ANGRA: the main Brazilian rock / metal website about Aqua

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One of the most important Brazilian rock and metal webzines Whiplash came up with the album review. Here you can check the most significant parts of the journalist’s impressions. The original review in Portuguese is available here: http://whiplash.net/materias/cds/113282-angra.html

The CD review was done after a pre-listening party and firstly musicians of Angra clarified the new album’s details:

“With this CD we intentionally returned and re-forced the use of ethnic elements, since Ricardo came back and this is a natural thing for his sound, with Angra or without”, explained guitarist Rafael Bittencourt. “But this is also an organic thing which always exists inside us and in our sound”.

Besides the ethnic sound “Aqua” has the unique conception like it has happened with all the previous CDs since “Rebirth”. In case of “Aqua” The Tempest, the very last play of William Shakespeare has been chosen as the album idea. (…)

Speaking about the team work, the vocalist Edu Falaschi expressed the opinion of everyone that after almost ten years since “Rebirth” it has been improving every day more and more. “Every time we understand each other better and better. We already know what to do with the arrangements, which stuff fits the whole thing and which stuff doesn’t”, confirmed the bassist Felipe Andreoli. (…)

Although a big part of the fans were afraid that the participation of the members in various side projects such as Almah, Bittencourt Project, Freakeys, Karma and others would mean the end of the band, the musicians disagree. According to them, this type of activities just helps them to get the new experience and the new sound for Angra, their main activity. “We are not only Angra’s members. We are musicians. Our friends are musicians as well. We are the persons who enjoy playing music. It’s not only work for us, but also is a hobby. And for us, to play also means to stay with friends, with people we like. When I don’t play in Angra, I do it with Kiko, Rafael, Edu and others”, explains Felipe. (…)

Angra admits that still there are questions of the fans and the media about the previous line-up of the band with Andre Matos as a frontman, but they don’t consider it as a negative thing. “There will always be the memory about the old line-up, but we are not going to pretend that this part of the history of the band has never existed”, – tells Edu, the eternal target of comparisons with Andre Matos. In his opinion such examples when the fans were divided between two frontmen like it happened in case of Ozzy x Dio (Black Sabbath) or David Lee Roth x Sammy Hagar (Van Halen) just prove the fact that every period is no less important than the other. And one vocalist doesn’t overshadow the talent of another. “A vocalist characterizes a band quite a lot, there’s no other way”, – tells Rafael. “This is a part of our history, we can’t forget it”. Felipe agrees: “You see, we always play old songs and we don’t have any intention to take it out from our set-list. It’s our history and it’s a good history”. (…)

CD REVIEW

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So, let’s talk about what’s really important, the music. The band has chosen “Arising Thunder” as the first single and as the first album’s track, but as one listens on, with the third song “Awake from Darkness” it already becomes clear, that the first impression was not so true. Don’t understand me wrong, “Arising Thunder” is a great song, it rocks, it is really exciting! But it’s a quite typical speed / metal melodic piece with double bass and wild heavy guitar riffs. “Awake from Darkness” makes it clear that “Arising Thunder” doesn’t come close to representing the rest of “Aqua”. The 3rd song begins with the long-awaited comeback of Brazilian ethnic elements, with the percussion’s rhythms, thanks to Ricardo, the guru of this subject. Having the bass guitar parts by Felipe which make it heavier and the guitar hooks by Kiko and Rafael, right in the middle the song surprises with the interlude of piano and violin. “The Rage of the Waters” brings the same feeling, mixing elements of northwestern music (from the Nord-East of Brazil, mainly, the states Bahia and Pernambuco, the center of traditional afro-brazilian rhythms) with typical heavy metal base. Then the game changes. After the intro with some technological effects, “Hollow” brings this classical and nervous thrash metal riff. At least, one Angra song on every CD is like that. But being tired with all these moments of violence, it finds an harmonic opportunity to open some space for the crystal clear guitars. The atmospheric “Spirit of the Air” reminds “The Shadow Hunter”. It begins with some Spanish chords, then going to metal killer sound and returning back to ballad, it walks chorus-wards, to a pompous epic break and finishes with an Arabian theme. But the stuff which could sound in a very eclectic way is, on the contrary, perfectly integrated.
“Aqua” even has its proper “Make Believe” – the perfect “Weakness of a Man”. I mean, it’s a song created without fear to flirt with the pop music inspiration and, I dare to say that it even has moments that can be considered as dancing ones. But, whatever traditional headbangers could think, it doesn’t make “Weakness of a Man” less heavy metal. Even the nice ballad “Lease of Life” which seems to break the rhythm of “Aqua” a bit continues to be pretty interesting, especially in its guitar parts, almost rock’n’roll ones until the solo, and pretty close to bossa nova after it. But maybe the most courageous song of the album is “A Monster in Her Eyes” which presents one of the most varied performances of Edu. He starts like a bard, nearly reciting in a Medieval style and then, catching the courage he presents very aggressive parts full of fury which reminds his typical manner in Almah.
Another excellent moment, “Ashes” finishes the CD. It begins with dreadful and dark, almost horror-movie-like keyboard parts, which give the first impressions about what will follow. The vocalist uses the opportunities of the lyrics which represent the last act of the play to come up with elevated style performance with sorrowful atmosphere, a kind of opera-rock. Perfect!
“Aqua” is the kind of album which deserves to be listened attentively at least 2-3 times. It’s not a type of work to be easily defined, to put a label on or to tell if it’s metal because of this or that. At most, it’s possible to say that Angra returned to its best conditions, sounding like classical Angra. And so this is much more than a positive fact.

Translation Irina Ivanova, Andrei Koulikov for www.edufalaschi.com.br


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