Released: 2002, Century Media
Angel Dust returns with their sixth album – OF HUMAN BONDAGE. This album is not a continuation from the previous one. Instead, we are presented with a somewhat modified sound and a new band member (Ritchie Wilkison – guitars). The line-up change is part of the reason why the band sounds slightly different. The band is not as melodic on OF HUMAN BONDAGE, taking a more aggressive and thrashy sound.
I much preferred the band on their previous album, but this is not a huge step down, it’s a matter of personal taste. On the title song the band sounds very much like they did on the previous album. However, on the track “Inhuman” they sound a bit too much like Nevermore--even the vocals for the verses are reminiscent of Warell. The keyboard parts on this track also sound a bit out of place and unnecessary. I won’t say that I don’t like this, because I do. I will say though that the shift in direction that the band made is not one that I think is for the better. “Unreal Soul” features down-tuned guitars and a crunchy riff that reminded me in places of In Flames. The track “Unite” was the next one that grabbed my attention even though it also made me think of Nevermore. The main/intro riff is very thrashy and catchy. The band still tries out their hand on a ballad with “The Cultman,” which is no where near as haunting or as atmospherically polished as past Angel Dust tracks like “Beneath The Silence” or “I Need You.” For Angel Dust’s attempt at sounding like Sentenced, check the song “Freedom Awaits.” Not their strongest moment and a song that doesn’t suit them in my opinion.
OF HUMAN BONDAGE is just not one of those albums that grips you right away. It’s a slight step down for the band after the brilliance of ENLIGHTEN THE DARKNESS (2000). If you haven’t heard the band yet, I’d recommend starting with that one before checking this out. The vocal melody lines, riffs and songs overall are just not as memorable or as strong this time around. Yes, it is heavier and for some of you that’s all that will matter. For anyone who thinks that power metal has to be all happy and flowery, Angel Dust is a fist in your face. This is aggressive and heavy stuff worth checking out for sure. Hopefully the band will write stronger material for the next album and again realize that the strongest weapon in their arsenal is vocalist Dirk Thurusch – a man whose talents were not in the forefront enough on this album in my opinion.
Band Website: http://www.angel-dust.de