Some more Texas Metal? Yes keep it coming. In the case of Wicked Angel from San Antonio, Texas, USA we got one of those bands that besides their talent they managed to release just one demo tape back in 1987. Yes this is the "Chaotic Intellect" release which generated quite a vibe on the Texas Metal underground scene back on the day.
The band -which previously was known as Nevermore- have emerged from the fertile grounds of San Antonio’s south side in early 1985. At the time, the average age of the band members was around 15 years old! In 1986 they recorded a two track demo including the tracks "Legion Of The Dead" and "Sacrifice". sadly that recording has been completely lost to the ages. After a string of successful gigs with Texas notables such as WatchTower, Syrus, and Assalant, the band returned to Blue Cat Studios and recorded their blistering ‘Chaotic Intellect’ demo in 1987. For this review we will focus on the re issue of the "Chaotic Intellect" on vinyl by the Texas Metal Underground Label. More info about the band will come on the forthcoming interview we are working on, so stay tuned!
First of all I must point that Wicked Angel delivered a special type of Speed / Power Metal: their sound was raw and powerful and on the same time complex and technical and all those features have been delivered in quite a balance on the four tracks of their demo. Fortunately the master tapes of this demo were not lost so for the vinyl re-release everything was transfered digitally. So at least you can listen to this stuff loud and clear. The way it deserves to be listened.
So what are the key features that make Wicked Angel such a special band and their debut demo such a special release that is finally out on vinyl? Well first of all you will be able to listen to some magnificent Metal riffing on their songs, both on the classic Metal vein but also on the Speed Metal vein. Yes those speedy riffs where a big trademark for many Texas Metal bands back on the day but Wicked Angel have packed some really great ones on their songs. A good example is the opening riff of the song "Realms Of Chaos" -a song that was included on the Texas Metal archives Vol. 1 compilation CD by Brainticket Records-.
Secondly the band have attached many interesting elements on their songs getting far away for the "two riffs and a lead" structure of many Metal songs of their era -actually this was a feature of many other Texan bands as well, that is why early to mid 80s Texas Metal Scene was one of the world's best-. Take as an example the clean guitar theme in the middle of the "Valley Of The Witch Kings" song of the demo and how this bridge transforms the song from a Speed Metal storm to a classic Heavy Metal anthem that would be enforced by an exotic lead theme just before the end. This is my favorite Wicked Angel track for sure.
Thirdly the vocals of David "Gumby" Caballero. Just listen to his performance on the "People Of The Black Circle" and you realize that he has a very passionate voice. Do not compare him with the well know high pitched heroes of the Texas Metal of that era. Listen to his way of singing, he is also reaching some high notes and he is doing it very well -listen to "Stealer Of Souls" chorus-. You many not worship his voice from the very first listening but as long as you get on the Wicked Angel mood you would agree that his voice is THE VOICE for Wicked Angel. A trademark voice? Yes.
Fourth the band consisted by a real storm raking rhythm section. You got to listen the drums and bass on "Stealer Of Souls" and you would understand my point. And please let me give a fifth and last key feature: Their lead parts are slaying the weak and "Stealer Of Souls" can be used one more time as an example for my point.
If you are a Texas Metal Maniac or if you are looking for a really KILLER Speed / Power Metal release, you should add this LP on your collection. Apart from the music it comes on great packaging as well, so if you love vinyl this is a release for you, yes it comes with all the goodies you would expect from a good vinyl release You will be able to enjoy a 16 color booklet full of lyrics, info -an in depth interview with the band- plus some really rare photos. Texas Metal Underground is one of the mos passionate labels out there, worshiping for real the Texas Metal scene. Showing your support to bands like Wicked Angel and to labels like TMU is a rule. So GO FOR IT! ENTER THE REALMS OF CHAOS!