I am always cautious (if not negatively disposed) of the seemingly countless projects by Frontiers records. The reason behind it is that I can’t stand the ephemeral hype and the notion –right from their very inception- that all these efforts have an expiration day. So, when I first saw Archon Angel’s debut video on YouTube, my first thought was that this should be a regular, full-time band and not yet another side project. After all, this is Zak Stevens’ new band and it’s really hard to be objective when it comes down to one of the finest voices in heavy metal music of the last 30 years.
Trust me when I am saying; this is a really, really good album! A remarkable bunch of songs that makes you wanna listen to them over and over again. And this is truly rare in this time and age. Naturally “Fallen” is reminiscent of Savatage (circa 1993/1994) while there are moments when it brings in mind Queensryche (of the Mindcrime and Empire era). Stevens is absolutely sensational and you can’t help but feeling moved and touched by his voice and the overall vocal performance. Especially the title track, “Under Your Spell, “The Serpent” and the closing track “Return of the Storm” could have easily been on a Savatage record. The rest of the band is doing a fine job and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the production as it has nothing to do with the flat ones that Frontiers usually comes up with.
All in all, I really wish that Archon Angel will be around for a long time because they absolutely deserve it with such a qualitative record. “Fallen” is definitely one of the best albums of 2020 and since we won’t be hearing any new Savatage music in the future, Archon Angel is the best alternative…and Zak Stevens still remains one of the best singers in the industry.
Highlight: The angelic figure of Archon Angel is present throughout the 10 songs of the album. It is worth checking out the lyrics and pay attention to the concept of “Fallen”.