Angra - Rebirth


Year of Release: 2001
Label: SPV
Catalog Number: SPV 085 7278A
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:41:00

When it was announced that Angra had split, the news was startling. Here was a premier progressive metal band, from a country outside of Europe -- namely Brazil -- with their star on an steep upward arc, even if the reaction to Fireworks wasn't with the same furvor that people were reacting to, say, Holy Land. When the news came that Angra hadn't totally gone the way of the dodo, but that a two-fifths of the band had survived - guitarists Kiko Loureiro and Rafeal Bittencourt -- things shot off into the direction of great speculation. Who would replace the angelic voiced frontman André Matos, bassist Luis Mariutti, and drummer Ricardo Confessori? The answer came, relatively speaking, rather swiftly, even if official confirmation was a little out of phase with the news. Eduardo Falaschi came on board as vocalist -- and his voice is compatible to that of Matos, but he is short of being a clone --, Felipe Andreoli came on as bassist and Aquiles Priester took over behind the drum kit.

So, 2001 came and with it the release of Rebirth. An aptly titled CD to be sure, and the result is a slighty different Angra - aside from the line up change. And maybe a little bit more "ordinary" Angra. Don't get me wrong, Rebirth is a terrific release, one that does nothing to spoil their reputation as a solid band. But, whereas before there was this unique "Angra" quality, that little bit extra is gone -- and I can't say which of the departed members it can be attributed to, other than to say that Falaschi has a singing voice that is very much the norm for this genre. What I mean is that their sound is much like others in the progressive metal genre, and it seems more so now than it did before. Of course, we are still comparing them to the cream of the crop of the genre, so they are still in lofty company. Symphony X, Jag Panzer, Vanden Plas, Royal Hunt, Dream Theater, and Blind Guardian are the artists that come to mind - and maybe because they are the those that I am the most familiar with. Oh yes, I should note that the keyboards and pianos are played by Vanden Plas' Günter Werno, and yet that is not why I thought of Vanden Plas, at least not consciously. I have to admit that more than one track sounds a bit like "Metal Icarus" (and, in fact, until I looked at the lyrics for "Nova Era" I thought Falaschi was making a reference to Icarus -- the words were "angels will arise"). But, that song makes a for a good comparison as the album has that same level of energy almost throughout. Angra did not shy away from making a strong "we're back" statement. This is an album that reaches out and grabs you. Nice melodies (musical and vocal), great guitar solos, great keyboards (though a bit weirdly placed at times in "Running Alone"), powerful drumming, bass, and great vocals. History aside, Angra would be receiving the same kind of buzz that they are. As I said, the change hasn't changed the level of musicianship and the quality of the music that the band produces, just some of the sounds and colours with which it's painted.

There are exceptions to the metallic assault - the acoustic, arpreggioed, balladic opening of "Rebirth," for example. Or the classical and classy "Visions Prelude." I think there's a reason why "Visions Prelude" sounds to me like a Billy Joel piece - I think both Angra (and L and K, specificially) and Joel have adapted the same piece to their own end, that being Chopin's "Op. 24 Prelude In C Minor." Oh sure, there's a piano here and Joel plays a piano, but interestingly, Falaschi even sounds a bit like Joel, and I mean just tweensy little bit ... and, as I say in another review, it may be something picked up only by someone who has listened to Joel a lot ... One will also think similar things of a track that precedes it by some measure, that is "Millennium Sun," which after this piano and vocal opening, their true metal nature kicks in.

Priester is, like Confessori, a rather dynamic drummer -- he gets to strut a little stuff during the instrumental break of "Acid Rain," for example. And he isn't a drummer too in love with the thunder of double-bassing, but I do hear a preponderance of it used throughout. This kicks you into heartpounding gear when "Nova Era" begins, there being a calm tease with "In Excelsis" opening the album ... "Heroes Of Sand" is another highlight... the 80s power metal like "Unholy Wars"... There are just so many solid tracks here... "Running Alone" might be a bit overlong, and Werno's keys seem out of place and superfluous, as the track has enough drive with Priester's drumming and Andreoli's pounding bass.

Thematically, the lyrics are one part about the "coming apocalypse" -- not so much religious in nature but more ecological ("Acid Rain") and societal, which, in this case, does come back to religion as being the foundation for many of our species conflicts. Of course, when you sing of angels (twice, "Nova Era" and "Running Alone"), "Judgement Day," and even "Rebirth" a religious subtext isn't far behind. Though, also of course, "Nova Era" and "Rebirth" are statements to fans and critics alike -- Angra are still here and with a fresh outlook.

Angra's status as one of the premier progressive metal bands is intact, their star is still ascending, and Rebirth is welcome return and continuation. Highly recommended.


Tracklisting:
In Excelsis (1:05) / Nova Era (4:52) / Millennium Sun (5:09) / Acid Rain (6:09) / Heroes Of Sand (4:37) / Unholy Wars: Part I: Imperial Crown - Part II: Forgiven Return (8:13) / Rebirth (5:15) / Judgement Day (5:37) / Running Alone (7:12) / Visions Prelude (4:31)

Musicians:
Eduardo Falaschi - vocals
Kiko Loureiro - guitars
Rafael Bittencourt - guitars
Felipe Andreoli - bass
Aquiles Priester - drums

Discography:
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: August 25th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website: www.angra.net
Hits: 1261
Language: english

  

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