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Angra - Secret Garden review



Reviewer:
7.6

196 users:
8.08
Band: Angra
Album: Secret Garden
Release date: December 2014


01. Newborn Me
02. Black Hearted Soul
03. Final Light
04. Storm Of Emotions
05. Synchronicity II [Police cover] [bonus]
06. Violet Sky
07. Secret Garden
08. Upper Levels
09. Crushing Room
10. Perfect Symmetry
11. Silent Call


The Japanese were the first to witness this surprising stabilisation of a band that seemed beyond saving. In late 2014 an all new Angra first flourished, and the turn over to a new year demonstrated to the rest of the world an earnest progressive growth in the repertoire of Brazil's leading light in power metal. The secret they revealed in their latest record is that Angra aren't finished just yet.

From an instrumental standpoint Angra have managed to thoroughly rejuvenate their sound in Secret Garden. They've proven adaptable when it came to changes of lead vocalist once before; the aptly named Rebirth representing the successful transition from Andre Matos to Edu Falaschi. Enter none other than Fabio Lione as the new voice of Angra and there's definite improvement over Aqua.

Sharp song writing and lush leads demonstrate the band's rhythm section at their most direct and coherently formative in years, leaving the messy mix in Aqua well behind them. Kit control is down to Bruno Valverde, and as a new member he manages to centralise a consistency of Angra characteristic percussive flair as the guitars find focus and purpose despite the absence of their prior front man. Lione is not alone in providing voice to this ample instrumental basis, as Secret Garden features guest arrangements from notable names in Epica's Simone Simons and Doro Pesch. Though all contribute their vocal talents to an expected high calibre, the arrangements are clearly made in a collaborative manner, the lead voice of Lione not quite instilling the same face and presence in the music as Falaschi or Matos before him once established in Angra's sound.

Lione's efforts are certainly admirable, and suitably in the track "Perfect Symmetry" he merges his recognisable style most efficiently with the excellence of Angra's up-tempo instrumental delivery. Such a cut offers the album at its more power oriented nature, otherwise the track-list is noticeably of a more successful progressive vein than the rather limp attempts in Aqua, this influence in the music offering more complex metal with a strong neoclassical likeness that would likely bring the likes of Symphony X to the listener's recollection and associations.

Secret Garden bears all the markings of a strong return to form, but not quite managing a coalescence between its instrumental prowess and somewhat detached vocal arrangements, as well performed as each are singularly. It can't, by any means, be described as an unsuccessful affair, yet there is clear room for further integration of the vocals with a remarkably powerful rhythm section. Essentially, a void was left with Falaschi's departure which is here only partially filled.

Not only is the album ambitious in its instrumental structure, but, most importantly, its coherency. Its emphasis on more progressive song writing works wonders in terms of its clarity, allowing for Angra to punch out power metal tracks built with the imperative for change as well as reaffirmation of sound in mind. It's with Secret Garden that Angra have yet again adapted to the circumstances that befell them in significant losses in line-up, and displayed their continued resourcefulness in a bounce-back record.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9





Written on 06.02.2015 by R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.


Comments

Comments: 5   Visited by: 207 users
07.02.2015 - 16:25
Rating: 8
BlankFile

At first i wasn´t convinced about the quality and the consistency of this release. For me it was a bit strange listening to a different and more progressive Angra with Fabio Lione on board. I don´t know how to explain but the first listening was awkward. But after 5 or 6 spins the album grew on me in a spectacular way. It grew on me so much, that i think it´s definitely one of the best Angra albuns just behind "Holy Land", "Temple of Shadows" and "Angels Cry", perhaps better than "Rebirth", wich is something amazing. All the songs are spectacular, with amazing riffs, solos and choruses, all extremely well structured with excellent well tuned vocals by Lione and Rafa Bittencourt. "Black Hearted Soul" just got be one of the best Angra songs ever... i mean EVER!

The only reason i don´t give it a 10/10, it´s because of the song "Secret Garden" that shoud be a little different, with Lione singing alongside Simone. The song is beautiful, don´t get me wrong, but it resembles too much Epica. Angra has a different identity. I think that "link" to the dutch band is the only downside of this release, but anyway amazing one! Congrats to the guys.

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19.02.2015 - 00:01
Belegûr
Arise In Might!
Really loving this album. I seem to skip the title track though as it just feels really out of place to me. I also like the choice of vocalists for other songs as I think they work really well. Enough of the speedy Angra to get my blood pumping and some surprises like "Storm of Emotions" and "Crushing Room". Best album since "Temple of Shadows" for me.
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07.03.2015 - 18:24
Susan
Smeghead
Yes!! So happy that this album doesn't suck!! And I agree with much of the review.

At first I groaned seeing there was a new Angra album; as a power metal fan I'd have to listen at least once. UUgghhhh. But then seconds in I realized this was not going to be the experience I dreaded. Thankfully not!

I'm not a Lione fan but he sounds fine here, really fine! I'm impressed. I also fell off the Angra wagon a while back so can easily say this is their most gripping in a while. I love the progressive elements and agree with the Symphony X reference. Songwriting is sharp, as you say.

A highly successful comeback.
----
"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
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25.03.2015 - 11:32
JohnDoe
Account deleted
A pleasant surprise, better than I expected, much better than the previous one
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04.08.2022 - 18:35
Rating: 7
christosdd

Secret garden & silent call, the most boring Angra songs ever!!!
Angra & Fabio Lione, very interesting combination!
good album
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