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Angelville Can't Go Home

Angelville - Can't Go Home
1. My Curse
2. A Coward's Epitaph
3. Haunted For Wanting
4. Bible Belt Whipping
5. Hollow Eyes, New Hampshire Dies
6. Losing With Grace
7. Drawn Guns & Trust Funds
2003 Happy Couples Never Last Records

Reviewed by: Erick Pressman   //   Published: 3/9/2004

What can be expected when a CD by a band named Angelville arrives in the mailbox It would be easy for one to set their expectations relatively low based on a name like that. Let's be serious here, it sounds like it could be an outfit consisting of five halfwits from some small town somewhere making their best attempt at rewriting Eighteen Visions songs. However, upon seeing the Happy Couples Never Last logo on Angelville's bio, it would be safe to assume that we wouldn't be heading towards the stagnant waters of rehashed sex metal. What Angelville offers us is melodic, peppy hardcore played by a group of dudes that have been playing metal guitar for a few years. The result of this is seven extremely well written hardcore songs that will appeal to the Terror/Death Threat crowd, but with enough metal "techness" present (both in how well the songs are played and in the hot metal riffs and licks thrown in every song for good measure) to keep all of those new kids who don't have the attention span (or the balls) to be fans of good old fashioned hardcore entertained. It sounds confusing, but hang in there, clarity is just around the corner.

The average Angelville ditty follows the usual hardcore song structure consisting of verses, choruses, and mosh parts, in a somewhat melodic, yet dark tonal motif. In order to keep things fresh and interesting, Angelville falls back on their metal chops and throws in all sorts of unexpected shit. Sometimes it's a super fast, high lead (a la Converge), other times it's a head bobbin' Sabbath-esque guitar riff. No matter what it is, these little surprises hit you from out of nowhere, and will definitely keep you listening and wanting more. For those of you wondering how Angelville stand up in the mosh area, fear not, they provide a little something for all different types of moshers. There are plenty of punchy, mid-tempo sections for all of you two-steppers, and more than enough metal tinged drops for you spinkick/windmill types. In a time when following a formula is the norm in hardcore, it's nice to see a band waving a musical middle finger to the rest of the scene.

On the vocal tip, Angelville's metal roots definitely shine through. "Vo-killist" (that's how they put it in the layout) Johnny V. (that's also how they put that in the lay out) has a low, raspy voice that one normally sees fronting a more out and out metal-style band than a band like Angelville. On one hand, it helps keep Angelville from being another run-of-the-mill hardcore band, but on the other, it does sound somewhat out of place from time to time. That's not to say that the vocals ruin the record, but that it might take a couple listens for a couple of you in order for it to sink in and work for you. Lyrically, Angelville are steering away from the "my girlfriend dumped me and it really, really hurt" approach that so many bands seem to be taking these days, and they deserve a stand ovation for such a move. Johnny V. takes shots at religion, the American dream, and other issues plaguing society, and does so in a metaphoric, yet direct manner. Thought-provoking lyrics like these definitely help in rounding out a very, very smart record.

Bottom Line: Angelville play are a couple of metal-trained dudes playing dark, yet melodic hardcore. The songs are straightforward enough to appeal to those of us who like our hardcore without an excessive amount of "jun-juns", "chugga-chuggas", or Velociraptor parts, yet played with enough metal skill shining through to appeal to those that like all of those extraneous bells and whistles. The vocals are a little unconventional, but settle in nicely after a couple of listens. If you're looking for something to freshen up your record collection, give these dudes a whirl. It's likely that they'll get the job done right.


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