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Secret Garden
February 2015
Released: 2015, Universal Music
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Helias Papadopoulos

Generally speaking, history and time plays strange games, and especially in the case of the Brazilian master metal band Angra for over 15 years. Angra essentially disbanded due to the many problems of managers and record labels who tangled with the band, which led to the departure of vocalist Andre Matos, who took with him bassist Luis Marriutti and drummer Riccardo Confessori (to begin a new band, Shaman). Nevertheless, Kiko Loureiro and Rafael Bittencourt found the courage and led the band to the next phase of its life, quite diversified, but certainly successful. Now, they are called to keep Angra alive in this third phase of their career.

Once again, the managers and all the well-known crap of the music industry that have no idea of music almost tore the band apart again, leading singer Edu Falaschi to quit the band and Angra finds temporary assistance from Italian Fabio Lione (Rhapsody), confirming once again that "there is nothing more permanent than temporary" phrase that unlikely seems to be the only battering ram for the band. A little later, he left again by the band Ricardo Confessori and while in between the Andre Matos, rather offensively, rejected the proposal for a reunion that all friends of the band were thinking of.

Now, the culmination of this partnership comes with the release of new album "Secret Garden", the composition of the band to complement an incredible young drummer, named Bruno Valverde. I have to say that Fabio Lione's vocals in SECRET GARDEN are extremely good. On those grounds, and after numerous listens, I think that despite the undoubted quality and talent that is not hidden, the album as a whole fails to completely impress.

Starting from the positive aspects, there are nuggets of synthetic talent that always characterized the band, while Valverde although not in the nature of playing the Confessori, turns motorbike behind the drums. Meanwhile, Lione is quite satisfactory, avoiding confusions, giving basically vivid interpretations, often brought me to mind James LaBrie. Of course, the production is clear and powerful, while the guitar work is, as expected, some of the best that can be heard nobody in metal music, once again.

On the other hand, Angra seem to restrain themselves in a genre that seems small to fit their talent, playing power metal, with some prog. Indeed, following so much a recipe a few times, the basis of the music of some songs may be identified by older songs with endeiktikotero example "Black Hearted Soul", which brings to mind something strongly between "Nova Era" and "Spread Your Fire". Even though there are individual compositions or good ideas, I can skip the restriction in this formulation to the music of Brazilians.

Additionally, there is the involvement of Rafael vocals and the presence of Simone Simons (Epica) and Doro Pesch as guests on the album, which could offer variety in the results, but ultimately I think it acts as a deterrent. First, Rafael has just nice voice and secondly this move indicates that either do not fully trust Fabio, or that his voice has certain features that do not fully meet the needs of the band. Also, Simone interprets itself in the title track, a composition based essentially on keyboards and orchestra, having little contact with what they profess the Angra as complex and is a rather unnecessary opening to the public of Epica. Finally, the Doro track occurs in duet with Rafael in "Crushing Room", without any of the two adding something special with its interpretation. All this for me suggests a lack of targeting, and a need to open up the Angra to a new audience, which affects the homogeneity of the album.

Among the best moments of the album could be the starting point and "Newborn Me", the melodic and emotional "Storm Of Emotions", and the "Final Light", which is a little use tribal rhythms that were once signal trademark of the band. The cover of "Synchronicity II" of Police is just ok, the band has brought completely to the measures of the "Upper Levels" is characterized by the technical parts and the vocal approach reminiscent Symphony X, while the acoustic closure "Silent Call" which takes again the Bittencourt is admittedly beautiful.

SECRET GARDEN includes some really remarkable moments, touching the glory of TEMPLE OF SHADOWS and HOLY LAND. Even the many and big problems that band deals with, the result is fair, musically excellent, and refresh. SECRET GARDEN is a very good album that progressive and power metal fans would enjoy.
Track Listing

1. Newborn Me
2. Black Hearted Soul
3. Final Light
4. Storm of Emotions
5. Violet Sky
6. Secret Garden
7. Upper Levels
8. Crushing Room
9. Perfect Symmetry
10. Silent Call


Rafael Bittencourt Guitar
Kiko Loureiro Guitar, Keyboards
Felipe Andreoli Bass, Keyboards
Fabio Lione Vocals
Bruno Valverde Drums

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Next review: » Angra - Temple of Shadows
Previous review: » Angra - Rebirth

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