Shaman - Ritual

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Lucretia Records
Catalog Number: LU20022-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:37:00

Angra fans were probably deeply hurt by the departure of Andre Matos from the band after releasing the less-than-well-received Fireworks and surely thought the end of the band was imminent. While a couple of members stayed behind and re-formed Angra with a new singer and released Rebirth, Andre Matos took some of the former members and formed Shaman, who have released Ritual, giving Matos fans something to sink their ears into if they have missing the former voice of Angra. Most writings about Shaman definitely give that the disc has much akin to Angra's Holy Land and rightly so. Given the vocalist, and given the past history of Matos' writing, it's only natural that Ritual might sound a bit like Holy Land, although I'd say that HL was just a bit more progressive in nature than Ritual. But progressive metal fans will not be disappointed in this category at all.

As it is, you still get the wonderful vocal pyrotechnics that Matos is famous for, you get the classy songwriting he contributed, and you get a cultural theme as well (here on Shaman it's an Indian theme). You also get incredible performances by the band, the superb production Matos is known for (bringing the great Sascha Paeth on board as well), and well thought out songs to match. So basically, it's safe to say that if you are an Angra fan or a Matos fan, there is no reason why this disc shouldn't satisfy you.

The music is varied, not as overly progressive as Holy Land, but it does have its moments of progressive elements found throughout the disc, ranging from the speedy tunes to the more "choppy" tunes, with speed variations thrown in everywhere. In addition, the Indian influences such as the sound effects, flutes, opening intro, drums, etc., add a great cultural feeling to the disc. Try to imagine what the Middle Eastern-influenced sound of the last Avalon disc (Eurasia) did for that band, and you have a good idea of what the Indian sound will do for Shaman. The guitar sound is chunky, and the drum sound is huge, giving this sound a very dramatic flair. The Andre Matos flavored keyboards add the melodies and set the tone for some of the songs, and his love for orchestrated sounds is well known and present here as well. Each song tells its own story, and you almost "hear" the story being told through the music rather than through the lyrics.

Andre Matos is in his finest form as usual, with an added extra aggressiveness for a bonus for those who found his voice too laid back and light on his previous outings. Here he shows that he can be as powerful and aggressive as he wants to be ? and on occasion he still shows that incredible range he is known for.

The production is phenomenal, as is most Sascha Paeth recordings. The sound is very dry, but still comes across in a huge way as each instrument has been given a thick wall of sound, especially the drums that sound extra thick, pummeling, and clean. The vocals are also incredibly produced, with Matos practically standing in your living room as he belts out each song. The guitars are chunky, clean, and carry the thunderous sound along with them. Of note are the soft intros using acoustic guitars, keyboards, choirs, and various Indian instruments.

If you are missing Angra or Andre Matos in your life, Shaman will not disappoint inn either case. While sounding like it could be the next Angra disc, Shaman can still stand on its own with its cultural themes, fantastic songwriting and playing, and has the great Andre Matos out front doing what he does best. Throw in the superb production, some spiritual lyrics, and Shaman is just what the doctor ordered for something different and wonderful. Highly recommended.

Ancient Winds (3:16) / Here I Am (5:56) / Distant Thunder (6:22) / For Tomorrow (6:47) / Time Will Come (5:32) / Over Your Head (6:37) / Fairy Tale (6:56) / Blind Spell (4:34) / Ritual (6:37) / Pride (4:11)

Andre Matos - vocals, keyboards
Hugo Mariutti - guitars
Luis Mariutti - bass
Ricardo Confessori - drums


Fabio Ribeiro - keyboards Tobias Sammet - vocals (10)
Derek Sherinian - keyboards
Sascha Paeth - guitars (10)
Miro - keyboards
Marcus Vianna - violin (6)

The Ritual (2002)
RituAlive (2003)
Reason (2005)
Immortal (2007)

RituAlive (DVD) (2003)
Anime Alive 2008 (DVD) (2008)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin BR

Added: January 12th 2003
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

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Language: english


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