Black Angel hails from the U.K. and consists of Matt Vowles, but if you had told me Black Angel were a bunch of goths from L.A. who turned Bar Sinister into a portal back to the late ‘80s or early ‘90s and then dove through and made this album, I might have believed you. From the opening bars of this album, one can practically smell the hairspray and taste the clove cigarettes as the title track of Kiss of Death starts the album off and has it all – a haunting synth intro, that punchy gated snare you feel in your sternum, an infectious beat, soulful female backing vocals (which appear on other tracks as well to great effect), and huge guitars. “Animal” evokes a modern, slicked-back version of The Sisters of Mercy from its driving, gritty bass and reverberating vocals, but the unexpected piano in the background adds something else that defies comparison and is truly unique and wonderful. Another standout track is “Hurricane” with its atmospheric rumbling intro and shrieking feedback. The faster tempo drives the album forward and keeps us dancing, while the front-and-center vocals are catchy and effective, and the chord progression borrows from rockabilly/blues to give it a sort of retro vibe. “Put Your Lips On Me” takes the rockabilly style even further and momentarily turns the goth club into a smoke-filled dive bar (still cloves, of course) with its dirty, frenetic energy and relentless walking bass line. Again, it was unexpected but effective as a little bit of stylistic crossover, but it also showcases Vowles’ musicianship. Amid the up-tempo energy, there are also a couple of slower moments such as “She Said” with its sparse kick drum and clean and sustained guitars, which sprawl out into lush pads. They help to balance the album just right; it’s a rock album through and through, so you’re really not supposed to be sitting down while you listen anyway. Kiss of Death is at times a throwback, but more importantly, it’s a step forward in the ongoing evolution of gothic rock, which is seeing quite a renaissance right now. It’s genuinely a fun listen for anyone who has been known to swirl around the dance floor to “Lucretia My Reflection” more than once while clearing the spiderwebs from the air. Whether you’re an elder goth or a baby bat, Kiss of Death is a fresh take on the genre.