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ONE MORE LAST TIME (2003)
One More Last Time - Click to view! Music can be magical. For starters, how else could you explain what possesses the vocally challenged to sing in their loudest, most annoying voices? Haven't you ever popped in a CD only to find that what was coming out of your speakers had infiltrated your nervous system, giving you a case of the chills and/or causing goosebumps to creep up your spine?

One More Last Time is not one of those CDs.

Credit must be given to Radial Angel on a few accounts. To begin with, they're one of the few spiritual bands that dare to break the dreaded "I want to sound like Creed" mold and blast straightforward rock and roll. All members of the band are skilled instrumentalists, as proven on the first track, "Give," your standard "give your problems up to God" fare. Lead singer Jared Taber certainly knows how to stretch his vocals, performing lung-shriveling screams with the greatest of ease. Jeremy Dolezel riffs out some catchy hooks on the guitar, not to mention a killer solo, but unfortunately this all seems to overshadow Eddie Jones's brilliant work on the bass (listen carefully to hear it). The magic really kicks in when the band rocks out on track #9, "It's Over." A few gentle, surreal chords introduce us to the story of a girl facing the world on her own, but those chords later turn to seismic strums, and Taber's vocals become fiery and resounding. Most notable on this cut is Tommy Perkins's presence on drums. Each loop adds an increasingly powerful backing for Taber's singing.

If the entire album was made up of songs as well performed as these two, One More Last Time might be a worthy debut. Sadly, the magic never returns. The rest of the disc brings to mind a band that is trying entirely too hard to rock the masses. The worshipful "Your Name" features some tight melodies, but some notes seem out of place and even unnatural as Taber does more yelling than actual singing. Likewise, the horrendous key changes during the chorus of "Love" offset the enchanting string orchestration. "Untitled" is so utterly disheveled that in an attempt to be the premier hard rocker on the disc, it instead induces migraines with its abundance of flat musical notes. Radial Angel lyrically thrashes Satan on "Empty Handed," but once again the cut is sonically marred by the band's instrumental overexertion. Production work might be at fault for such a letdown, but more than likely the band spent way too much effort pushing themselves toward something "heavy." Had some of these tracks been performed acoustically, minus the bells, whistles, and excess fanfare that went into them, they would shape into a much better debut project.

Two above average hits hardly make One More Last Time worthy of a purchase, which is disappointing to say the least. There's a wealth of future potential for Radial Angel, but right now the only magic trick you'll want to see them do is disappear.
- Rick Foux
June 2003
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