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Never Was An Angel

Eönian (2012)
Rating: 8/10

I doubt that anyone will remember San Francisco’s Murder Bay from back in the day; a time when metal was all hair, pomp, lipstick and leather. But for those who do, and were fortunate to have been in the eye of the storm, Murder Bay were one of those bands being talked about. And so, decades later, Murder Bay have finally released an album. Never too late, some would say, but why it took so long we’ll never know.

So many bands in the 80s and early 90s, despite their talents, were just swallowed up by the passing trends, whether it was death metal, funk metal, sleaze metal et al. The music genre was swamped, and so many cool bands passed under the radar and never got the recognition they deserved.

Murder Bay were one of those bands, and yet the second Paul Trombetta’s vocals soar in on opener ‘Land Of Plenty’, there’s a refreshing feeling knowing that here’s a “new” band with a sound very much dragged from the 80s and early 90s. Never Was An Angel boasts enough swagger and sway to compete even today, many years after glam and sleaze were allegedly buried in the metal graveyard. This is bolshie, wholesome sleazy, pompous metal with crisp production and sterling guitars courtesy of Michael Karafilis, which are backed by the solid bass of Bobby Reid, whilst John Link’s drums provide a sturdy foundation as the band slink through a collection of stomping tracks.

Personal favourites are the sleazoid swagger of ‘Honey Child’, which is a vibrant mix of Warrant’s ‘Cherry Pie’ (from 1990’s Cherry Pie) and Mötley Crüe circa Dr. Feelgood (1989), and ‘Outta Line’, which is one of the most infectious hard rock tracks I’ve heard for over a decade; a bombastic glam jaunt that could exist as a soundtrack to the band’s trials and tribulations over the years. The chorus is a killer; a celebratory chant that many years ago could have enabled an accidental chart hit… if only.

Paul Trombetta is a real vocal talent, and provides a smooth and sultry touch to the proceedings, especially on the moody ‘Simple Man’, with its fantastic solo, the catchy title track and the more funked up ‘Dirty Work’.

I’m pretty sure that even in today’s climate this album will go unnoticed, but the facts are this is miles more rewarding than the likes of Danger Danger et al, who had minor success in the hair metal craze. It’s just a shame that Murder Bay took so long to get these tracks released. But Never Was An Angel is well worth a listen if you’re a fan of melodic rock that isn’t afraid to show its influences.

Neil Arnold

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