It didn't occur to me that Rhapsody (of Fire for the purists or something) had released a new album until a few weeks after its release. For some reason, the album slipped completely under the radar for me, which is surprising, considering that they're pretty popular in the power metal circles. Similarly, it didn't occur to me that Brazilian power metal band Angra had released a new album until a few works after the official release date. This too is somewhat surprising (though not as much as with Rhapsody), as Angra is quite the reliable band. Though I had no intentions of giving Rhapsody's Triumph or Agony a listen, I decided that Angra's Aurora Consurgens would be an album that I had to hear. After all, the Brazilian band has been quite the consistent, reliable group throughout the years, so it's only fair that I give them the chance. Unsurprisingly the album, released on October 31, was another solid effort from the Brazilians.
Aurora Consurgens one again takes listeners through a 50 minute journey through the realm of power metal. Like many of their contemporaries, the music is very guitar orientated, with the fast, heavy riffs leading the band through each of the songs. The opening track, The Course of Nature, show cases what can be heard throughout Aurora Consurgens. Soaring musicianship, progressive overtures, and upbeat vocals are all part of Angra's formula, and like it had in previous albums, the equation works out very well here. However, despite having a several heavy sections, Angra's music feels like it sometimes ventures over to the passive side. While this isn't really a bad thing, as bands like Sonata Arctica and Thunderstone prove, it surly doesn't have the same aggression as Gamma Ray or Children of Bodom and at times the songs feel weak. This is particularly evident in the song Breaking Ties, a throwaway, ballad-esque affair that goes nowhere in its 3:29 runtime. But then again, you also have the seven minute long epic So Near So Far, an emotional, beautiful track that puts more emphasis on folky acoustics than on aggressive distorted guitars. So Near So Far is probably the album's strongest track and is quite a fun song to listen to, despite its general lack of aggression. Aurora Consurgens is quite a good album musically, and as it's coming from Angra, should this be any surprise?
Vocally, Angra once again looks to Edu Falaschi. Edu takes a more midrange direction with his singing, yet he remains just as upbeat as any European power metal vocalist. Along with the guitars, Falaschi's vocal efforts enjoy much of the spotlight, and help drive home that band's message effectively in a song like Passing By. Despite not hitting the high notes like a Ralf Scheepers or a ZP Theart, Edu's performance is still impressive and quite consistent. The lyrical message that the band's front man has set out to proclaim to the world, however, is not as pleasant as the singing that delivers it. Subjects regarding the human find and social problems can be found throughout the fifty minute record, most plainly in the song Salvation: Suicide. Lines like "My spoiled paradise has met this dead end / Cause I live my life all on my own with pride" showcase this negativity, and while I would hesitate to say that the lyrics are enjoyable, they definitely don't take away from the album. I guess it helps to have a strong singer though.
2006 is Angra's 15th year of existence, and what better way to celebrate this historic year than to listen to Aurora Consurgens. Like one would expect, Angra's latest release is quite impressive, with just over 50 minutes of material. The music found on Aurora Consurgens varies quite often, sometimes shooting for a traditional power metal sound, other times attempting a softer ballad style song, as well as even folky acoustic tracks. Much like the band's previous album, Temple of Shadows, power metal fans should find this record quite enjoyable; as it combines much of what has made Angra one of Brazil's most successful metal exports. Aurora Consurgens is a solid album, and metal heads should definitely keep an eye out for it.
So Near So Far
Window to Nowhere
The Course of Nature
Scream Your Heart Out