Fuel back on the scene with new lead singer

I had a bad day when I found out Fuel, one of the alternative rock bands I grew up with, was looking for a new singer.

I had a bad day again when I heard the rumors circulating that Chris Daughtry, the guy from American Idol who just released his solo album, had turned down the job.

Then, before buying “Angels and Demons,” Fuel’s newest album and their first with vocals from newbie Toryn Green, I made the mistake of reading the band’s updated profile on their website.

I’m no expert, but I know enough about public relations to surmise from the introductory statement, “Fuel has nothing to prove,” that they actually did have a lot to prove. To fans of almost a decade they were, for the first time, unfamiliar, and “Angels” had to prove that their quality hadn’t diminished with the number of original members still involved with the group.

It didn’t help that the next sentence referred to the band’s early accomplishments, including “a trio of top 5 singles, ‘Shimmer,’ ‘Innocent,’ and ‘Hemorrhage.'”

Whoever wrote the biography seemed like they were trying way too hard, or so I thought, and it made me afraid to un-mute the song samples streaming across the top of the site.

As it turns out, I did all that worrying for nothing.

Fuel’s new album is, as their biography claims, bold and inviting. It helps that it would take a professional voice analyst to tell the difference between Green and the band’s former singer Brett Scallions. Their voices are not only almost identical, but they even use the same kind of techniques and style; so it’s easy to hear how easily Green must have fit in with the band’s already-cemented style.

Something else interesting to note is that the new album also features an unfamiliar drummer, Josh Freese. Freese is a studio musician who has also played for Nine Inch Nails and A Perfect Circle. He appeared on the album because Fuel’s new permanent drummer, Godsmack’s Tommy Stewart, had other commitments while the album was being recorded.

Despite all of the changes made, what really saves “Angels” is the fact that it sounds how Fuel’s fourth album should have sounded, anyway. It’s a progression for them; they took chances with this album and I think it worked.

The first single, “Wasting Time,” is lyrically strong and features both acoustic and strong sequences. It says negative things about relationships, but in a way that isn’t exactly arguable and the point is made with a sound that could easily be accepted from pop connoisseurs.

The track “Gone” further pushes the acknowledgement of bad relationships. This song, though, is one example of the times during the album when Carl Bell, one of the only two original members of the band decided he didn’t care about pretenses. The song has style, very real edge and proves that Fuel really didn’t stop trying.

Instead, they kept building on the foundation of their previous albums – as opposed to starting over which would have ruined them – and they managed to pull it off.

The remainder of the album sounds, for lack of a more accurate description, like a Fuel album. Basically, if you liked “Natural Selection” then you’ll love “Angels and Demons,” even if you don’t recognize any of the guys in the music videos.

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