Angel Nation – Aeon.

Angel Nation are a Melodic Metal Band founded by the classically trained Finnish singer Elina Siirala, who moved to London in 2008 and fell in love with the power of Rock and Metal. In 2016 Elina joined Leaves’ Eyes as their new vocalist so her voice may well be familiar to you. Aeon is a follow-up to the debut album of 2014, (released under the name EnkeliNation which is Angel Nation in Finnish),”Tears of Lust” which was received with glowing reviews all over the world. The London based band consists of Elina Siirala – Vocals, Julia B Cadau – Bass, Lucas Williamson – Drums and Sonny Antoniou – Guitars and features guest appearances by Jukka Pelkonen (Omnium Gatherum) and Merit Palas.

Now, what should you expect? Well how about some Nightwish style Melodic Metal complete with a Finnish classically trained crystal clear and cut-glass female voice at the mic.

The album opens with the lead single ‘Burn The Witch’. Ethereal sounds are soon replaced by rapid drumming before the guitar breaks in and Elina starts to sing a voice that seems to have a 3-dimensional quality whilst retaining a haunting fragility. Keyboards and guitar trade-off as the tempo varies, the drumming maintains the sense of menace and backing vocals pile on the emotion and hugely fill out the backdrop. All in all, a great start. Next up ‘Blood On Your Hands’ slightly slows the pace and features an intricate, if brief, keyboard intro before Metal/Blocked guitar takes the lead as the band settle into a very Melodic groove. Once again Elina’s vocal soars above the mix giving the whole track a sense of infinite singularity. This leads into one of my highlights of the album ‘Breath Again’. Once again the sound softens and drums and guitar lead you into an epic and quite stunning Melodic Power Ballad a key ingredient for an album of this kind. The guitar solo exactly hits the mark. The absolute clarity and precise vocal phrasing are just mesmeric and produce a of feast sound only a classical trained voice could serve up. Next up is ‘Wonder Who You Are’ which opens with atmospheric keyboards swiftly followed by the vocal lulling you into the feeling it’s another ballad until rapidly the drums and guitar speed up and you are definitely heading into Power Metal territory with deft changes of tempo in the breaks just to keep you on your toes. Opening the second half of the album the Omnium Gatherum vocalist Jukka Pelkonen makes a guest appearance on the track ‘Free’. It’s not only his menacing and powerful deep growls that add to the heaviness of the track. Right from the start a gothic sung chorus and orchestral burst with rapid drumming tell you this is going to be a bit different from the previous tracks. The way Elina’s silky vocal contracts with her male counterpart add a drive and texture to the song. The whole track has a rapid attack and scale that works so well as a sojourn into heavier realms but is still bound by the musical glue of wonderful vocals and keyboards unveiled right throughout the album. ‘Music Plays’ begins deceptively simply with Elina’s vocal and a lush piano line then the strings chime in. This slower paced song just builds line upon line symphonically and melodically with a compelling tranquil beauty that is often attempted and seldom achieved in this genre and is the Tour De Force ballad of the album. ‘Fireflies’ is another haunting track that speeds silky smooth along garnished by tinkling keyboards. The album reaches a satisfying journey’s end with ‘Destination’ tying up all the loose ends with yet another moody atmospheric track that hits a wonderful crescendo with pinpoint accuracy.

To sum up this album I do have to say I like it more than the last Leaves’ Eyes EP “Fires In The North”. You get the feeling that vocalist Elina Siirala is more comfortable and more in control. It doesn’t have all the bluster and swirl you’d associate with Nightwish or similar bands but there is a control and inner harmony in the gentle moments that they often overlook. It is an album full of marvelous melodies showcasing sweeping keyboards, precise drumming and textured guitar playing which act as a perfect setting for the absolute jewel that is the many faceted voice of Elina Siirala. In many ways this release is an absolute treasure and is another fine release to put on the ‘must have’ list for fans of Melodic and Symphonic Metal.

Rating: 9/10 Record Label: Inner Wound Records. Website: Release date: Out Now. Highlight track: ’Breath Again’, ‘Freedom’, ‘Music Plays’

Words: Rob Birtley

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