The 1986 self-titled debut album by Fifth Angel is one of those albums that went largely unnoticed at the time, but is spoken of with almost religious awe by those who did find it. These are the folks who inevitably say “Oh, you’re into (insert band name here)? You have to try Fifth Angel!” I was handed this album, as well as Crimson Glory’s Transcendence and Black Sabbath’s TYR by a good friend a few years back, and the three albums have become the benchmarks for how I view all other power metal albums.
Fifth Angel took the American power metal sound and injected it with plenty of melody, toning down the fist-raising aggression in favor of a more accessible approach. Think Warlord or perhaps Armored Saint merged with Dokken. The result was highly melodic, but it was still unmistakably power metal. Fifth Angel may have had a lighter touch than say, Omen, but they weren’t some ballad-spewing hair metal band either. A look at the track listing for this album confirms that the band was solidly in the metal camp.
It’s been two decades since Fifth Angel’s debut was released, and the album has lost none of its power. The band’s early fans still revere the album as a classic moment in metal, and continue to bring new converts to the Fifth Angel flock. For my part, I’ll recommend this to anyone who is into power metal, especially those who enjoy the classic American power metal sound.