In the post-grunge rock fallout of the late 90's and early 00's, Fuel became a mainstay for rock fans, fusing the emotive spirit of Nirvana's musical revolution with a progressive and compelling sound that made alternative rock a viable option in the face of the rise of rap and hip-hop.  Although bands are always more than the sum of their parts, Fuel was uniquely successful because of their long-time frontman, Brett Scallions, and his equally unique vocal stylings.  In a world of mass-produced and equally burned-over redundancies like Nickelback and Creed, Fuel found in Scallions a vocal persona with sufficient gravitas to provide separation and differentiation from the broader and more painfully genericized rock genre.

However, with their 2007 release, "Angels and Demons," all of this has changed.  Pursuing other musical interests, Scallions recently parted ways with Fuel, leaving the band to find another to fill the incredible void, a space filled by Toryn Green, formerly of the band Something to Burn.  

From a somewhat disinterested perspective, "Angels and Demons" is a fairly solid album.  Although Green brings an extreme measure of newness to the sound, Fuel does not depart significantly from the status quo, delivering the typically-Fuel fusion of hard-hitting, angst-filled rock balanced with what has always been a successful infusion of thoughtful, yet subdued balladeering.  Songs like "Leave the Memories Alone" and "Wasted" are particularly reminiscent of the Scallions-era emotive atmosphere and will surely be the more commercially successful songs for the band.

For his part, Green gives an admirable performance.  Although a few of the songs (like "Forever") seem a bit big for his abilities, Green does his best to follow in the path blazed by Scallions.

The main liability of "Angels and Demons", however, is precisely the hole left by Scallions.  Rather than trying to move in different direction to accommodate the major restructuring of the band, Fuel's newest album almost seems to give the impression that it is trying to convince its listeners than nothing has happened, as if the identity of the band forged over the last ten years was only incidentally related to Scallion's presence in the band.  Such gross denial, however, only comes across as musically disingenuous, for no matter how well Green performs, and no matter how closely he attempts to mimic his predecessor, Fuel will not capture in him the compelling and infectious pathos engendered in Scallions.  After all, such delicately crafted things are not simplistically reducible to filling the mic with a warm body.  Unfortunately for fans of Fuel, "Angels and Demons" feels precisely like that.