Janus Stark – Angel in the Flames (Time & Matter Records)

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I’m a bit of a Gizz Butt fanboy and even though I wasn’t enamoured by  his work with the Prodigy, for the last thirty and a bit years I’ve been an avid disciple of the man’s creative output. From The Desecrators to the English Dogs and The More I See, I’ve followed and thrown my weight behind just about everything he’s done and almost without fail, Gizz has crafted a legacy of musical excellence. However, I still believe that his finest moment was the first Wardance demo which delivered three of the most beautifully crafted, exquisite pop influenced punk songs that I’ve ever heard and in the intervening period, nothing  he’s done, or been a part of, has been able to equal the breathtaking intimacy and immediacy of those songs.  Oh sure, some bands he’s been in have come close, but they’ve never been able to match the power and majesty of that tape. Until now.

Forty or so seconds into Angel in the Flames opening track Crucify All the Leaders, I felt my throat start to tighten, the hairs on the back of my arms began to shiver and my spine was tingling, as those melodies and harmonies that made that Wardance so special had finally found a new home. They’re littered and scattered throughout Angel in the Flames, and coupled with the jaw dropping riffing and virtuoso licks that are part and parcel of what Gizz has always done, lift each and every song to dizzying heights, allowing the record to soar and discover its sublime, unique identity.  Angel in the Flames is a near perfect pop record that’s infused with a whole load of punk attitude, energy and aggression and owes as much to the Merseybeat  bands of the sixties as it does to early eighties American Hardcore. It’s everything that I hoped it would be and so much more besides and 11,317 days since I first heard Wardance, the spirit and heart of that band has returned and my patience has at long last been dutifully rewarded. Some things really are worth waiting for… Tim Cundle

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