Angels And Devils
It's got to be a kick in the teeth for Fuel to see Chris Daughtry gaining mega-stardom after the former American Idol said, "Thanks, but no thanks" to an offer to join forces after the departure of Brett Scallions ? he of the blonde ringlets and overwrought emotion in "Hemorrage (In My Hands)."
Evidently, the alternative rock/pop unit isn't letting it get to them.
On Angels And Devils, the band's fourth album and first with its new singer, Fuel opt for heavier, crunchier guitars and more volume, and it's a gambit that works. Yeah, the glossy production values are still ridiculously over the top, and yeah, Fuel's power-chord blitzkrieg is a tad predictable, as is the string-laden power balladry of "Wasted Time (G-mix)," but there is little more weight to Fuel's melodic metal this time around.
Stuck in overdrive, "Gone" swirls and surges toward Deftones' dark corner of the universe, and "I Should Have Told You" is similarly cast as a densely packaged layer cake of heavily processed guitar parts.
But there's a little more complexity to tracks like "Not This Time," a little more going on in the background that leads to hope that Fuel isn't so keen on taking the easy way out anymore. Then again the awkward chorus of "Hangin' Round" and the paint-by-numbers chordal patterns and dead, slow rhythms of "Again" take much much of the bloom off this rose, as does the song's all-to-common quiet/loud dynamics.
Enjoy Angels and Devils in small doses. Long listens reveal that Fuel runs out of ideas fast. (www.epicrecords.com)