FIFTH ANGEL – When Angels Kill (Album Review)

Release Date: June 16th 2023 - Nuclear Blast Records

Fifth Angel - When Angels Kill

Fifth Angel is a melodic power metal band from the USA, releasing four albums to date – ‘Fifth Angel’ (1986), ‘Time Will Tell’ (1989), ‘The Third Secret’ (2018), and ‘When Angels Kill’

…released in 2023, featuring an incredible fourteen songs across a seventy minute run time! And even though it’s the band’s fourth album, its release comes an amazing thirty-six years after their self-titled debut – Fifth Angel disbanding after only five years (from 1984 to 1989), to go silent until a fabulous and very well received reunion at 2010 Keep It True Festival in Germany. The reaction from the crowd was phenomenal, paving the way for the band’s full reunion, and the first Fifth Angel album (‘The Third Secret’) in over three decades! And now here we are, just a few short years later, with the band’s new (fourth) album ‘When Angels Kill’, a monolithic fourteen-song offering packed to the rafters with melodious heavy metal – all coming to life with the one-minute effects-laden and eerie intro ‘Descent Into Darkness’ segueing straight into album opener proper, the title song ‘When Angels Kill’, a simply glorious gallop of traditional “foot on the monitor” heavy metal. Blended with the more muscular style of American metal, the band are striding tall, turning heads wherever ‘When Angels Kill’ (the song) is played and heard.

The incredible intensity of the previous song is majestically maintained with the ground shuddering ‘Resist The Tyrant’ – an anthemic feel rising high into the air. ‘Resist The Tyrant’ still bears American muscle, yet a more melodious nature comes to the fore, the band casually hooking listeners, fans and followers to the band’s music. Pace, power and energy all triple for the hard-hitting ‘On Wings Of Steel’, the headbangers of the world waking up to furiously nod their heads back and forth. The opening three songs have all displayed slightly different styles of metal, each one coming at you from a different corner of the heavy metal genre! Talk about roaming around, Fifth Angel has a full tank of gas and is ready for a road trip – a road trip of heavy fucking metal! And with no sign of the intensity level dropping, ‘We Are Immortal’ bustles in with a swagger and a stomp akin to a rabble-rousing anthemic march. Simply cracking stuff from the American five-piece.

Bringing an epic touch to the album, ‘Empire Of Hate’ opens with a cinematic atmosphere, adopting the iconic gallop of old-school metal as it gets going properly. And even with an increased level of menace, the band lose nothing of the phenomenal melodious intent they began the album with.

An album that has progressed song by song with relentless intoxication – ‘Run To The Black’ hitting listeners hard like a runaway steam train! The oomph of ‘Run To The Black’ is incredible, the band slamming everyone to the floor with ferocious force, then caressing you, whispering sorry in your ear over and over again! The passion Fifth Angel is pouring into this album is overwhelming, the band putting their heart and soul into every single song on offer. And raising the energy levels even higher, ‘Seven Angels’ is a galloping slice of traditional heavy metal, the band firmly planting their collective feet on the monitors – old schoolers the world over drooling like a waterfall at the perfect essence of ‘Seven Angels’.

The album has been a non-stop roller coaster ride of infectious heavy metal up to this point, the band showing absolutely no sign of slowing down or changing track, ‘Blinded And Bleeding’ echoing the iconic guitar sound of the NWOBHM – Fifth Angel maintaining a very strong old school flavour. Yet the band aren’t looking to be a retro band, hell no!

‘When Angels Kill’ (the album) has plenty of modern twists, turns, and touches to please new and old fans alike. And now for a run of four songs, all clocking in at over six minutes in length – the first of which, ‘Kill The Pain’, is a majestic march of anthemic metal the likes of Saxon, Sabaton and Manowar would be proud of. So come on, all you listeners, fans and followers, raise your fists high in the air and join in with the band’s rabble-rousing call to arms antics, err, anthem! Arriving at eighty-eight miles an hour from the mid-eighties, ‘Five Days To Madness’ is a glorious mid-tempo gallop of NWOBHM-tinged foot on the monitor heavy metal, the band maintaining their penchant for harking back to their roots. And don’t forget, Fifth Angel are a band of the eighties, forming at a time when traditional metal was booming, becoming the best thing since the proverbial sliced bread!

The infectious and catchy sing-a-long ability of the album is just incredible – every song showcases everything great about melodic heavy metal. The band are in an unstoppable mood, striding on with the epic ‘Ashes To Ashes’, and an atmospheric intro fit for a Hollywood blockbuster! The majestic swagger is phenomenal, Fifth Angel introducing a hymn-like nature not heard anywhere else previously – yet the intensity level remains sky high! Not to mention the levels of attraction and addictiveness, the band is losing no one’s interest as the album approaches the one hour mark! An hour already! Un-fucking-believable! And with a thunderous attitude, ‘The End Of Everything’ blasts off, adopting a progressive metal feel as it gets going proper – the band maintaining the marvellous majesty of the two previous songs. These four six-minute songs (in a row) have been some of the finest mid-tempo, epic and melodious songs I have heard for some time. And to have them all grouped together over one twenty minute plus stretch – a masterful piece of planning! Kudos Fifth Angel. Kudos! And as we all know, all good things come to an end, and so does this album, the band lighting up the sky one final time with the fast-paced ‘Light The Skies’ – pummelling listeners with (probably) the first real power metaller ‘When Angels Kill’ (the album) has to offer. A simply glorious end to a glorious album.

 Overall, a majestic march of melodious heavy metal, one hundred percent infectious and a very pleasurable listen.


Descent Into Darkness
When Angels Kill
Resist The Tyrant
On Wings Of Steel
We Are Immortal
Empire Of Hate
Run To The Black
Seven Angels
Blinded And Bleeding
Kill The Pain
Five Days To Madness
Ashes To Ashes
The End Of Everything
Light The Skies

Fifth Angel: Facebook

Release Year: 2023
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Category: Album
Country: USA

Reviewed by Iron Mathew for Frenzy Fire and Metal-Roos.