Angel Nation – Antares – Album Review

Artist: Angel Nation

Album Title: Antares

Label: Inner Wound Recordings

Date of Release: 8 April 2022

I have mentioned it before, but I am always scouting around, looking for great melodic metal bands because this genre can, when done properly, offer a shot of saccharine goodness that’s hard to ignore. When I find myself listening to more and more extreme metal releases, it’s good to have a change every now and then; as they say, a change is as good as a rest. Plus, in any case, I’ve always had a soft spot for heavy music that’s big on melody. I don’t always see melody as a diluter of heaviness and aggression – in the right circumstances, it can enhance the power and impact of the music. I can think of many examples where this rings true, across the various genres of heavy metal. The latest melodic metal album to hit my radar, is this, ‘Antares’ by Angel Nation.

I decided to check this record out, mainly because it finds itself on the Inner Wound Recordings roster, a label that has released some cool albums in the past. That and the fact that it’s released soon and I’m in the zone where I want to check out as much new music as humanly possible at the moment. Oh, and the singer for Angel Nation is Elina Siirala who is also part of Leave’s Eyes. It all added up to a situation where curiosity got the better of me.

According to the old saying, ‘curiosity killed the cat’ and unfortunately my curiosity has led me close to a similar fate here. Ok, I’m being incredibly sensationalist, but it is fair to say that ‘Antares’, the third full-length album from Angel Nation, has left me feeling decidedly underwhelmed and disappointed.

The band’s line-up sees the classically trained Siirala joined by guitarist George ‘GT’ Stergiou, bassist Julia B Cadau, and drummer Lucas Williamson. Together, they deliver forty-one or so minutes of glossy melodic metal with a symphonic element spread across ten individual tracks. I’ve been bitten before by making a snap decision on a first spin, only to find that my first impression was way too harsh; in fact, it happens more often than not, meaning that I will never, ever review a release after just one or two spins. In the case of ‘Antares’, I am sad to report that subsequent listens have not appreciably altered my opinion of this record. For all the gloss and polish, I find the whole thing quite dull and unmemorable. I have heard a thousand bands of this ilk over the years, and there is literally nothing here that is either unique or edgy.

With so much music and so many bands ploughing the melodic metal furrow, I want something that is going to wow me. I want the musical equivalent of the car you drew when you were eight years old; the car that came complete with guns, wings, and luminous paintwork. What Angel Nation give us is more like a beige 1980’s Volvo I’m afraid. Or at least, that’s my opinion anyway, because given the popularity of bands like this, Angel Nation will probably draw a significant audience to make me look completely out of step with public opinion. Not for the first time, it must be said.

Credit where it’s due though, and it’s fair to say that the production of ‘Antares’ is strong and seeks to get the very best out of the material on offer. For example, the heavy, imposing guitar sound that appears within the opener ‘Seraph’ has me pricking my ears, hopeful that what’s to follow will be suitably entertaining. It isn’t a bad song all round, with an up-tempo drive, a bit of muscle, and Siirala’s smooth vocal tones. Unfortunately, the chorus is only ok, thus failing to propel the opener into the stratosphere, despite a spirited lead guitar solo by Stergiou.

‘We Are Fire’ kicks off at a fair lick, the Euro power metal overtones clear for all to hear. The verses are bathed in rich synths, whilst the chorus sees the rhythm section galloping nicely, alongside arguably one of the strongest choruses on the album it has to be said. The over-the-top power metal excess also makes an appearance elsewhere, most notably at the beginning of ‘Face To Face With The Merciless’. Frustratingly, the early promise recedes as the song instead heads off in a mid-tempo stomping direction that lacks a killer punch.

However, tracks like ‘Life Is A War’ are where I lose almost all of my interest. Admittedly, the guitars sound nicely aggressive, but the increased drama and theatrical nature only serves to turn the song into a muddled mess. The odd flute sounds and attempt at a more progressive approach just strikes me as clunky, almost discordant. Not even bursts of double pedal drumming can resurrect a song that I just cannot warm to whatsoever.

Albums like this will always have a softer ballad and, if done correctly, can add another welcome dimension. ‘Way Back Home’ is Angel Nation’s gratuitous ballad and it’s just as you’d expect. Siirala’s classical tones croon above a rich, cinematic soundscape that’s part Disney, part West End Musical. With a killer hook, irresistible melody, or something magical, it could have been so good. But as nice as it is, that’s it – it’s just ‘nice’.

I have given ‘Antares’ by Angel Nation a mote than fair crack of the whip, but I just don’t gel with it. It feels so generic, that it could be the work of just about anyone within this genre of music. As I stated earlier, I’m fully prepared to be in the minority. But I have to be honest and say that this record simply leaves me cold and rather bored. I can’t like everything, after all.

The Score of Much Metal: 65%

Check out my other 2022 reviews here:

Wolf – Shadowland

Denali – Denali EP

Centinex – The Pestilence EP

Meshuggah – Immutable

Chapter Of Hate – Bloodsoaked Decadence EP

Ancient Settlers – Our Last Eclipse

Tranzat – Ouh La La

Playgrounded – The Death Of Death

Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum

Abbath – Dread Reaver

PreHistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter 2)

Kvaen – The Great Below

Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 2

Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse

Carmeria – Advenae

Agathodaimon – The Seven

Moonlight Haze – Animus

Hellbore – Panopticon

Konvent – Call Down The Sun

Idol Of Fear – Trespasser

The Midgard Project – The Great Divide

Threads Of Fate – The Cold Embrace Of The Light

Arkaik – Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts

New Horizon – Gate Of The Gods

Cailleach Calling – Dreams Of Fragmentation

Tundra – A Darkening Sky

Sylvaine – Nova

Hath – All That Was Promised

Sabaton – The War To End All Wars

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu

Oh Hiroshima – Myriad

Godless Truth – Godless Truth

Shape Of Despair – Return To The Void

Eight Bells – Legacy Of Ruin

Embryonic Devourment – Heresy Of The Highest Order

Serious Black – Vengeance Is Mine

Allegaeon – Damnum

HammerFall – Hammer Of Dawn

Immolation – Acts Of God

Veonity – Elements Of Power

Nightrage – Abyss Rising

Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time

Pure Wrath – Hymn To The Woeful Hearts

Dagoba – By Night

The Last Of Lucy – Moksha

Arð – Take Up My Bones

Embryonic Autopsy – Prophecies Of The Conjoined

The Devils Of Loudun – Escaping Eternity

Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North

WAIT – The End Of Noise

Abysmal Dawn – Nightmare Frontier

Amorphis – Halo

Nordic Giants – Sybiosis

Persefone – Metanoia

Vorga – Striving Toward Oblivion

Mystic Circle – Mystic Circle

Nasson – Scars

Burned In Effigy – Rex Mortem

Silent Skies – Nectar

Celeste – Assassine(s)

Abyssus – Death Revival

SOM – The Shape Of Everything

Ashes Of Ares – Emperors And Fools

Beriedir – AQVA

Lalu – Paint The Sky

Nocturna – Daughters Of The Night

Battle Beast – Circus Of Doom

Lee McKinney – In The Light Of Knowledge

Descent – Order Of Chaos

Aethereus – Leiden

Toundra – Hex

Ilium – Quantum Evolution Event EP

Power Paladin – With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel

Necrophagous – In Chaos Ascend

Infected Rain – Ecdysis

Wilderun – Epigone

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2021 reviews

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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