US heavy metal band Rough Angel has been hitting hard with heavyweight riffs and red hot melodic metal sounds for over two decades building a strong and ardent fan base across Nevada and beyond. Formed by Jimmy Z. and Johnny G. in Hollywood, Los Angeles the band were soon ‘owning’ the sunset strip up as they played up and down its length and eventually moved to Las Vegas. The departure of Johnny G. led to the arrival of vocalist Csaba Zvekan and another move for the band this time to Hawaii. Then in 1993 the quintet of Zvekan, guitarists Jimmy Z. and Marc Mougavero, bassist Ross Manzo, and drummer Dave Kappos (later replaced for live shows by Mike Rangel) set about recording four tracks for an EP.
Recorded at Paramount Recording Studios, Hollywood and engineered by Csaba Zvekan himself the recordings were intended for promoters and the industry and until now were never available to the public. Now through Rock N Growl Records and remastered by Zvekan these four prime cuts of heavy metal released as the Hear The Angels Rock EP have finally seen the light of day and it is the only release by the band over their long existence. One wonders why this is the sum of their recorded output as the four tracks though from almost 20 years back still sound strong today and certainly give proof that the band were right up there with the better quality metal bands at the time.
It has to be said there was an element of surprise at how well the tracks have stood the test of time, even if a mere twenty years, and how they fit easily with current heavy metal sounds and bands. Zvekan himself has said “It’s unbelievable how these recordings are almost two decades old and still have the power to convince the listener. The music and lyrics are still current especially these days. I got goose bumps remastering this piece of music. It definitely is a gift for all the friends and fans that are out there.”
Production wise there is the sense of limitation from back then compared to now but it does not take away from the quartet of good impressive tracks. The songs are agreeably large with powerful chunky riffs and pure metal energy infused with smartly formed melodies and striking guitars. The tracks ooze essences of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Dio as expected from late 80’s/90’s metal placed within Rough Angel’s own engaging sound. Vocally Zvekan is aggressive with the genre trade mark high pitched screams and squeals though he never does it to excess and he is a good rounded vocalist in tone and delivery. Opener ‘Standing by Mirrors’ and the closing title track give an excellent if not surprising top and tail to the release, the first coming in off a grunge like lick to employ addictive riffs that chug along and grab attention neatly. The grunge tones appear often and are especially open on the first of the two tracks sandwiched in the middle, ‘Defiance’. The song pumps out eager hard heavy hitting and higher toned scorching riffs to please all tastes and as on most songs is deliberate in its attack in not choosing out and out aggression. ‘Let it Burn’ is equally styled, slow in pace but quick to engage the senses in good heavy metal energy and enterprising intent.
Hear the Angels Rock is understandably not going to leave you open mouthed or in shock by offering something devastatingly new but it will definitely feed your metal tendencies perfectly and make you wonder why it has taken so long for sounds from this rather good band to appear.