Ridge>>FIFTH ANGEL - USA

Fifth Angel - 1986 - Shrapnel
Time Will Tell - 1989 - CBS
The Third Secret – 2018 – Nuclear Blast
When Angels Kill - 2023 - Nuclear Blast

Fifth Angel image
  
 
Members
Vocals
Glass>>Ted Pilot - STEVEN CARLSON

Guitar
James Byrd>>Solo, Atlantis Rising – Glass>>Ed Archer - Kendall Bechtel - Flotsam And Jetsam, Tragul, F5>>STEVE CONLEY>>Flotsam And Jetsam, Tragul - Glass>>ED ARCHER


Bass
Kenny Kay - Redhead Devil>>JOHN MACKO>>Redhead Devil

Drum
TKO, Chastain, Randy Hansen, Alice Cooper, Strike, Accept, Impelliteri, Flotsam And Jetsam>>Ken Mary>>Chastain, House Of Lords, Impelliteri, Strike, Accept, Flotsam And Jetsam - Joe Parfumi - TKO, Chastain, Alice Cooper, Randy Hansen, Strike, Accept,, Chastain, House Of Lords, Impelliteri, Strike, Accept, Flotsam And Jetsam>>KEN MARY>>Flotsam And Jetsam





History & Biography
Byrd, Archer and Pilot came together in Bellevue near Seattle to form a US-metal band in 1983. Pilot and Archer knew each other from Glass and covers’ band Ridge. Archer was in a childhood orchestra and played piano and then the cello. He had begun taking guitar lessons as a pre-teen. Ted Pilot, who also played the guitar, was a school-mate of Archer. The two started to jam and rehearsed at Ted's house. Ted Pilot was taking vocal lessons in the late '70s. They eventually created the aforementioned cover band. Ridge did a couple of originals towards the end. The band and members split and went their own way before regrouping.

A demo brought a Shrapnel contract - with Ed Archer also playing bass - and Fifth Angel was soon hailed as a new and important metal band. Instead of moving forward, Byrd left and Mary found himself doing session work. Mary was discovered to play with Alice Cooper after performing with Randy Hansen. Kay was billed on the debut, but was in fact only pictured. The band had utilized Hendrix fanatic Randy Hansen for the sessions. With Macko and Bechtel now in the line-up the band got together again in 1989 and recorded an album for CBS and re-released the debut with new art and notes. Time Will Tell was originally supposed to be produced by Terry Date, but was eventually worked on by Terry Brown. The band again split up when Mary was off again. Ted Pilot soon followed his father and took over a dentistry. Macko’s daughter Madison joined a band called Crashing Through You in Florida. She was in the rock band Leaving Haven later.

There were rumours of a reunion in late 2006, which came to naught due to several members’ lack of desire. The band reformed again in 2009. Bassist John Macko was also seeking a singer and guitarist for his new melodic metal band, Redhead Devil. Would-be or current Seattle residents were to email him at john@outcastangelmusic.com. The band, in the meantime, was scheduled to play at Keep It True XIII festival in Germany. Singer Ted Pilot also left Fifth Angel ostensibly because he was too busy in 2010. He would, nonetheless, continue in a solo capacity. Pilot was replaced by solo artist Tim Branom. The band was still playing at the Keep It True Festival in April. In the meantime, Fifth Angel bassist John Macko and Imagika guitarist Steve Rice were recruiting a vocalist for their contemporary hard rock act. Candidates could contact info@outcastangelmusic.com. Former Heir Apparent drummer Jeffrey McCormack joined Fifth Angel in early 2010. He would leave in the middle of 2011.

Peter Orullian, Heir Apparent’s singer during its 2006 reunion tour in Europe, sang for Fifth Angel at the Keep It True XIII festival in Lauda-Königshofen, Germany on April 24th, 2010. Orullian replaced Tim Branom who was not able to attend or sing due to reported throat issues. Fifth Angel recruited singer David Fefolt formerly with Angels Of Babylon, Masi and Hawk. The band was working on a new album.

The band signed with Nuclear Blast Records in 2018 and announced an album called The Third Secret for September. Subsequently, guitarist Ed Archer re-joined Fifth Angel in advance of the band’s The Third Secret album, which was due through Nuclear Blast in the month of October. Members of Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam had a project called 3rd Secret in 2021. Kendall Bechtel left in 2019 after providing not only guitar, but also vocals on the album. Steve Conley of Flotsam And Jetsam joined. Mary was his band-mate there. The next album came in 2023 and featured a new singer, Steven Carlsson. There were three videos for the album. ProgPower USA XXIII was to take place between September 4 and 7, 2024. Bands announced included Winger (performing Pull), Amorphis, Lovebites, Pagan’s Mind, Soen, Damian Wilson, Eleine, Disillusion, Fifth Angel, Striker and Frozen Crown. The group was booked for Crusher Festival, alongside Witherfall, Dark Quarterer, Nocturnal, Wytch Hazel and others, for September 2024. Simultaneously, the band was conducting its first European tour.

The band name was taken from a story in the Bible. The fifth angel gives notice of the arrival of a falling star, which by sounding his trumpet gives notice that the said star, which is an angel itself, is being given the key to the bottomless abyss that spreads heat and smoke that plunges the kingdom of the beast into darkness.


