|Review: Angra - Secret Garden|
Label: Ear Music
Year released: 2015
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: April 24, 2015
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (12 Votes)
Brazilian Progressive Powerhouse Angra comes back 5 years after their last album with a small change in the lineup and an attempt at a big, pompous release. After the departure of vocalist Edu Falaschi and long-time drummer Ricardo Confessori (who left the band in the early 2000’s but returned in 2009, leaving again in 2014), Fabio Lione (Rhapsody of Fire, Vision Divine) and Bruno Valverde were added to the lineup, with the first raising some questions about whether he was going to succeed in achieving the high notes that Andre Matos and Edu Falaschi could.
The production of this album is top-notch and the lyrics are well written, but don’t expect the old Angra to blast into your speakers, as it appears that the band made the vocal and instrumental arrangements to suit Bittencourt’s voice, resulting in a mix between something from the newer Kamelot albums and Vision Divine (when Lione sings). With that being said, what we have here is obviously a different approach on the sound Angra is used to make, maybe to actually relieve Lione of the big shoes he has to fill. Instead of high pitched, up-tempo songs, the majority of the album consists in a tuned down, heavier sound, with Lione singing as he does with Vision Divine rather than with Rhapsody, and the addition of Rafael Bittencourt on vocals on almost half of the album. This is definitely the heaviest, darkest full-length that Angra has ever released, distancing themselves from their early works and changing a little bit of the prog/power uniqueness that makes them so well known. Songs like "Newborn Me", "Storm of Emotions" and "Upper Levels", and Bittencourt’s lower, tuned-down vocals on the songs "Violet Sky", "Crushing Room" and "Silent Call" illustrate well the new approach Angra made with their vocal lines. But fear not, Angra fans! Despite the darker lyrics, heavier sound and different approach, there are still classic Angra tunes in the album, such as "Black Hearted Soul" and "Final Light".
Overall, this is a solid album, with great songs and a few fillers, and an invitation for us to enter the more obscure side of Angra, with mature songwriting and technical creativity. Not a classic, but a good release for Power Metal fans in 2015 and even for those who don’t like the high-pitched vocals that Power Metal bands tend to use.
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