Pop Evil's new album War of Angels, is out today via E1 Music (For our full guide to upcoming releases, click here). In preparation for the release of the band's sophomore album, we've created this handy track-by-track guide for War of Angels.
Conveniently, you can stream the new album in full over at AOL's Listening Party at this location, which we suggest you have open in another window as you're reading through our guide to War of Angels.
01 - "Last Man Standing"
The first track on War of Angels is also the first single, "Last Man Standing," which was released last fall. The song features a buzz-saw, Pantera-inspired drop-tuned guitar riff that made it a natural choice for the UFC to use in a promo video last fall for heavyweight fighter Frank Mir. Check out the video below.
02 - "Epitaph"
"Epitath" is an angry, high-tempo number with a rallying cry of "It's me against the world." The track briefly breaks its tempo in the middle before giving way to a sizzling, wah-powered solo from lead guitarist Tony Greve. The nice thing about bands that don't feel the need to throw a solo on every song is that solos tend to have more bite when they do appear, as evidenced here. Also, "I know you hear what I hear because I put speakers on your grave" stands out as one of the best bits of black humor to seep its way into the lyrical content on the album.
03 - "Broken & Betrayed"
A killer, rolling guitar riff starts off this mid-tempo rocker that features one of the catchiest choruses on the entire album (and the melodic lead guitar line that runs behind the final chorus is nearly as catchy as the chorus itself!). For more on the low-down behind the guitar sounds on War of Angels, check out our interview with Tony Greve here.
04 - "Monster You Made"
The middle of the album gives the ears a bit of a break. First up is "Monster You Made," which starts with a dark acoustic guitar sound that signals the mood of the rest of the song. The song does a good job of fooling you into thinking it's going to be a sappy ballad of self-pity before turning the tables as singer Leigh Kakaty declares "I'm just the monster you made me." A slower, bleaker number that provides welcome break for the listener.
05 - "Let It Go"
The first of War of Angels' true ballads, "Let It Go" is a pure, modern take on the lighter-in-the-air art form that was perfected in the '80s, but refined nicely for the 21st century here. The track begins with Kakaty's voice by itself, beckoning the object of the song to "open your eyes" before the obligatory acoustic comes in to pave the way to a soaring chorus.
06 - "Boss's Daughter"
The title alone should tell you that this one is pure tongue-in-cheek fun. "Boss's Daughter" picks the pace back up after the album's first real ballad and features Greve showing off his Slash influence during the song's bridge. In short, a sex-anthem that Buckcherry would be proud of.
07 - "Daisy Chain"
You'd have to blissfully unaware of '80s rock for this song not to immediately call to mind The Cult, which is by no means a bad thing. This song displays the full range of the band, being able to -- in the course of one album -- call to mind Pantera, the Cult and the best '80s rock balladeers.
08 - "Purple"
The other big ballad on War of Angels, "Purple" features perhaps the most poignant of Leigh Kakaty lyrics on the album, the chorus-closing "It only hurts when I'm sober." "Purple" is more of a familiar take on a ballad that should please fans of old and new rock alike.
09 - "Black & Blue"
"Black & Blue" begins with an ambient, churning, distorted guitar in the distance before the song kicks in with a heavy, punchy riff. The song takes an unexpected turn for the chorus, which adds a sentimental edge to the song that sits in stark contrast (not in an awkward sort of way) with the heavy intro/verse.
10 - "Next Life"
The album's closer, "Next Life," is a fitting one in that the lyrical message of the song (probably unintentionally) kind of serves as a segue into the future for the band. Either way, this is another poetic gem from Kakaty that is equal parts regret about the past and hope for the future. Pop Evil have undoubtedly grown as songwriters and in particular, Kakaty as a lyricist, since their debut album, Lipstick on the Mirror, and this song is another fine example.