domingo, 29 de março de 2015

Angra: Exposing Their Secrets

When we cling to a debate about the brazilian Heavy Metal, is hard to let slip the name "Angra". After all, with 23 years on the road, the band is one of the guarantors in spreading the Metal from Brazil around the globe, and, next to the grave, one of the leading names in the brazilian origin genre. And even those who do not worship them or do not like, respect their history, that has strong status. And using a phrase from former vocalist Edu Falaschi: "You can change the entire li-up that if you have the logo, the fans will go the shows." But several problems, both internal and external, kept the band going too more than that is, and the black cloud appeared again in 2010, shortly after the release of "Aqua", and which worsened in 2011, the bad performance at Rock in Rio, which eventually resulted in the following year, the departure with Edu Falaschi. (Leia aqui a versão em português)

A 2012 "sabbatical" and 2013 of cleanse the soul, Angra had to roll up their sleeves and solve several pending before returning to the stage. A imaginable outcome was always a ghost that bothered the members after all that passed between 2010 and 2011, mainly from the founder-member Rafael Bittencourt, who has a great affection to his fans. And thanks to striking songs, and fans who carries a passion since the foundation of the "goddess of fire", the band annihilated any doubt who thought the Angra should end, regardless of who would be singing, as the vocalist position was changed again.

Reconstruction began in early 2013, starting with the vocalist position, which was vacant since the departure of Edu. The intention from the beginning was always mount a reality show  to choose who would be the new voice of Angra, giving in mind that the priority was to give attention to the talent of the Brazilians, but in the same year, with a invitation to play on the cruise "70000 Tons Of Metal", the band had to find a vocalist urgently and through the cruise organizers, the Italian Fabio Lione (Rhapsody Of Fire, Vision Divine) was suggested, with the intention only to fulfill that commitment. But due to the positive reviews, turned out to solve recruit him to join the "Angels Cry - 20th Anniversary Tour", which was documented on DVD with the recorded show in Sao Paulo. And the stabilization of Fabio in Angra was not only just for his professionalism, friendliness and good communication with the public, since it has the Latin spirit, was essential for him to fall in grace of fans and have them in the palm of hand easily. In my view, respecting André Matos and Edu, Fabio Lione is who most fits the profile of the band.

The "Angels Cry - 20th Anniversary Tour" celebration tour at 20 years of launching the 'debut' album "Angels Cry" (1993), was the opportunity for fans to see the live Angra again, who had stints in various corners Brazil, Latin America and shows super crowded. The tour would not be what was due to a great person, nothing less that Paulo Baron, one of the most important names in the world of 'show business', the band's manager two years ago and doing things the right way and seriously. The return of Angra owes much to him too, considering some sort of 6 member.

After four years without showing any new material, it was time for everyone to come together to compose new songs, and the projection of how the new Angra would sound in the studio was very intense, recalling that the last two releases ("Aqua" and "Aurora Consurgens ") were well below expectations. And of course, as the Lione would behave before his first job in the band? Probably, fans of Rhapsdoy, imagined, of wide open way, that the new album would be returned to the Lione is used to working in his band. Have fans Creek had more endurance, reliability would be a groundbreaking work, different from what was produced in recent years. And it's what we find in "Secret Garden", which in addition to marking the Lione debut in a 'full-length', also brings the young drummer Bruno Valverde assuming the sticks.

Cheap gloomy, dark, melodic and even pop music elements, make the "Secret Garden" a modern and contemporary disc that those who hear for the first time will want to hear more often, because, in part, the disc avoids the clichés of Power Melodic Metal, but never leaving the DNA Creek side, which is put Brazilian rhythms here and there, and some of the influences of Prog Metal also, factors that made the band a world reference. And for those who already like the work on guitars Kiko Loureiro and Rafael Bittencourt will like it even more, because, in my view, "Secret Garden" is the richest work in guitar part, with indomitable and great riffs.

