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Angra - Temple Of Shadows CD (album) cover

TEMPLE OF SHADOWS

Angra

 

Progressive Metal

4.15 | 181 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Marc Baum
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Whenever I get into an album that seems at the time like the best thing ever, I feel lost as to how I could ever describe in words how it is that it’s so great without going overboard and detracting from its goodness. And with this album that is exactly the case. For at least two weeks after this CD came through my door I just could not bear to go for more than a few hours without reaching for it. Yet I was afraid of listening to it too much lest I have it permanently stuck in my head and losing all sleep. At times this was actually a problem. But I can’t help having such an emotional connection to an album if throughout there are uplifting melodies that are emotional in the best way possible, but also technical and progressive moments as well as the quintessential Angra power metal sound.

To top off the musical excellence, the album follows the rough storyline of a man back in the 11th century or earlier who is questioning his role in the Catholic Church, questioning their morals and going on to form his own short-lived religion. The songs don’t follow the storyline in order apart from the beginning and end, but it’s not hard to piece it together. This is a rare form of anti-Christianity for metal, but being from what can be a strongly Catholic country, it’s not too likely that they’d get away with Satanism if they wanted to have a universal appeal. That’s not to say that Catholics won’t be offended by this album, or that there’s no positive religious/spiritual elements, but the impression left is that the listener thinks for themselves, or something like that. Onto the obligatory track-by-track guide:

01 – Deus Le Volt: The obligatory intro track, but one that leads into the next track with an exciting crescendo. Pretty standard stuff, but if executed well then what’s to complain about?

02 – Spread Your Fire: It’s the essential gung-ho opening track (barring the intro in this case) that we all love. Vocal harmonies have that power metal fists in the air awesomeness to them, as do the layered backing vocals giving a very operatic male choir effect. Rhapsody fans should be satisfied. The big shame about things like that is that they’d not be able to fully re-create that live, as good a live act as they are. If you like your guitar solos there’s a wonderfully wanky middle section where they go off on a tangent that’s not too far out of context with the song, but then anybody with that musical skill won’t go off on too much of a tangent anyway. There’s also a female soprano in there for good measure too.

03 – Angels and Demons: Another gloriously happy tune, but with a moderately prog- like sounding 7/8 time signature at the beginning.

04 – Waiting Silence: The mood takes a different turn here, and they’ve used a different rhythm and tempo to fit it, along with some mean chords. The song is in a mid- tempo rythm and contains also some prog-styled parts in the instrumental passages, which is a real great thing. The guitar solo is great on here!

05 – Wishing Well: It’s seen as a great crime in some metal circles to create an uplifting anthemic ballad, and if you hate those, steer well clear of this song. If you love them, then stop reading this and download it now. I count myself to the 2nd group and this is a great tune and contains an catchy refrain which may stuck in your head for longer!

06 – The Temple Of Hate: At first I was thinking that Edu was trying to sound evil or devilish in some way here, but on further inspection of the sleeve notes it is Kai Hansen of Helloween fame who guests on this song. What has to be heard is the abrasive ‘aah’s at the end of this song where it slows down. Just so metal, much like early ‘90s Judas Priest.

07 – The Shadow Hunter: A slightly subdued sounding epic with some great classical guitar work at the beginning, showing their Brazilian roots much like at other times in this album. “God has no mind, has no heart, has no body has no soul, and no resemblance of you” is just so blunt, and in one sense daring, but it’s sung with such conviction and I can’t help but feel with it.

08 – No Pain for the Dead: A sorrowful track that’s not without an awesome chorus, and also features the enchanting voice of Sabine from Edenbridge who also features on Track 2. Very emotional piece, which deserves named as a definitive highlight on the record.

09 – Winds of Destination: Again I was a complete moron here and wondered for ages why it is that Edu is managing to pull of a Hansi Kürsch (from Blind Guardian) impression so well. Yes, he guests on this song, and his voice works really well with Angra’s sound. There are various middle sections here that might try a few peoples’ patience, but certainly not mine. The male choir at the end wraps things up in a brilliantly pompous way.

10 – Sprouts of Time: This is where the Brazilian rhythmic elements really come into play, with Edu’s voice lowering for this one. A nice chord progression in the chorus as there is in every song.

11 – Morning Star: A sort of epic that doesn’t have lots of very different sections like most epics do, it’s more of an extended song. The rhythm guitar at the beginning is very much like that of Steve Vai in terms of atmospherics, which can be heard at times throughout.

12 – Late Redemption: A sombre ending track with some Portuguese male vocals sung in low octaves. This bit is where the main character in the story dies and is offered late redemption, hence the title.

13 – Gate XII: Since the album has been so awesome it just wouldn’t be half as good if it didn’t have an instrumental for the orchestra at the end. It’s a rough medley based on the songs. It clicks with the emotions like a good film score does, so this is like an ending credits song for a film. The main motif from Morning Star triumphantly crashes to an end, followed by a short, calm acoustic motif of Winds of Destination. The End. What an end!

Being one of those epic/awesome albums, this left an impression on me like a great film does. It’s not often that a metal album should ‘move’ me, to use the correct word, as the main reason I listen to metal is for the technical excellence rather than the sort of feelings it might invoke. Not that there’s any lack of that in this album...

I can’t guarantee that any of the songs will blow you away on first listen, but with patience you may well have a soft spot for them. You might not agree that this is the best of the best in terms of Progressive Power Metal albums, but as for albums of any genre, this stands very high. This is one of Angra's best records and the most mature so far. A masterpiece in metal terms and highly recommended for power/prog metal fans and also open-minded prog-heads!

album rating: 9/10 points = 90 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Marc Baum | 5/5 |

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