Review Summary: Even though the title is "Rebirth", it is clear with one listen that the album is anything but a comeback from the late 90's, and more of a smooth continuation of the band's long-standing career.
“Rebirth” is quite an apt title for Angra’s fourth album, since in 2000, after releasing three albums within nine years, vocalist Andre Matos and the entire rhythm section consisting of bassist Luis Mariutti and drummer Ricardo Confessori left the band, leaving only founding members Kiko Loureiro and Rafael Bittencourt to wonder just how this long-standing career would continue. Of course, any band in terrible situations like this would be forgiven for either calling it a day or continuing with the same line-up under a different name.
However, many (including long-time fans of the band) would have been both pleasantly surprised and shocked at the breaking news of those three aforementioned members being replaced by none other than Eduardo Falaschi (vocalist for Symbols) , Aquiles Priester (Drummer of Paul Di’Anno) and bassist Felipe Andreoli. You could say that Loureiro and Bittencourt were more than a little desperate to get whatever was left of the band back on track, yet they certainly didn’t waste any time, since the band’s fourth album was released less than a year after the crucial line-up split.
“Rebirth” was probably expected to fall flat on its face after all this trouble, but the album, as a matter of fact, proved to be both a quite successful and seemingly smooth continuation of the band’s musical legacy from the late 90’s. The usual introductory composition aside, “Rebirth” will certainly make you wonder whether Angra were so much as struggling to either revive their well-known sound or simply change it. This album perhaps suits the latter, since the sound is much more guitar-oriented, the song-writing appears much more ambitious and the Progressive aspects of the sound in general is more than a little evident this time round.
As a vocalist Andre Matos surely proved his worth on Angra’s first two albums, but this isn’t to say that Falaschi fails to reach those set standards. In fact, Falaschi rarely ever sounds like a man trying hard to please the band’s fan base, and instead comes across as a very contented vocalist simply enjoying his time with Angra. Although at times he can be strangely reminiscent of Matos in his vocal delivery, Falaschi has a very diverse vocal range, at times, as on the furious ‘Acid Rain’ and ‘Heroes of sand’ soaring to extremely high and powerful levels, and at others, as on the two ballads ‘Millennium sun’ and ‘Visions Prelude’ proving to be both melancholic and harmonic to the listener’s very ears. Falaschi’s vocals don’t always work, for example when trying to hit the same notes as Matos on the menacing ‘Judgement’, but they sure do stay memorable to whoever comes across them.
The bass, guitar and drum work all tend to breathe new life into each and every song, but it’s really the skills of long-standing member Kiko Loureiro that truly stand out. The guitar work is very prominent in songs such as ‘Nova Era’ and the very ambitious ‘Unholy wars’, but the acoustic guitar and melodic solos do come in at certain points, as on the beautiful title track and closing harmony ‘Visions Prelude’. The bass work and drum work don’t offer anything other than simply being complementary additions to the sound itself, and although they are easy to hear, they simply lurch in the background running alongside the prominent guitar work.
However, what made Angra such a unique band in the first place is the symphonic and neo-classical influences that run their course throughout the band’s sound, and it’s no joke that on “Rebirth”, they are not afraid to show themselves. ‘Unholy wars’ is perhaps the most obvious choice to include that Brazilian tribal twist on the music, because although it is more than a little reminiscent of ‘Carolina IV’ on the band’s second album “Holy land”, it succeeds in tying together every bit of musical talent that ever existed in Angra, and consequently creating a song of monumentally epic proportions. Even on the furious ‘Acid Rain’ and equally as magical ‘Running alone’, the symphonic elements do their job and then some, proving to not only be a valuable replacement of guitar solos, but also to add substance to the album’s glorifying soundscapes.
If ever you needed a reason why “Rebirth” should be in your CD collection, it is surely that it feels more like a continuation of the band’s legacy, and not simply a comeback after one of the worst and most drastic line-up changes in Power Metal history. The album would go on to sell 100,000 copies within the first two weeks of its release and also to go Gold in the band’s country of origin, Brazil. “Rebirth” is thus a prime example of an album not being affected by drastic line-up changes and succeeding because of its ambition to continue a band’s long-standing career.