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Aghora - Aghora CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.86 | 69 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars The Florida death metal scene. It had spawned such great bands as Death, Cynic, Atheist which I note since they also pushed death metal in a technical/progressive direction. Well, one very unknown Florida metal band is Aghora. This is their debut album, and it is a great one! It is a nice merger of metal and jazz. However, unlike Atheist and Cynic before them, this is NOT death metal. While they may have heavy riffs, (and do they!) the music is far from death metal.

Even farther are the vocals. In fact Aghora uses a female vocalist. This adds obvious melodicism but also beauty. Atheist was jazzy metal, but pretty rough on most average people I'd imagine. Perhaps Cynic is better, bet still rooted in death metal somewhat. "Aghora" has some heaviness but that is about it. The vocals really add icing to the cake. The music is brilliant! However, the beautiful, sometimes chilling, vocals just really pull it together.

In terms of music, this debut album album is actually MORE progressive then "Formless" in my opinion. Formless is a lot heavier, with a lot more use of Santiago's crushing riffs. "Aghora" however, is almost more jazzy then metal! Almost, maybe it's about 50/50. Anyway, its a nice blend of jazz and metal. Lot's of melodicism.

Santiago's guitar work is amazing. He can play heavy riffs, jazzy licks, beautiful minimalist pieces, and lots of trippy, (almost eastern sounding) noises, (thanks to Sitar!). He is a wonderful soloist as well. His solo's range from shred metal, to flamenco, as well as melodic.

Sean Malone, of Cynic fame, plays bass on this album and it is glorious! You can hear it much more than there second release, (which is a shame because Alan Goldstein is amazing! I recommend you check out his youtube page!). Anyway, Malone lays down some truly amazing bass. He also plays the piano, which does have some use on the album.

On drums we have Sean Reinert, from Death and Cynic, (crazy, two big names in the Florida metal scene appear on this album yet it is still so obscure). Anyway, Sean's drumming is amazing. It is jazzy, tasteful, technical and complex and he can lay down some nice double bass! His drumming on this album, (as well as Formless) is almost never thrashy, (at least not too thrashy) which again separates Aghora from it's tech/jazzy death metal counterparts.

Every song on this album is great, and there are never slow/boring parts. I am captivated from beginning to end. This is one of those rare jewels. A real musical journey, maybe it's not experimental enough for some proggers, but I never got that. I mean how much music is different EVERY song, and personally this album is quite varied. Each song takes you through different pieces and frankly, the music ranges from cool to melodic, from nice to downright beautiful.

While you can't go wrong with any song, I will say the second half of "Frames" is truly beautiful. The type where if I was lying down, with music quiet, totally dark I could almost go to a different place in my mind. Any fan of prog-metal, metal, jazz fusion, harder prog MUST check out this album. I guess if you have no tolerance for heavy guitar then this may not be right for you, but please give it a listen.

Five Stars

JJLehto | 5/5 |


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