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Angra - Holy Land CD (album) cover

HOLY LAND

Angra

 

Progressive Metal

4.08 | 209 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Another album from the vaults of my youth. I first heard of Angra by reading a local rock magazine and since we Scandinavians are completely in love with Power Metal, a passion we share with Germany even though U.S. has started to catch on in the recent years, our local media is always on the lookout for any new foreign talent. Haling from Brazil, Angra was described as another unpolished diamond of our time that was predicted to soon outmatch the mighty Sepultura in popularity. Even though I rarely take this type of praise literally I still decided to give Angra a go and since Holy Land was their widely available breakthrough release it became the obvious choice for my introduction to the band.

Just like any other well respected Power Metal album Holy Land begins with an intro track which in this case might not have been all that noteworthy but what followed definitely tingled my teen Metal mind. Nothing To Say delivered great Power Metal material with a few Progressive Metal moments that mainly came from the innovative guitar work, plus there's a nice Judas Priest vibe to the composition that was bound to make me happy. After an obligatory ballad track came the album's longest and, according to the general opinion, most progressive piece of music called Carolina IV. I'm really on a fence about this track's prog tendencies, to me it sounds more like a long Power Metal track with a few neo-classical moments in the middle section followed by a Power Metal outro. Not really the great classic that many make it out to be but it definitely has a strong chorus and some nice instrumental moments.

My favorite moments comes right towards the middle of the album with the first sounds of the title track that features groovy Brazilian rhythms and a much more personal performance from the André Matos on vocals. It would have been nice to see more of this material throughout the album but unfortunately the second half of the release continues the trend that was set during the first half with a dramatic composition (The Shaman), ballad with orchestral arrangement (Make Believe) and more orchestrated Power Metal (Z.I.T.O).

So far the performance was pretty solid and it's a pity that Angra goes over the top with the very dramatic closing track titled Deep Blue that really makes no sense in the context of the album. The screaming guitar ending makes it seem like we've experienced another concept album conclusion. There is in fact a theme centered around the discovery and colonization of Brazil in the 15th-century but you really have to dig deep in order to actually notice anything resembling a storyline here. The album finally ends on an acoustic outro track that probably was meant to feel personal but I just can't get over the distracting background effects.

I remember really liking the album back in the day and was really hyped to see my first Angra live performance during the 2005 edition of Sweden Rock Festival. Unfortunately the band had to cancel their appearance right at the last minute which meant that I was treated to a complete surprise when I approached the stage area only to be met by the Swedish Stoner Metal band Mustasch. Incidentally that same band also covered for Arch Enemy during the next Sweden Rock Festival which meant that I've seen a few more Mustasch gigs than what I probably should have... but now I digress.

After my disappointment at Sweden Rock Festival I stopped listening to Angra all together. Who knows what could have happened if only the band gave their performance? Anyhow, it was nice to revisit this old friend of mine today. Even though I don't think as highly of Holy Land as I did during my teen years this is still a solid Power Metal release that fans of Shadow Gallery, Symphony X or even Kamelot might consider giving a shot.

**** star songs: Nothing To Say (6:21) Silence And Distance (5:35) Carolina IV (10:36) Holy Land (6:26) Make Believe (5:53) Z.I.T.O (6:04)

*** star songs: Crossing (1:56) The Shaman (5:23) Deep Blue (5:47) Lullaby For Lucifer (2:43)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |

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