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Angra - Aqua CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.36 | 86 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Aqua' - Angra (7/10)

Peaking my interest with the single they had released some weeks before the release of this seventh studio album, I had some high expectations for Angra's latest offering. Adding some forward thinking flair to a typically recycled world of power metal, this group from Brazil easily rival some of the better known giants in the genre, and 'Aqua' only helps to reassert this notion.

A concept album based on William Shakespeare's play 'The Tempest,' Angra are certainly taking ambitious risks with the subject matter. While the music certainly still falls comfortably within the realm of power metal, there are aspects of the music that sound very special. Paying homage to their mother culture, there are a few parts that really resound of the band's Latin heritage, which provide a refreshing lapse from the typical style. Beyond that however, Angra are making music that should sound familiar to anyone that has heard the genre before. What distinguishes them however, is how well they are able to pull it off.

While alot of the album relies on speed, soaring vocals (almost operatic in nature) and the fiery neoclassically oriented talents of the band's lead guitarist, repeated listens to 'Aqua' reveals that each song does stand out on it's own to some extent. The music here ranges from a neoclassical tour-de-force ('Arising Thunder') to beautiful, slower songs ('Lease Of Life' and 'Ashes') to the dark, progressive equivalent of a roundhouse kick ('Hollow.)

The two songs here that seem to stand out above their peers are also the heaviest and most technical; 'Arising Thunder' and 'Hollow.' The first of these; I listened to when the single was released. It stands out as being the best composed track on the album, and has some of the best neoclassical madness I've ever heard from a metal band. I fell in love with it from the first listen, and I would strongly suggest to anyone considering whether or not this album is for them; to check out 'Arising Thunder.' 'Hollow' on the other hand, was overlooked by me on the first few listens, but it undeniably set itself apart once I became more familar with the tracks. It is without a doubt, the darkest moment of the album, and at points even sounds a bit reminiscent of Dream Theater's 'Awake' record.

One thing that took a while to grow on me with this record were not so much the vocals themselves, but the way they were integrated into the music. With such a melodic voice, you might expect Edu Falaschi's melodic lines to instantly paint a memorable image in the mind. Instead, the use of vocals in the compositions seems to pale in comparison to the fantastic potential leased to the instruments. After several listens however (after the songs become familiar,) the vocal lines end up feeling like they work in the mix after all.

The band has stated that they wanted to make a classic with this album that their fans would reference them by in the years to come. While 'Aqua' is not a masterpiece and doesn't necessarily set the rest of the power metal world to shame, it does set itself apart from it's peers. Fantastic musicianship, some phenomenal tracks and an interesting concept make 'Aqua' out to be one of the band's better offerings, and a great album to dive into, should the style fit your tastes.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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