Three former members of the well known Norwegian Highland Glory have now joined forces with two other musicians to form a new band called Angel Heart, who will be releasing their debut self-titled album on Mighty Music on the 18th of May, 2018.
“Three of us used to play in the metal band Highland Glory, who released 3 albums worldwide. Our musical roots belong in the ‘80s hard rock/heavy metal, where bands like Dio, Dokken, Queensrÿche and Judas Priest ruled the scene. We are very happy that Mighty Music believes in us, and are really looking forward to be working with them,” says guitarist Lars André Larsen. Friendship appears to be at the root of this band, as Larsen and drummer Morten Læøvig were also together in Phoenix Rising, almost twenty years ago, as well as in Highland Glory together with vocalist Trine Elise Johansen.
Opening track ‘Burning Desire’ has everything I was expecting - a big chorus, engaging riffs and a great pounding beat. “Live for the moment, don’t look down” sings Johansen; her vocals are crisp and clear and there is no doubt she can belt it out with the best of them. This first impression of Angel Heart instantly conjures up reminders of the late ‘80s/early ‘90s for me, when hair metal was a big thing in my life and I was into Bon Jovi in a big way. ‘Run Away With Me’ is a slower track and makes slightly less of an instant impression on me than its predecessor. After a few listens, however, I find I am warming to it. The slightly haunting feel of Johansen’s vocals, combined with the pounding drum fills were stuck in my head for hours.
‘I Don’t Need Love’ and ‘She Is Strong’ are two of four tracks on this album to feature violinist Sareeta, who has also played with Ram-Set, Borknagar and Solefald, The layering of such impeccable and beautiful playing with the dulcet tones of Johansen and the melodiousness of the other instruments on this track is gorgeous. Next track ‘Forever Free’ is the liveliest on the album and opens with a riff that instantly reminds me of Iron Maiden’s ‘Running Free’, Larsen using the track to show off his quick-fingered prowess. I think this song shows a different side to Angel Heart and gives a suggestion of what they might be like as a live band. Although several tracks on this album are ballads, and the band clearly write with passion and feeling, the musicianship and wealth of experience is clear, and I have a feeling they would put on a hell of a show.
‘My Spirit Will Live On’ slows the pace again, and brings in more of that beautiful violin from Sareeta. The track feels much longer than the others and although there is undoubted sentiment in the lyrics, I feel my attention wandering somewhat as I think the song is about to finish, only for the chorus to kick in again. ‘Rock Friends’ has an excellent sentiment, and such a catchy tune, it’s easy to listen to and quite captivating, as is penultimate track ‘Worth The Wait’, which is powered by a relentless thundering beat from the rhythm section of Morten Færøvig on drums and Øystein Aaseby Pedersen on bass, overlaid by some quite chuggy guitar riffs.
Album closer ‘Sailing Against The Wind’ feels like a round up of all things Angel Heart has to offer. It’s also the final track to feature that stunning violin, which when laid over all the other instruments, with no vocal, sounds heavenly. There is a long instrumental interlude in the middle of the song that is amazing. You can really hear how talented each of the musicians are. Johansen’s very simple “Aahhhhh” added on top takes it to the next level. When the singing resumes, the (male) backing vocals sound great too!
Angel Heart’s brand of melodic hard rock/AOR/metal is perfect for fans of Within Temptation and Leaves’ Eyes. There is a definite ‘80s hair metal vibe about the music, and more than a whiff of the likes of Europe, which isn’t a bad thing at all.
Angel Heart are:-
Trine Elise Johansen - vocals
Lars André Larsen - guitar and keyboard
Morten Færøvig - drums
Øystein Aaseby Pedersen - bass
Pål Andreas Thirud - keyboards
‘Angel Heart’ track listing:-
Run Away With Me
I Don’t Need Love
She Is Strong
My Spirit Will Live On
Worth The Wait
Sailing Against The Wind
Find out more about Angel Heart here:-
Watch the video for ‘Run Away With Me’ here:-