Review Summary: The sound of a highly-gifted band doing too much aimless wandering.
There is a small portion of musicians/bands who can put out a good record even when they’re without inspiration; Angra is one of those bands. Between the guitar playing of Rafael Bittencourt & Kiko Loureiro and the skillful vocals of Eduardo Falaschi, Angra has enough talent to make nearly anyone a bit envious. 2004’s Temple of Shadows
is regarded as an exemplar of properly done power metal; power metal that is mature, dynamic, captivating, and having minimal “cheese.” Frankly, it put all the great qualities of the genre on display for listeners in respect-demanding fashion.
Seven years and a few albums later, Angra released Aqua
which is but a marginally-reminiscent work of what the group has done in prior times. The songwriting is mostly bland, failing to leave any long-lasting impression; this is somewhat due to the fact the group delved more into a progressive style featuring unique and unpredictable song structures. However, when the songs fail to climax or “take the reader somewhere“ per se, it becomes tiresome. In fact, there was no track that jumped out as a masterpiece; all songs hovered in the realm of being “good” or “acceptable.” For a band as capable as Angra, operating at “good” is a disappointment.
This is not to say Aqua
doesn’t have its moments, because it does. Bittencourt and Loureiro’s soloing hasn’t diminished in quality at all as they are still more than willing to show off their chops. “Lease of Life” and “The Rage of the Waters” are prime examples of the duo’s virtuosic abilities (Also, I do recommend Loureiro’s instrumental album Universo Inverso
if you’re into Jazz fusion). Never the less, while Angra never truly found their stride with Aqua
, it’s still worth a listen. Whereas they used to sound like a band on a mission driving towards a destination, now they sound like they hopped in the car for a road trip to wherever they end up. As a whole, Aqua
appears to be geared less towards power metal than earlier releases, but I suspect the progmasters out there may find the new direction appealing.