Review Summary: Fuel's 'revival' is nothing more than a desperate attempt from Carl Bell to be the rock god he once was.
Fuel has never been a standout band, and they’ve also never released a standout album even though their last album, Natural Selection
came close. With each album, Fuel would end up progressing, getting better and better with each album. Their debut album, Sunburn
was bland, boring radio rock with a few average tracks, 2000’s Something Like Human
was a bit harder and edgy than Sunburn
; and it ended up spawning the massive hit Hemmorhage (In My Hands)
. With their third album, Fuel took to the path less traveled, with Natural Selection
. Bordering on pure metal, Natural Selection
was filled with heavy, noisy guitar riffs mixed with nasty harsh bass lines and crackling vocals courtesy of Brett Scallions’ always unique, rough voice.
So what happened with Angels and Devils
? Who would have figured Fuel would go back to the bland, mindless radio rock that they produced with Sunburn
with their ‘revived’ band? The bass heavy opening verses, thrash guitar lines, drumming led rhythms of Natural Selection
are all gone, in favor for a more radio friendly sound. Not only is the music on this album very boring and isn’t anything special; but the new lead singer Toryn Green tries so hard to be Brett Scallions that its painful to listen to. His voice is rough and cracks just like Scallions, but it sounds a lot like something you’d hear from a cheap cover band’s version of Hemmorhage (In My Hands)
. Not only is the lead singer a last ditch desperation move from the guitarist Carl Bell to keep his band alive, this whole ‘revival’ just seems as a half-cooked last ditch attempt to be a radio mainstay.
How mediocre and bland is this album? Let’s start with the lead single, Wasted Time
. Toryn Green takes no time in taking over the song with his Scallions-esque vocals backed by an acoustic guitar verse before it breaks out into a relatively catchy chorus. But what makes this song so ‘special’? It sounds like every ballad on the radio back in the late 90s. Not only is Wasted Time
is the lead single off of this album, Fuel wants you to know that upon first glance quite simply because there’s two versions. The (G-Mix) was the radio single, and the (S-Mix) was just a cheap Reprise of the single. Too bad the mixes are almost impossible to tell apart…making the (S-Mix) at the end of the album seem as a rehashed repeat of what we’ve already heard.
There’s a special place in my heart for mainstream rock; which makes this album tolerable to listen to (at least for me) courtesy of the two songs that kick off the album, Gone
and I Should Have Told You
kicks off with a Carl Bell signature guitar riff before Green comes in with all guns blazing with a short-lived scream before breaking into a rather catchy chorus that that feels very matured; same with I Should Have Told You
, which is one of the albums slower, melodic songs that will most likely be the next single due to its acoustic verses and more upbeat and aggressive chorus. The chorus is catchy and guitar heavy. Toryn Green manages to sound a bit more unique than he does in the rest of the album’s songs as well; which is a big plus.
The album’s first two songs are all fake hope though, Forever
is rather boring, expected, and unoriginal, and as stated before Wasted Time
is a bland mess. But not only is that song a mess, the whole album is, and Fuel seems to know this with the middle filler track Mess
which is filled with random words, noises, guitar riffs, and drumming squirmishes. Angels Take a Soul
is arguably the album’s worst song, quite simply because it’s a gigantic mess of random song structures, and overpowering guitar riffs.
By the end, the album comes off as a gigantic mess that you’ve just witnessed before your very ears. Angels and Devils
is stuck in the 90s; plain and simple, and the album seems so desperate that its pitiful that this is what Carl Bell has come to. Once, Fuel was a band that did what they wanted, but no longer; they are catering to the masses once again; but this time, its so pitifully bad that the masses are turning this trash down. The only possible pluses to this album are the opening duo and the lyrics in this album. The lyrics stemmed from the abandonment of Fuel’s lead singer Brett Scallions and the drummer Kevin Miller. The lyrics are heartfelt, moving, and much more deep and heavy than Fuel’s previous albums. But even the deep lyrics can’t save this album from falling into the mediocrity that this mainstream rock album truly is. This album is just another reason that these ‘revivals’ that have been going around lately (Marilyn Manson, Smashing Pumpkins, etc.) aren’t that good of an idea; they mostly end in a mess of mediocrity, a lot like this album, Fuel’s fourth release Angels and Devils
I Should Have Told You