Angel Nation, founded by the classically trained Finnish singer Elina Siirala (Leaves Eyes’), is back with their third, full-length album “Antares”. Named after the brightest star in the constellation of Scoripus, Antares is an album that takes listeners on a journey of elemental escape fueled by energy and fire. The album itself is inspired by the concept of an Angelic Army or Seraphim that cryptic texts have often intertwined with reality.
Composed of Elina Siirala (founder, vocals), Julia B Cadau (Bass), Lucas Williamson (Drums), and George ‘GT’ Stergoiu (Guitars), Angel Nation holds their ground in the Stadium/Arena Rock front with powerful metal tones and catchy melodies. Angel Nation’s take on Melodic Metal is enhanced by use of electronics, and vivid storylines that take storytelling and lyrics beyond the surface to put you amongst the ranks of the Seraphim, ready and willing to fight.
“Seraph” starts off with synthesizers that sound off like a vision of twinkling starlight. It’s heavy but, fueled by melodic rhythm and sound that blends with new age synth for a distinct harmony. Elina’s vocals rise from the beginning, bringing a cascade of elusive highs and passionate lows. Solos are plentiful, centralized on strong riffs and expressive detail resulting in jaw-dropping composition.
Blistering guitars ignite the spark in “We Are Fire” that lead the path to a rapidly fueled track of speed and intensity. Symphonics back a metal-fronted track with vocal beauty that swirls like moths to a flame. Headbanging to this track comes naturally, with a talented mix of guitars and drums creating a rhythm of speed and heaviness that’s as infectious as it is spectacular.
Starting with a heavy guitar performance, “End of Innocence” is like a solo on the edge of a snowy cliff. Gentle keys echo into frigid air before the heavy hammer of bass and drums energize the tune. Elina takes vocals to a serene level on this track to truly touch on the song’s title that aids in creating an image of lust, beauty, and the demise of light.
Derived of power metal with speed and melody at its back, “Life is a War” is strong, fronting heavy lingering bass to boost the atmosphere with fear. Delicate keys dance in to fight the darkness, creating a true battle of light vs. dark in a drum-battered beat of epic expression. High-note guitar solos fly at unmatched speed, only adding fuel to the fire of this constricting song.
“Crucify Me” has a drum beat that immediately lures you in, sounding off like speeding hoof beats against scorched earth. Gentle sound sways you to be embraced by Elina’s soft voice before desperation comes at you tenfold. Enemies surround, and darkness sets in, as a war of Angels comes to fruition.
Brazenly starting with an untamed guitar solo that stuns is “Face to Face with the Merciless”. This track brings fists into the air and rides to glory; this track is all about the journey rather than the destination, and the journey is filled with love, loss, laughter, and fury. Synths break the midway point to echo in a parade of string-shredding that backs vocal order. A track that appeals easily to those envisioning an epic Fantasy that reaches new heights.
Ticking the clocks, or the hammer of speeding hooves, “Where’s the Time” is a mystery, with a melody that is difficult to ignore. It’s filled with wondrous synth, tantalizing guitars, and exquisite vocal range. It hints at notes familiar with tracks like Nightwish’s “Astral Romance” with the boost of synthesizers that mimic the speed of falling stars. The breakdown is brought about by angelic vocal command on Elina’s part that once more paves the way to one of the most epic solos on the album and easily puts it at the top of my favourites from Antares.
“Out of Sight, Out of Mind” begins on a Sonata Arctica like beat that quickly turns heads to Elina’s unique vocal low but, it escalates quickly. Musically, it splits expectations, mixing in power metal speed with melodic vocals to create a sound that steps from soothing to near chaotic in execution.
Winding down, the song “Way Back Home” is a metal ballad that focuses on lyrically strength. “Fading pictures, the memories in my heart. Trembling voices tell the stories from the start,” brings passion to the imagination that builds beautifully painted visuals as the song begins. It’s light, truly showcasing Elina’s vocal abilities without mercy.
The final track off the album is, “Where the Future Lies,” that takes piano keys to the start and knocks you back with furious riffs. The gentle vocals are suspicious against heavy-footed drums, moments that wait for the hammer to fall. It’s one of the most musically diverse tracks off the album, portraying the elemental mix of subgenres with great detail; fearless in touching on the different and relentless.
In my opinion, Antares is a solid listen with stories that easily unlock the door to imagination using talented songwriting, elevated vocals, and awe-inspiring instrumentals. It’s an easy add to my melodic metal collection with several tracks already finding their way to repeat playthroughs
Favourite Tracks: Life is a War, Face to Face with the Merciless, Where’s the Time
Release Date: April 8th, 2022
Label: Inner Wound Recordings
2.) We Are Fire
3.) End of Innocence
4.) Life is a War
5.) Crucify Me
6.) Face to Face with the Merciless
7.) Where’s the Time
8.) Out of Sight, Out of Mind
9.) Way Back Home
10.) Where the Future Lies