Fuel’s new release, Angels & Devils, is just as potent as the band’s previous releases. Lineup changes did not derail them at all. The songs, the overall sound, is addictive and steady.
Of course, most know that Brett Scallions, the former lead singer, left the band. The remaining members conducted an on line talent search to discover his successor and they found Toryn Green. He fronts the band with dignity and energy. Scallions had a unique voice that added a singular character to Fuel’s music. While Green does have some similarities to the former singer, it seems to me he lacks some of the emotional depth of his predecessor. However, he holds the songs together very well and is a worthy successor.
The other change is Tommy Stewart from Godsmack on drums. Godsmack and Fuel hit the music scene together and Stewart has always been a fan, according to his statements on the band’s website. He had other commitments during the recording of Angels & Devils, so the band used studio musician Josh Freese for drum duty while recording. I liked his style. Lots of cool footwork and he’s got a smooth touch on cymbals.
The band admits that lineup changes can be hard. Truly, it can spell demise, at times. Just think of Van Halen and the Gary Cherone era. Okay, don’t think of that. Never mind. Let’s just say that Fuel did not suffer like that. Their songwriting core stayed intact and that helped maintain quality music. The songs written for Angels & Devils reflect the turmoil the band has gone through professionally and personally and so seem more forlorn; they focus on the ending of relationships and the anguish that ensues.
I think that resulted in this album sounding more adolescent than their older stuff, less mature. However, it also ensures that their music will reach a wide audience. Everyone can relate to the feelings they expose.
“Wasted Time” and “Gone” were the first two singles released. “Wasted Time” is a gorgeous song with a melancholic chorus that rises easily from memory. It was the perfect song to introduce the world to the new Fuel. Some of the other tracks should prove to be hits. “Forever” has some great riffs, perfect timing and, I think, the best writing on the entire CD. It’s a song that seems poised to take over radio. “Scars in the Making” has the best rhythm of any of the songs. It’s a subdued rocker, with lyrics and guitars tightly woven together.
This is a new Fuel. The band still creates worthwhile rock music. I look forward to the further maturation of this new unit. Until then, I’ll listen faithfully to Angels & Devils.