Released: 2008, SPV/Steamhammer/Border Music
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Andre Matos is a Brazilian-born singer who’s been in bands like Angra, Viper, Shaaman and the project Virgo. When Shaaman was laid to rest in 2006 Matos didn’t really know what he wanted to do and he got a flurry of invitations to join various acts but instead formed his own band. He’s brought with him ex-Angra and ex-Shaaman members as well as a 16-year-old whiz-kid on drums. Before this album was released in Europe it became the second most-sold album in Japan for a month.
Matos and crew deliver solid and very technical melodic power metal with progressive parts and heavy metal influences. Everything revolves around Matos’ incredible vocal range and he’s got an amazing power and feeling in his voice. Matos treats the listener with 11 fresh and bold songs and there’s absolutely nothing negative when it comes to the material.
It’s extremely hard to pick out killer tracks, but “Letting Go”, “Rio”, “Remember Why”, “How Long (Unleashed Away)”, “Reason” and “Endeavour” are a few that stand out. Other songs worth mentioning are “Looking Back”, “Face to End” and “Time To Be Free” which are mid-tempo songs that borders on being ballads. “A New Moonlight” is a pure ballad that almost exclusively features keyboard and piano. Many of the songs use synth strings, but that doesn’t bother me when the songs are as great as these.
The first part of the disc is a little more solid than the second and perhaps it wasn’t the smartest move to put so many ballads and mid-tempo songs back-to-back. Many of the songs in the second part could have been left out or at least made a little edgier. At the end of the day, Matos’ mighty voice saves many of the songs which gives the album a really high rating. Just like the rest of the album, the production by the legendary Roy Z and Sascha Paeth is genius and every element fits together perfectly.
This is a brilliant album that’s a given purchase for any fan of Matos, but also for fans of melodic/progressive power metal.