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ANGELS AND SHADOWS

Menahem

Progressive Metal


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Menahem Angels And Shadows album cover
4.00 | 4 ratings | 1 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing


1. Intro (0:32)
2. Angels And Shadows (5:49)
3. Escape (5:03)
4. New Chance (5:14)
5. Promise (6:49)
6. Prison Without Walls (5:02)
7. Freedom (6:38)
8. Ocean Of Tears (6:01)
9. Trip Beyond The Mind (6:11)
10. Creed (2:33)
11. Your Pain (5:29)
12. Suicidal Trend (7:27)

Total Time 62:41


Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


- Lucas Marc / Guitars
- Lean Van Ranna / Vocals
- Murilo Marc / Drums
- Jessé Aires / Guitars
- Israel Scates / Bass
- Guilherme Oliveira / Keybords


Releases information

Full-length, Independently released on the 30th of April 2008

Thanks to UMUR for the addition
and to AtomicCrimsonRush for the last updates
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MENAHEM Angels And Shadows ratings distribution


4.00
(4 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
0%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(100%)
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Good, but non-essential (0%)
0%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
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MENAHEM Angels And Shadows reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars Godly prog metal piercing the darkness with incredible musicianship!

Menahem are a prog metal band from Brazil that have a similar style to Pain Of Salvation, Riverside and especially Dream Theater. The vocal talents of Van Ranna are akin to Ronnie James Dio; he does not resort to the caustic gravel tones of so many extreme metal acts churning out of the metal machine of recent years. Instead we get a selection of songs with heartfelt lyrics and emotion that is quite surprising. Another disarming aspect of the group is that they are full on Christians, evidenced by the thought provoking Christian lyrics that are based on devoting a life to Jesus and the trials that we all experience, from suicide to redemption, and how to overcome these tribulations. I noticed live they like to boldly yell things out to their audience such as "Satan is a liar!" There may be a section of prog addicts who will be turned away by this revelation, but that would be a great shame as the band are fantastic musicians and the lyrics enhance the sound rather than detract from it. My feeling is that the Christian content makes for a welcome relief to the plethora of dark prog that is emerging these days.

As for the musicianship it is quite extraordinary, particularly the way that Marc and Aires' guitars duel in extended lead breaks using inventive time signatures that switch from fast to slow with technical precision; the drums by Murilo Marc are well executed and he leads from the front with powerful beats and cymbal crashes, a true virtuoso drummer and a lot of these tracks can be seen on youtube with just Marc drumming along to the tracks and one must admit that his skill is on a par with Bruford or Portnoy. This debut album is a follow up to their three track CD demo, with Brazillian language tracks, released in 2005, and their Promo CD released in 2008 with three tracks that are all featured on 'Angels and Shadows'.

The album begins with 'Angels and Shadows' that kicks things off with a brutal riff backed by a fabulous keyboard motif from Oliviera. The bass of Scates motorvates along and then Van Ranna's powerful vocals present the message of hope: 'Angels and Shadows fight in the skies, Light and darkness show their power, The King will return in the end.' There are definite influences of James La Brie and it is indeed exceptional metal vocals. The riffs chug along at strange tempos, missing rhythmic beats and juxtaposing unusual time changes integrated to form some very dynamic prog metal riffs. The lead break is a showcase of string bending and hammering with speed picking, fret melting metal. The track slows down to give room for some accomplished guitar screams firing off harmonics off the scale.

'Escape' features another very choppy riff and some strong verses. The drums by Marc are a real feature on this with tricky fills and heavy bashing on timpani and lightning fast double kicks. The lyrics involve escaping from the destructive chaos of the world: 'I live in a world of illusions looking for a way out, Wars, death, destruction is what I feel inside of me, I feel the fear attacking my soul, Agony dominates me, I am standing still with fear of death, The time goes away, Taking away my breath of life.' A strong rocking track with a superb instrumental break showcasing the skill of the musicians.

'New Chance' is a melodic metal track with an infectious chorus about starting again from scratch after waking from a nightmare. The opening riff is quite pretty, the piano accompanies the motif. The chorus cries out from the depths: 'Wake up from this nightmare, See the sun shining in the horizon, Don't listen to the echo of your past, Get the chance to start again'. I really like the lead break with squeals and arpeggio licks, whammy bar stretches and intricate picking. The bell tolls as a brutal riff crunches heralding the beginning of a new lease in life. Van Ranna screeches a bit at the end, and then the opening riff chimes in again. It ends with disturbing screaming voices who are apparently calling out from hell. Another highlight of the album.

'Promise' is all about the end times and how Jesus will return to take back those who believe to reign eternal with Him as the lyrics profess: 'The shadows don't let you see, They take away the certainty of what will happen, Hiding the announced words, Hiding the prophecy and the return of the king.' The riff on this is slow with heavy distorted power chords, the drums blaze away in a free form style and the keyboard is ferociously trying to keep up. A cool rocker that builds speed and rips along at a roaring pace. 'Prisons Without Walls' spreads a strong message about how to escape the prison of being without hope: 'How does it feel stuck inside your mind? And being stuck in a prison without walls? You sleep tormented by your secret feelings, Hope goes away, with every dusk.' Once again the music seems to enhance the message of discovering a way out of despair as the guitars lift the mood and the bass is relentlessly keeping rhythm. Marc's drumming is like the sound of heralding a battle with militaristic drum rolls and timpani flourishes. A majestic sound is created throughout; a triumphant optimistic atmosphere.

