Familiarity isn't always a bad thing. For Oklahoma City-based quartet, Radial Angel, experience is something the band certainly does not lack. Born in 1995 and named by 1999, Radial Angel has been making a name for themselves through touring and two successful independent releases. Now signed to Warner Bros-owned Squint Entertainment, Radial Angel possesses an accessible hard rock sound that will seem familiar to some and a refreshment to others.
The opening track "Give" is a hard-hitting hooky opener with a catchy guitar riff reminiscent of the sweet sounds of the vastly overlooked Tragedy Ann. Jared Taber's vocals are emotional and cover a wide range of vocal tones with a vocal style something of a hybrid between Nickelback, Creed, and Skillet. But the question may remain, does RA have what it takes to rival such artists? Yes and no.
Radial Angel's musical strength radiates in such tracks as "She" which offers vocal strength and range from Taber as well as a solid melodic guitar backdrop to carry the track. Lyrically, the song shines as an ode to Taber's future unknown wife and symbolizes his committment and pledge to her, a message sadly neglected in secular media today. "Rain" shows Taber rivaling Creed vocally but triumphs in the message department as Jared toils over the painful subject of his parents' divorce at a young age for him and his struggle with seeing God as his ultimate Father figure. "Love" is a rock worship song with pop sensibilities but doesn't reach the heights lyrically that it could. "Untitled" picks up where "Give" left off and boasts an old school Seven Day Jesus guitar feel. "Empty Handed" is a chilling track that expresses Taber's anger towards rape and his experiences with it through close friends of his who became victims of it, "Why them / Why did you take their innocence / Why can't you leave them alone." The dark topics continue with "It's Over," as the band tells the story about a friend who was abused while the album closes with "Annabelle," a straight-up rock song about a bad experience of Taber's that he uses to urge listeners to steer clear of harmful relationships.
Radial Angel offers a decent debut that fits in nicely with the rock scene of today. Although they musically don't offer anything too outstanding from others like them, they lyrically offer an alternative to the aimless angst-rock flooding mainstream music today.- Review date: 03/12/03, written by John DiBiase
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