ANGRA are definitely one of the stalwarts of Brazil’s Metal scene. Contrary to some other bands, which have been around forever, but struggled with style and quality changes over the years (*cough* SEPULTURA), this Săo Paulo-based band has overcome the loss of three fifth of the band and still continues to go from strength to strength. Now I am the first one to admit that I had been a huge fan of Andre Matos (and continue to do so), but I’d be a fool not to say that Edu Falaschi does a phenomenal job to help ANGRA’s songs continue to soar with energy and melodies that should warm the heart of any genre fan!
The previous effort “Temple Of Shadows” had been a concept album, “Aurora Consurgens” has a common theme, too, yet the songs are not interconnected. The album is titled after a book by Saint Thomas of Aquin, which subsequently was used by Jung to establish relations between dreams and different mental conditions. So it does not come as a surprise that the songs on this album deal with stuff such as suicidal tendencies, depression, schizophrenia and other nice things you wish your enemies.
Musically ANGRA continue to stay close to their roots, but avoid copying their past with skillful mastery. Despite still being an integral part of the overcrowded Power Metal genre these Brazilians have forged their own niche with the intricate guitar work of Rafael Bitencourt and Kiko Loureiro, Edu’s great, powerful voice and the influences from indigenous Brazilian music that still pop up every now and then, making the band what they are now. Best examples for this are opener “The Course Of Nature”, which sets out with these rhythms before branching out into a Power Metal song with some more progressive influences and brilliant vocals and melodies and “The Voice Commanding You”, which is a double-bass driven cracker bearing the archetypical ANGRA guitars and despite the use of keyboards they are as far removed from bombast and kitsch as they possibly can.
And after that the Brazilians continue to move from strength to strength, be it the unsappy ballad “Breaking Ties”, the very strong power cracker “Salvation: Suicide”, very varied “Passing By” or the completely acoustic “Abandoned Fate”, leaving many of their genre colleagues gape in awe at the song writing sorcery of this band. The info sheet heralds “Aurora Consurgens”, may I quote, “a true classic of its genre, a milestone, a masterpiece” and as much as these info sheets usually exaggerate, the fifteenth anniversary album of ANGRA might not fully have the potential to become all of the above, but an absolute highlight of the genre.
If you call yourself a Power Metal fan and you have not heard of ANGRA yet, then shame on you, because they have yet to release a weak album, with “Fireworks” probably the least strong effort by the Brazilians. If you like this genre even remotely, by all means, check this CD out!
(Online November 8, 2006)