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Angra - Holy Land CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.08 | 209 ratings

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4 stars I knew this band very late after they produced many albums. To be precise, I only knew them when they released "Rebirth" album. At the same time I heard another band SHAMAN that was formed by Angra's previous lead singer Andre Matos. I loved those two albums. I did not really explore much about this band until I got their live video "Rebirth Tour" and also latest album "Temple of Shadows" - an excellent album. I was then in an intense correspondence with my prog mate, Marc, from the US. I was kind like reminded by him through his email saying that "Holy Land" is one of his favorite album (top 10?). I was surprised with this fact as I knew that Marc is about at the same age with me and my perception about Angra was that its music would favor younger generation only. At least, I knew this band from my metal mates down here in my country. They are much younger than me.

Phew .finally, with extended hands from my friend down here, David the metal man who proudly watched NAPALM DEATH live in Jakarta this weekend, I got this album on loan basis from him last week. And, I don't want to miss this opportunity to finally enjoy track by track offered by this band. My first reaction at first spin? It blew me away man ..!! Well, at least the powerful vocal quality of Andre Matos and speedy and skillful guitar play by Kiko have made me amazed with this album. Also, this one offers many styles and relatively complex structure with great orchestrations while maintaining their roots in power metal vein. I think, this album deserves detail review. [Am sure you don't have time to read this long review, better you skip it and GET THE CD! Highly Recommended!]

The album opens with bird sounds, heavy rains with some chanting in Crossing (1:55) that sets the pace of the album wonderfully. Heavy guitar riffs, bass lines and drumming suddenly enters the music that remarks the start of Nothing To Say (6:20). Nice orchestrations give more texture to the music just before the vocal line enters the music. It's clear now, how powerful Andre Matos' voice. He brings the music in power metal vein with catchy melodies, excellent riffs and frequent tempo changes. Guitar solos are stunning - especially when they are combined with great orchestration. I love the ending part where all instruments play together with orchestration at the back with fast tempo rhythm section. It's an excellent track! [**** ].

Silence and Distance (5:34) opens with voice line accompanied with piano sounds in mellow style. Light orchestra fills in the music at the back to enrich the music. Drums and guitars enter the music with bass lines and brass section that bring the vocal into higher register notes in medium tempo style. In some segments, there are great combination of piano, music riffs and orchestra. Right after first guitar solo, the music enters into a nice harmony produced by orchestra and brass section in power metal style. The music ends with vocal and piano work with the same style as opening part. [****]

Carolina IV (10:33) starts with a sort of latin music dominated by percussion and vocals. It reminds me to "The Acid Rain" of Rebirth album. Well, I think the latter was heavily influenced by this track as this one was released earlier. The music turns into different style with increasing vocal and continuous music in medium tempo. It then returns back to opening music style. At approx min [2:40] the music turns differently, moves into speed metal music with very fast tempo and high register notes in vocal line. The orchestra plays important role to accentuate the song. This song offers various styles and forms with frequent tempo changes. It qualifies being a truly prog tune if we look at these dimensions. I have to admit that at first I got trouble in digesting the music of this tune. [**** ].

Holy Land (6:26) starts uniquely with funny vocal line and piano work augmented with percussion. The music then flows in medium tempo style with increasing vocal and accentuated with woodwind-like sound. Piano still maintains its happy mood play followed with great orchestra. Melody-wise this song is a bit awkward at first listen but it would grow firmly after couple of spins more. The ending part with oboe-like sound and happy mood music rhythm section is really good. [****].

The Shaman (5:23). Has this track inspired the formation of Andre Matos' band in the future to come? I really don't know. What I know for sure, this track starts WONDERFULLY with a great orchestration followed with high register notes vocals laid on top of musical riffs. Orchestration helps accentuate the music textures of this song. Brass section is used and mixed thinly at the back during some transition pieces. In the middle of the track there is an interlude in quieter passage with excellent percussion and some dialogue in non English language. It's a great interlude, I would say! Especially when guitar solo is performed with orchestration at the back. [**** ].

Make Believe (5:51) opens with marching drum sounds combined with piano. The vocal enters in slow tempo style while drums and piano maintain its style. The music turns louder as commanded by the vocal that moves into higher register notes, augmented with orchestra. It returns back to original tempo but using drums as beat keeper. The music flows nicely with vocal line and orchestration (nice one!). [****]

Z.I.T.O (6:09) is a power metal music - fast tempo and very technical - with great orchestra and excellent vocals. It has great interlude part with an exploration of piano work, orchestration followed with stunning guitar solo. This track amazes me with its hard driving rhythm section and speedy guitar solo, altogether performed in excellent harmony. [**** ]

The next tracks are slow tempo tracks. Deep Blue (5:47) kicks off with ambient organ sound thinly mixed, featuring great voice in mellow style, high register notes. Very nice track with catchy melody. [****]. Lullaby For Lucifer starts with beach soundscape followed with nice acoustic guitar fills that feature pure and transparent vice of Andre Matos. Really good melody. [**** ].


Having gone through track-by-track review, I finally understand why many friends of mine praise this album highly. My overall rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars that potentially would grow into five stars rating in the future. Highly recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!!!

Progressively yours,


Gatot | 4/5 |


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