'Freedom' continues the trend with melodic vocals and some inspired power metal with intricate fills. The message is as strong as the other tracks: 'Evil and fear follow you, doubt is rising again, Your mind is totally shut, You need to be free.'

'Ocean of Tears' begins with sounds of the waves crashing and a lulling acoustic melody. There is a flute sound hovering over the top and a melancholy sound is created. Ambient and uplifting lyrics contain some heartfelt content: 'God show me the path, If you are, give me one more chance, God show me the path, If you are, forgive me.' The time sig is still very much broken into odd meters but this is more accessible to the average listener. A lovely lead break using wah wah pedals and whammy bar resounds. The piano plays fortissimo scales and vibrant hooks while a heavy slow distorted guitar crashes in at the end verse.

'Trip Beyond The Mind' is a brilliant track and was the one that introduced me to Menahem, after hearing it on prog radio, and I am so glad I made the effort to check the band out further. The third track absolutely kicks with amazing riffs that break and chug into intricate melodies. Once again the lyrics are about knowing God and following him, based on Revelation, the second coming of Christ: 'But now I can hear, The sound of the trumpet, It is Your voice that I go after, They can even try to hold me, I can fly with the angels, I know that my destiny is in the hands of God'. The riff continues to crunch along with some odd timing that surprises the ear. There is an excellent half time feel at 2:53 where Marc's double kick drums pummel and a slow riff merges into a Dream Theaterish hammering riff. The wah wah lead guitar trades off masterfully with the keyboard wizardry of Oliveira. Marc and Aires duel guitar lead solos are freakish and this continues for a while until an energetic strange little riff blazes forth and then we return to the original riff. It is all killer, no filler with virtuoso playing and metronome swinging riffs. Awesome!

The slowest track on the album is 'Creed' and it is really a worship song in the same vein as what Neal Morse plays on his solo albums where he dedicates his life to Jesus. Perhaps this is as blatant as the band gets lyrically: 'I believe in God, the Father, Creator of heaven and earth, I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, Birthing of a Virgin, Was crucified, and died On the third Day He rose again, He ascended to heaven, And is seated at the right Father's hand.' The whole thing is based on Biblical scripture, and there is nothing wrong with that when you consider how much satanic bands promote their message of death and destruction; here we have the light side of metal without apology. As for the music, this is quiet, melancholy soft metal with some exquisite guitar breaks.

'Your Pain' is a slow tempo intricate track with some atmospheric keyboard breaks and a very odd drumming metrical pattern. The lyrics are once again directed to Christians, and in this case to Jesus Himself: 'In the day of your pain, When the veil was torn, Death consumed you, But on the third day you rose again.' The star on this track is Oliveira on those electric piano arpeggios, tinkling up and down the keys as a lead guitar grinds out the melody. Van Ranna screams at the end of this with high octave range and then a lengthy instrumental break takes the track to its conclusion. Simply wonderful musicianship.

'Suicidal Trend' has very strong lyrics about a man with suicidal tendencies who is about to put a bullet in his skull when he hears the voice of Jesus calling Him and sees the figure in white: 'I feel the cold dominating me, The blood boils in my veins, time passes by in one second, I point the weapon to my own head, I wish I could see the sun once more, wake up with no pain in my soul, feel the wind touching me, find a reason to live.' The reason to live is turning to Christ and finding the reason to live. The message is that there is hope found in Jesus, and hopefully this song will cause listeners to think twice before the ultimate end.

The musical interchanges of light and dark are compelling. The main riff is a choppy angular tricky cruncher with almost Eastern keyboards complimenting it. A phased vocoder effect changes the second section and the mood gets darker as the man attempts suicide. Very fast little keyboard and twin guitar riffs chop and change throughout the instrumental, dynamically dueling against each another. This track has some of the most complex time signature shifts and there are very intricate multi chord speed licks. The band are absolutely compelling when they are in full flight. The track changes to a slower pace to end on the final verse where the man changes his mind and chooses life over death. Another excellent track worth listening to as an example of this fine band, no doubt.

In conclusion, it is a pleasure to discover how great this band can play and the message of hope is so refreshing. I give kudos for the Christian content that I always welcome as it is so rare these days to get a good Christian band with decent musicianship. Neal Morse is an exception but there are few with this type of talent; full blown prog with a Christian message. Of course you don't need to be a believer to get into this as Menaham are highly skilled virtuosos along the lines of Dream Theater and their sound is rich with creativity and innovation. I give 4.5 stars for a stunning debut and hopefully Menahem will present more great music on future albums.

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Posted Friday, April 23, 2010

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