If you already move in death metal circles then you’ll already be aware of the background to Angel Blake, for those that don’t I’ll give you a little heads up. Marko Tervonan is the well-known former guitarist of Swedish death metallers The Crown. Following their demise he began a new project (Angel Blake) for which, he drafted in musicians Janne Saarenpaa (The Crown) on drums, Anders Edlund (Incapacity) on guitar and vocalist Tony Jelencovich (Transport league). After a short stint with Metal Blade Records, the band are currently signed to the Finnish label Dynamic Arts Records with which they release the album ‘The Descended’.
From what I’ve read about this band I’ve noticed that there seems to be a great focus on the fact that Tervonen began Angel Blake to pursue an interest in a heavier and melancholic style. Second album ‘The Descended’ certainly fits this category. The album is actually quite diverse however, full of Tervonan’s influences. The first thing that strikes you is the immensely strong sense of Gothicism about it, which makes a real impact on how dark this record sounds. I wouldn’t necessarily say it was any heavier than previous work but I would certainly call it melodic with layer upon layer of brooding melancholy.
The 10 tracks feel very far away from the usual Swedish death metal approach in many ways, they’re darker, cleaner and full of power metal hooks, something that makes this album a lot more accessible than most. Others have suggested they sound like Paradise Lost and Danzig.
Although it’s not something I would usually take the time to listen to, (it’s far too Gothic sounding for my liking) I do recognise the workmanship that has gone into this. Tervonen has certainly created something that he wanted, he’s developed his own distinctive sound and you can tell that this comes from somewhere within him.
I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone looking for a more traditional heavy sound. ‘The Descended’ is far too clean and melodic for this. It’s more for those into a more operatic sound, a dramatic and elaborate variation on heavy. It’s certainly accessible too, very easy to listen to in some places.
Angel Blake have proved something that not many can do, they’ve proved it is possible to produce an accessible and catchy, yet very dark and very metal record.