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Aghora - Formless CD (album) cover



Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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5 stars Well,one more very nice work from this group.Great songs,very good passages,great drummer and guitarplayer performance,but the famale singer is awesome,sweet and balance voice.What i can say,nothing more and wait more albums from this creative but unknow group,at most in my country (Brasil).I almost forgot,the bassplayer do a best work too,follow the others with the same thecnic.I wish very luck too this guys.
Report this review (#108985)
Posted Friday, January 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Aghora’s second studio album features a lot of changes in their line-ups, including the vocalist Danishta Rivero who replaced with Diana Serra. The vocal change is probably the most obvious ones here, because Serra has a lower voice than Rivero. Personally, I prefer Serra’s voices more because I think it fits better with the band’s music. This album is heavier than their debut, although their debut is darker. You’ll still hear a lot of jazz influences here as well as eastern music atmosphere in a few parts.

On to the tracks now, the first track, ‘Lotus’ has an eastern music feeling to it. Then ‘Atmas Heave’ kicks out straight away with some heavy riffs and drumming. After that, you’ll hear the female voice and the song become softer and bit jazzier at times, and then it alters between the heavy parts and the softer parts, great track. ‘Moksha’ continues with relatively slower tempo at the beginning. This song features some cool guitar solo and drumming. ‘Open Close the Book’ has a cool opening with the guitar works. This song is quite heavy. Lots of guitar riffs and solos as well as powerful drumming dominate most part of it. ‘Garuda’ is a short instrumental track that seems like a jam between the musicians. It starts quite slow at the beginning and turns out heavier with the guitar riffs and solos. So far, the tracks are great and quite bring up the mood to listen to the album.

Unfortunately, it’s a bit of going downhill afterwards. Not that the rest of the album is bad, but it just sounds similar each other. They don’t sound completely same to each other though, only in some parts. However, these tracks still have their own moment. For example, ‘Dime’ has some quite nice jazz metal fusion which make album atmosphere a bit lighter. The same could also be said about ‘1316’, which has some nice jazzy solo near the end of the track. Well, actually I’d say that most of the later tracks here are not too heavy like the first 4-5 tracks, which is not bad at all. It’s only that somehow you kind of lost the feeling here, like there’s something lacking somewhere. But like I said above, the other track here is also quite interesting. The 12 minutes title track is probably a good example. It has a quite nice and interesting composition, and a good balance of jazz and metal. You’ll hear heavy riffs and drumming at times, but also some jazzy solo and bass lines at another. Last but not least, ‘Purification’ is a track in a similar vein with ‘Lotus’. This is a song that close the album nicely and at least gives you a break after the previous track.

Overall, this is a good album, though there aren’t really many changes in their sound from their debut. I think this album is only slightly better than their debut due to better production, although there are some tracks here that sound far better than the ones in their debut. Again, this isn’t the album that will beg to be played over and over again. It doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy this album a lot, though. If technical metal is your thing, you’d probably like this album. 3 and a half star for me, but I think some of you would add another half star to it.

Report this review (#129753)
Posted Sunday, July 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars At the time of listening to this album me dí account of the great quality of musicians who compose this band, already in the first album demonstrates towards where it goes directed his style, with guitars that and you break rythmical huge. In this east album style consolidates and finishes being better than its predecessor. The vocal work also is important, since the feminine voice gives a different atmosphere him that helps to heighten the disc with greater quality and demonstrating a great vocal quality. But what finished making an impression it is the work of the drummer who at no moment of the disc gets tired to make drums complex, which demonstrates to the originality and creativity accompanied by a low one which not only to the drums along with is in charge to be the base, but that also shows melodías and very interesting rythm. All these elements finish demonstrating that this it is a great album. excellent.
Report this review (#130997)
Posted Tuesday, July 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars After 7 years you might expect something more brave or adventurous, but this band decided to go the same path... almost the same line. In here, Mr. Dobles opted to show a more heavy (nu-metal meets symphonyc metal) style with the new voice of DIANA SERRA. Honestly is a good record, but non-essential (as the 3 star rating)... why? well despite the intro and outro that are a more ambient oriented pieces, the rest of the record struggles with orginallity and creativity, because they have tried to hard to forget the common links to the past and to the influences; those that kept them hearing that little bell and weren't to far from the origin point. Perhaps the best song is MOSHKA, and of course, DIME that is an instrumental passage. FORMLESS is innecesarly long, to many noises and dubbed gutars creating an inexistent realm, however, songs like MAHAYANA and ATMAS HEAVE are good examples of solid direction going back to the basics. If this is the first record of AGHORA you ever heard, well, you must be impressed. To me, i have to say that they're in development stage, and need more time to really explode and shock the audience with songwriting, not blasting solos. peace.
Report this review (#141863)
Posted Wednesday, October 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good, but could have been so much more.

I got this group on various internet radio Prog Metal mixes and became addicted to the song Fade. This song included some jazzy clean guitar along with the crunch. Eastern influence are also found here and there on the album, most prominently on the intro and outro tracks which are strangely short. I was hoping for more of that ethnic feel incorporated into the music, but for the most part this is pretty straight female-fronted technical metal. In that sense it suffers from what many of these acts do, which is lack of melodic sense. Which is not to say the singer doesn't have a good voice, but the vocals seemed tacked on the top of songs that were already composed.

The technicals chops of the guitarist are quite impressive. The jazziness of the leads adds a very good flavor, and I like the leads here as much as Symphony X. The riffs are fine, though nothing outstanding, and the guitar tone is typical for genre but not my favorite. The rhythm section is solid.

Overall there are some good songs, but a sameness to the album that I've only listened all the way through once. I do have Fade on several playlists and enjoy the more exotic tracks. Also, as a guitar player, it's always cool to find a new shredder who's actually got something interesting to say.

This is filed under technical metal which is correct, but it has more in common with Symphony X than Death or Opeth.

Good, but non-essential describes it well.

Report this review (#200498)
Posted Saturday, January 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars My younger brother introduced me to Aghora. I remember a time when it used to be the other way around... Regardless, I am glad he did! Aghora, and their album Formless, are truly wonderful! Formless is one of my favorite Prog-Metal albums. It has heavy, crushing riffs, blistering double bass, and wonderful guitar solos. However, this is no standard metal album. Virtually every song has several musical interludes featuring clean, jazzy guitar, melodic solos, and very jazz inspired drumming. Then it shifts back to it's crushing riffs, double bass drumming, and metal solo's.

Santiago Dobles lays down some amazing riffs, some of my favorite ones of ANY metal band. However, he shows his ability for melody and technicality, and it often sounds beautiful. Diana Serra on vocals is just amazing. Her voice is simply beautiful, and very soothing. While it fits perfectly for the slower, melodic sections it sounds just as good over the metal riffs as well. As a drummer, I always appreciate an album with great drumming, and this one sure has it! Sean Reinert, (formerly from Death, and Cynic) is brilliant. While he can lay down some good double bass, he has some superb jazz beats, solos, and overall...he just lays down some great sounding beats. My favorite aspect of the album for sure!

The first and last tracks, (Lotus and Purification) are very Eastern/Tribal sounding. Perhaps the way to describe it is "World Music". My personal favorite songs are Atmas Heave and Dime, (an instrumental). 1316 has an especially heavy beginning, while Moksha has a wonderful heavy, yet groovy, riff through most of the song. Open Close the Book has a great phaser/trippy intro before it plunges into the riff.

However, few albums are perfect. While every songs sounds good, none really standout. That is this album's only flaw in my opinion. All the songs do sound a bit the same, and can be predictable. While they all do sound nice, and of course each song is different, they all have a pattern. Heavy riff, followed by melodic section, then another heavy section, followed by another melodic one, (often with a metal solo). While it is the albums only problem, it is a major one. Again, I love the way it all sounds, but it is quite predictable...

Overall, I give this album 4 stars. If you are a fan of Prog-Metal, (or even Metal in general) I highly recommend this CD.

Report this review (#213720)
Posted Monday, May 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars AGHORA are a very talented band based in Miami, Florida. Some big changes in the lineup since their debut. Sean Malone is gone which hurts, we get a new vocalsist Diana Serra who's excellent to say the least, and a new drummer although Sean Reinert drums on about half of the tracks still.

"Lotus" is very exotic sounding and is dedicated to John McLaughlin. "Atmas Heave" opens with the pedal to the metal right off the hop. Deep riffs follow and crisp drumming before the vocals come in. I must say the guitar work often reminds me of Jasun Tipton from ZERO HOUR. It settles before 2 minutes and sounds amazing. It doesn't last long though as contrasts continue. "Moksha" sounds great to open before it settles as the vocals arrive. Contrasts continue. The crunchy guitar sounds outstanding on this one. "Open Close The Book" doesn't do anything for me lyrically that's for sure but it opens with thunderous drums but settles when vocals come in. Yes this contrast of styles continues. "Garuda" opens with laid back guitar as drums and percussion come in. The tempo starts to pick up. Here we go ! An all out assault with blistering guitar leads. Nice. "Dual Alchemy" is aggressive right from the start but settles with vocals rather quickly as contrasts continue. Love the atmosphere that comes in at 3 minutes. Killer guitar follows.

