle of Filth when they're on tour, she first met Chris Rehn in 2001 and along with his brother Tommy, they formed Angtoria.

They're musically impressive. Unlike most of their peers who feature female soprano singers and overall less exuberant music, Angtoria brings out the Metal in symphonic metal. The guitars are very prominent, the keyboards play supporting actor in this gig and the drumming is plenty aggressive. Yet through it all, they don't lose that symphonic and gothic flavour. And Sarah's voice, for someone who is, to quote Shadori's words, somewhat horizontally inclined, is surprisingly alluring in its femininity and yet simultaneously strong and soaring. From ballads like "The Addiction" to more aggressive tracks like "Original Sin", you quickly get struck in the quality of her voice. Overall, both the music and the voice are very well done and they come together to make really wonderful songs, particularly in moments such as the chorus of "Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned" where they feel just perfect together and raise you to musical nirvana. Some harsh vocals provided by guests musicians have also been masterfully included.

So, drawbacks? Well you've seen the album cover, it isn't hard to guess what the lyrical theme for the whole album is about. Some songs, like the perversely titled "God Has a Plan for Us All" is so blatantly obvious that you'd almost squirm to hear the words sung out. I dunno 'bout y'all, but I keep wondering how popular an album filled with songs about rape, child sexual abuse and suicide can possibly be, even in the metal community. I know, there are black metal bands that promote even more creepy arcane stuff (anybody know Dissection? Or Soulreaper?) and gory images are prevalent everywhere in metal songs, but this kinda crosses over the line doesn't it. And its not like they do it gently, with a touch of surreality. Its as hard-on in your face as their musical style: largely blunt, with traces of intricacy. For the music, it works, its great. For the lyrics, I'm not so sure.

Dave Pybus (bass), Chris Rehn (guitars), Sarah Jezebel Deva (vocals), Tommy Rehn (guitars), John Henriksson (drums)

Alright no matter what, the quality of the musicianship displayed in this album cannot be denied. Angtoria doesn't just walk a fine line between mainstream listener-friendly and the raw energy and aggression of metal. They walk it with grace and style. As long as you're not opposed to listening to something that's slightly more straining on the ears than rock, no matter whether you're a metalhead or not, you're gonna be awed. Yeah, just don't pay too much attention to the lyrics huh.

Below is the official video for their title track, "God Has a Plan for Us All". Not the ideal song that I would have wanted our readers to try, but apparently its the only video Angtoria made, and I've seen the fan-made ones... Just don't strain yourself trying to hear what she's singing and it'll be fine, the song's still good, trust me.

Verdict: 8.9/10

No comments: