Angra - Fireworks

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Century Media
Catalog Number: 7969-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 62:38:00

The words that come instantly to mind as I keep playing this excellent disk are beautiful, stellar, spectacular?definitely at the top of my list for the best of the year. Angra are an extraordinary progressive metal band and should not be overlooked by anyone. I actually bought Fireworks a month or so ago, but am only now giving it the listen it truly deserves.

As I was playing this, having been hooked by Holy Land, I was struck by these two things concerning Andre Matos as a vocalist - at times he sounds like James LaBrie, which is to be expected nowadays (I suppose), or Geoff Tate. But, also there were times when I thought of Paul Wrightson (ex-Arena) and the decidedly unprogressive The Knack. This latter was rare, and mostly in the first track "Wings Of Desire."

Anyway, that shared, I have to tell you that Angra are one of the few progressive metal bands that are really exciting me (one of the others is Vanden Plas). Fireworks is a really great album that isn't so overtly metal that neo-proggers couldn't also get into it (Arena fans especially), but the prog rock elements aren't so much that prog metal fans will be dissuaded.

Matos' vocal style is "smooth" - and he really does have a great voice that hits those notes that LaBrie often flattens. He can hit high notes, but you aren't left wincing, because they are never shrill. His voice is warm and inviting.

Both Rafael Bittencourt and Kiko Loureiro have to be two of the most dynamic guitarists I've heard ? true, clear notes ring out no matter at what speed they're played. You can hear Ricardo Confessori's full drum kit here, too?the cymbals might be a bit too up in the mix at times, but the drumming is never rote or mere banging for the sake of noise. Confessori impressed me as a drummer on Holy Land and this just further proves the case. At the bottom end, Luis Mariutti's bass provides an excellent contrast to Matos' vocals, giving this album a full and rich sound. And then the keys provide that extra accent along with orchestrations ? this makes the sound even fuller, richer ?excellent.

To pick out highlight tracks is difficult since this is solid material throughout. The chorus to "Petrified Eyes" gives me a little problem ? just from a semantics point of view, as I just can't quite get my mind around the image of "petrified eyes" though I get what he's getting at. There comes a time when we've had seen more than enough that we just can bear to look anymore?or least that's one reading of the song (in a nutshell).

"Mystery Machine" is a combination of Iron Maiden and Queensryche with Angra's own unique take ? if there is any criticism to leveled at Angra, it will come from those who like crunchy, dark metal. This is metal that is bright, that shines. There are those memorable choruses that Maiden employed, surely, but I also think of Journey and Rush? not just here on "Machine," but here and there throughout. This isn't saying they are clones, but their easy style of metal isn't too "hard" for radio.

"Metal Icarus" stands out, if only for the chorus (but not only for the chorus), the title track, and "Gentle Change" ? there are just so much that is good and right about this disk. It isn't a full blown concept disc like Holy Land and that's okay, it is epic in its own right.

This is a classy album and belongs not just in every prog metal lover's collection, but every music lover's collection.

Wings Of Reality (5:54) / Petrified Eyes (6:04) / Lisbon (5:12) / Metal Icarus (6:23) / Paradise (7:57) / Mystery Machine (4:10) / Fireworks (6:19) / Extreme Dream (4:15) / Gentle Change (5:35) / Speed (5:55) / Rainy Nights (5:05)

André Matos - vocals
Luis Mariutti - bass
Ricardo Confessori - drums
Rafael Bittencourt - guitars
Kiko Loureiro - guitars

Reaching Horizons (1992) (Demo-Tape)
Angels Cry (1993)
Holy Land (1996)
Freedom Call (ep) (1996)
Holy Live (ep) (1997)
Fireworks (1998)
Rebirth (2001)
Hunters And Prey (ep) (2002)
Rebirth World Tour - Live in Sáo Paulo (2002)
Temple Of Shadows (2004)
Aurora Consurgens (2006)
Aqua (2010)
Best Reached Horizons (2012)
Angels Cry - 20th Anniversary Tour (2013)
Secret Garden (2014)

Rebirth World Tour - Live in Sáo Paulo (DVD) (2003)
Angels Cry - 20th Anniversary Tour (2013)

Genre: Progressive/Power Metal

Origin BR

Added: December 13th 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1654
Language: english


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