"Dime" is a tribute to Dimebag Darrell and it's an instrumental. It's heavy to open then it calms down as contrasts continue. "1316" is intense with vocals. It settles before 2 minutes. It's intense again ! "Fade" is a top three track for me. Some guest flamenco guitar to open as bass comes in. This is all fairly mellow as reserved vocals come in. It kicks in around a minute but not for long. Check out the guitar before 2 minutes grinding away as Diana sings. Nice bass before 4 minutes. "Skinned" is uptempo with vocals. I like when it settles down before 1 1/2 minutes. Contrasts continue. Great guitar 5 minutes in. "Mahayana" opens fast and heavy. Some prominant bass before 2 minutes. Again the heavy and lighter sections are contrasted. "Formless" is my favourite by far. Vocals and heavy riffs right away before it settles 3 minutes in. Amazing section. I like when the guitar comes in at 4 minutes and it builds. It kicks back in with Tipton-like guitar. Great sound 7 1/2 minutes in. "Purification" is another exotic sounding track like the opening song. This one has vocals though.

My biggest complaint is the way the songs all seem to follow the same pattern. As I was writing notes I found myself repeating the same things over and over. This has really grown on me though but it's not quite 4 stars.

Report this review (#220349)
Posted Monday, June 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I ask myself why sometimes the conaisseurs in prog are so pretentious?!?!Why?!?!This album has everything to be considered a brilliant album in prog metal.offering something quite unusual-a sensational female vocalist,the superbe DIANA SERRA which is simply astonishing!If we think that an album of 70 minutes of pure guitar wizzardry and not only,doesn't has any minute of poor music,and some prog fans are dissatisfied,musically speaking,of course,so what else can be sayed?The beautiful introduction LOTUS is amazingly fallowed by the furious instrumental cascade of ferocious riffs of ATMAS HEAVE and the angelic vocals of DIANA proves that SANTIAGO DOBLES is back with a vengeance!The rhythm section by Mr SEAN REINERTon the drumms ,proving on this album that he is absolutelly brilliant and ALAN GOLDSTEIN on bass-a true revelation, is very efficient and spectacular.The too long wait for this second AGHORA full album worthed it plenty!We are enchanted with 70 minutes of sensational compositions rich in wonderful ideas and performed by such talented musicians!Unbelieveble effort to deliver such complex,complicated and sophisticated music.To be honest,each solo of Santiago Dobles is mindblowing and undoubtedly he is one of the most spectacular guitar players in today's music!He has a frantic and ferocioiuus technique and proves that aggressive prog metal needs great solos in a complex song to make the composition even more valuable and memorable!!!The title song is a revelation and gave the whole measure of the huge talent of this very,very promissing band!!!Stay tuned for 2010!Mr Dobles has many surprises for AGHORA fans and not only!!!Almost a masterpiece this album!MEMORABLE!!! 4,5 STARS from all my heart and mind of prog metal fan!!!
Report this review (#252529)
Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album caught me by surprise. Having never listened to this band before, and extreme progressive-metal generally residing on the outskirts of my musical territory, I was immediately captivated by this release. From the exotic opening notes of "Lotus", which kind of sets the table for the middle-eastern influenced display of technical prowess that is to follow. In my opinion, the only weak track on the whole album is the second one, "Atmas Heave", which isn't really bad, just overshadowed by the towering achievements that make up the rest of the CD. I usually associate female vocalists with power/symphonic metal and, since those genre's usually don't make a big impression on me, I wasn't sure how this would go over. Her name is Diana Serra and she is terrific! Her flowing, almost mystical vocal style perfectly compliments the softer passages and also has the power to hold her own over the fury of Santiago Dobles's knife edge attack. Speaking of Dobles, his lead breaks, which punctuate each song, sometimes multiple times, are blistering! This guy pulls off each solo with speed and precision, and its not just a bunch of notes thrown together.....the composition of the break captivates the listener, showcasing a beautiful sense of melody within the context of the musical theme. As I mentioned before, the quieter segments appear frequently in each track and they stand out as some of the most interesting listening moments. The arrangements are top-notch, displaying a tremendous understanding of what it takes to keep the listener engaged. Just because I haven't mentioned the bass player or drummer yet, doesn't mean these guys don't know what they're doing, Both present spectacular technique thoughout. As I've said before, almost all the tracks shine, but one in particular just floored me........"Dual Alchemy". If you can find a way to sample just this one track, that should do it for you. Or you could just take my word for it and simply buy this outright. One of the best releases of 2006, hands down!!!!!!!!
Report this review (#276048)
Posted Saturday, April 3, 2010 | Review Permalink

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