Fifth Angel’s return back in 2018 with the wonderful “The Third Secret” was one of the great comebacks. I’d been a fan in the first incarnation, but my goodness, the thing was stunning. Ken Mary and Ed Archer are back with “Resist The Tyrant,” and they are back with a record that sees the brilliance of “The Third Secret” makes everything just a little better. A long affair, a concept record, it stretches out to well over an hour, and crucially, it’s the first one to feature new singer Steve Carlson and guitar player Ethan Brosh. The former is perfect because he sounds a little bit like Geoff Tate, and consequently, the band sounds even more like Queensryche (and if you aren’t thinking of “Operation Mindcrime” when this plays, then I’d be amazed). Second, proper metal, proper heavy metal, not this growling that modern bands do (I’m old enough to say that now) lives and dies by its riffing, by its solos, and these are perfect.

“Descent Into Darkness” acts as the prelude almost, the credits are rolling as Mary machine guns his drums, and the narrative hits. Set in the future, the protagonists are saving the world with the prophecy of a band from Seattle from the past. That band is Fifth Angel.

You’re all caught up, and whilst I essentially just care about songs and concepts are for others to debate, so integral is the story here, you can’t avoid it.

But, man, those songs! “When Angels Kill” is glorious, true metal. “Resist The Tyrant” is big, grandiose. Solos, but cinematic, with the narration. “On Wings Of Steel” has a big old Priest thing, machine gun drumming. “We Are Immortal” is the most metal record you’ll hear. “Empire Of Hate” sounds epic, yet energetic. “Run To The Black” creates a dystopian atmosphere. “Seven Angels” showcases twin guitar skill, modern yet classic. “Blinded and Bleeding” walks the line between thrash and metal. “Kill The Pain” is the hero’s ballad after being double-crossed, and it is superb. “Five Minutes To Madness” slashes like it’s the 80s, and as we lie in ruins, so does a massive beast. “The End Of Everything” soars to an end, and it all concludes with “Light The Skies” and its note of despair.

Buy into the story, don’t, I don’t care, but if you’ve got any love in your heart for power metal that’s slightly overblown but never quite gets too excessive, then “Resist The Tyrant” is one you’ll laud as incredible. It stands as one of the finest records of its type in recent times. The world might have died. Metal hasn’t.

Rating: 9.5/10

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