As in works like "Rebirth" (2001) and "Temple Of Shadows" (2004), Angra returned to Europe again to record the "Secret Garden" and the anointed person to assist in the production was the Swede Jens Bogren, who deciphered very well the intention of the band, returning with a splendid mix. The result could be no other, just ask his resume to know all the difference; and pre-production the band won a special extra, which was managed by renowned producer Roy Z, which prioritizes the main features of the artist and knows how to take the best of each. In parts of composition and preparation of arrangements, his presence was essential.

Once purchased the album, I was already jumping third track, due to the relevance of the first two. The range in which I refer is the "Final Light", one of my favorites, complete with well insane and amazing riffs. It is worth mentioning the work of bassist Felipe Andreoli, who holds well to quarrel with a good bass and treble sound, the acolyte luxurious voice of Lione. If someone is interested in discovering the concept of lyrics, especially this range, you will encounter what the band was going through in the past. The chorus reflects this clearly: "All the answers only led us to the edge/The final light never cam and never will/So we fall and rise and walk again/The matter still prevails/The end is the light path and not the end/It’s not the end.

"Newborn Me" has an "QI" of Prog Metal and a brilliant chorus, again prevailing the work of  Kiko and Rafael's guitars, who is one of the most special moments during the execution of the track. Brazilian rhythms, like "maracatu", so to speak, appear quickly in the final bridge, and some latin music passages, too. And when faced with the title track, that's report of a new phase of Angra; "Storm Of Emotions" is a 'power-ballad', which begins in a friendly and massively. It is being built gradually until you reach the explosive and Titanic chorus, winning a bonus with great vocal work of Rafael and Lione duet.

And speaking of the founder-member of the "Secret Garden", guitarist Rafael Bittencourt took the opportunity to present their skills as a singer in a disco Creek. "Bittencourt Project" was his first work as a musician soloist vocal lines where there's own, and "Violet Sky" group shows a much more mature tone of voice and refined, ranging from the most serious and even reaching high notes. In short, the track is well distorted riffs and grooves, but winning melody in the time; "Upper Levels" the one saved in weight to improve the technical part of the musicians, encompassing more balance and feeling, with Felipe putting on a show in the six strings of his bass, not forgetting, of course, the talented drummer Bruno Valverde, who in addition to play Thrash, Power and Death Metal, I can print their influences from Jazz and Fusion within the Heavy Metal. And a cool coincidence: the drummer lives in the same city this yours truly.

The female appearances are one of the most starched moments on the album, starting with the participation of the ruling queen of Heavy Metal, Doro Pesch, in "Crushing Room". When the voice of german Queen is present in any work, or any show, there are no errors to be appointed. Good neat duet with Rafael, Pop music merges with Heavy Metal and striking soils are the most superb points in the song; the other is the participation of the beautiful singer Simone Simons (Epica), entirely sings the title track, focusing more epic and symphonic passages.

Other highlights are the "Black Hearted Soul" (fast and accurate, with cracked Kiko's guitar solos) and "Perfect Symmetry" (with beautiful orchestrations), follows some of the standards that the public was accustomed to seeing coming from the band; and the album closes the lid with the beautiful acoustic ballad "Silent Call", where Rafael back to the lead vocal. For me, it has become classic and is indispensable in the list of best songs of Angra.

If the "Secret Garden" is likely to be considered a masterpiece I do not know, but the disc will be remembering for many not only for the revival of the group, but also by the changes brought, whether in the line-up or in the sound.
The invitation is for you to get into that secret garden!

Text: Gabriel Arruda
Editing / proofing: Carlos Garcia

Photos: Henrique Grandi

Band: Angra
Album: Secret Garden
Production: Jens Bogren
Pre-production: Roy Z.
Year: 2015
Style: Power and Progessive Metal
Country: Brazil
Seal: E-ar Music

Line Up:
Fabio Lione (vocals)
Kiko Loureiro (guitar)
Rafael Bittencourt (guitar/vocals)
Felipe Andreoli (bass)
Bruno Valverde (drums)

01. Newborn Me
02. Black Hearted Soul
03. Final Light
04. Storm Of Emotions
05. Violent Sky
06. Secret Garden (feat. Simone Simons)
07. Upper Levels
08. Crushing Room (feat. Doro Pesch)
09. Perfect Symmetry
10. Silent Call

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