Reviews

FIFTH ANGEL - WHEN ANGELS KILL - NUCLEAR BLAST  
The veteran US metal band Fifth Angel is forty years old and has only released its fourth album now. Questions and ideas that pop into mind immediately include whether the band still have gas in the tank, will the CD be able to maintain any quality standards given that concept records and double-discs, both of which this thing is, are notorious for being uneven, will the next album arrive this decade or next and given that most members are new, how are they including the hitherto unknown singer.
To begin, When Angels Kill sports an eye-catching and metallic cover artwork. There is a record out there with a similar conceptual drawing, but the name fails me right now. Could someone write in to tell me? The main comparison not coming to me aside, the cover is depicting notions similar to Black Sabbath's Heaven And Hell or Forbidden's Forbidden Evil or Stryper's No More Hell To Pay.
Most curious about newcomer Steven Carlson on vocals, who replaced singer and guitarist Kendall Bechtel, leads to a man who comes across as a lower register Rob Halford. Some of his vocals are akin to the newer halford delivery. The new man does well. He is pleasurable to hear and both powerful and confident fronting a heavy band like this out of the blue.
There is impressive guitar work in both the rhythm and the leads. The drumming, courtesy of scene veteran and Fifth Angel mainstay Ken Maty is impressive and energetic, but the flat drum sound and absence of dynamics in the taping of his kit hurt him and relegate him to an afterthought here. This is odd given that he has engineering and production credits on the record. The triggered drums and spliced cymbals buried under an otherwise clean production are just tolerable. The record and the band have incorporated Flotsam And Jetsam guitarist Steve Conley, just because Ken Mary is full-time in that band, and more intriguingly recruited Jim Dofka of the namesake band and Leather Leone to play lead guitars. This ends up being a wise choice given the quality of the solos on When Angels Kill. Moreover, the band could have gone the wimpy way and added a keyboardist, like so many weak acts do, and messed the whole affair up.
Elsewhere concepts are tricky to navigate and often tedious. When they work, they really work as with Queensryche, Temtris or King Diamond, but more often they do not and manage to disappoint. Fifth Angel has largely succeeded in producing a record that is true to metal and hence powerful, topical and enjoyable, but it is not completely immune to the hazards of concepts either.
What about the individual songs? Let us dive in. Out of order there is a song mid-album called Seven Angels where the band self-professes to being a group of soothsayers! The oddly self-referential song is one of the better ones here and the superb guitar work adds to that feeling. The title track is preceded by an intro with keyboards that thankfully soon vanish. Enough with the pop instrumentation! When Angels Kill is a fine representation of the album and demonstrates how the band is modern while keeping its two feet firmly in the realm of heavy metal. Resist The Tyrant more next is modern and progressive sounding yet deceptively simple. The slower song comes with mid-paced staccato. It is an effective Priest-like track - perhaps the cover artwork depicts the female companion to the character on Redeemer Of Souls. Incidentally, the tyrant manipulates through religion and psychology and, by now, it is clear that the album is political in nature, a time-honoured Seattle tradition actually. On Wings Of Steel, which could be another subconscious Judas Priest reference, the band stresses the catchy and the upbeat. The backing vocals and multi-channel singing is used well. The singing is more melodic here and the lead work continues to turn heads. We Are Immortal seems throw-away somewhat. The song is like a simplistic Frankenstein of a Hammerfall song. It has different disjointed bits and pieces that are good on their own but do not gel into a cohesive unit. Empire Of Hate (USA?) is next and nice work. There is energy and momentum to this; the kick drums and toms are the sore point again. Synthetic sound. Run To The Black is more melodic and a hard rocker with a good nod to Queenryche, but with the consistently heavy guitar rhythm that props Fifth Angel up. This song has one of the album's more evolved solos.Fast forward and Kill The Pain is less interesting and filler material with its slow to mid-pace. Five Days To Madness does not leave much time. Musically, it is an upbeat mix of metal and AOR. Ashes To Ashes is a slow one. It is a ballad with synthesisers filling in as background. The song is ineffectual itself, but proves the bass exists and the singer has an impressive power in his bellow.The End Of Everything - except this album apparently - is mostly a ballad too, but as it turns out it serves to showcase the vocalist can handle it all. The drum sound is more artificial than prior tracks and just like that there is another track left on the record. That turns out to be a good thing because the chugging belter Light The Skies happens to be one of the record's better tracks: verifiable power and speed especially since it follows several slower or plodding tunes.
The album is over an hour long and, like most bands, Fifth Angel would have done itself a favour to cull the herd and kept the better tracks instead of cramming the album to dilution via a double album. Still, it is an above average album that is not remotely bad.
On the plus side this four-decade-old group delivers on its promise of power, guitars, vocals and adherence to metal with quality. On the flip side, the drum sound, flat-ish production, excessive voice-overs and intros to tell the story and narrate the concept disappoint as do a couple of subpar tracks.
Fans of Hell, Jag Panzer, Priest, Vicious Rumors, Primal Fear, Temtris and Anthem should get this. It is a veteran band’s album that has not become tired or stale. Jim Dofka shines throughout on lead guitars and the concept of four characters in a world of oppression is interesting if the execution sometimes carves the album up into pieces. Two more things: a few titles riff on others from the band. A song here is called Seven Angels while an earlier one was called Seven Hours. A song here is called Ashes to Ashes whereas the band had one called Dust To Dust earlier. We Are Immortal is here. We Rule was on the group’s Time Will Tell album. On Wings Of Steel here has a title reminiscent of the band’s Wings Of Destiny and so on. The question is will a ‘fifth’ angel appear in a decade or so? - Ali “The Metallian”


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Fifth Angel