Angra: Cycles Of Pain

Atomic Fire Records 2023
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Label/Založba: Atomic Fire Records
Release date/Datum izida: 3. 11. 2023
Production/Produkcija: Dennis Ward
Running Time/Dolžina albuma: 58.20 min
Genre/Zvrst: Progressive Metal
Ocena: 8/10


English:

»Fabio’s Resurrection«

Father, I must confess, for I have sinned and am still sinning. I admit that Fabio Lione (Fabio Tordiglione, Joe Terry), singer of thousands of bands, master of the unmistakable Italian accent and faithful user of the most powerful vibrato techniques, has never, really never, been and never will be at the top of the list of my favorite power metal singers. Or metal singers. Or singers in general. And not only is he not at the top of these charts, he’s somewhere at the tail end in the company of models ala Andi Deris (blasphemy, I know, I know) and the newer version of David DeFeis (forgive me, almighty!).

And yet I can vehemently assert that Cycles of Pain belongs to the top 3 Angra albums together with the legendary Rebirth and Temple of Shadows. Not quite there like those two, but pretty close. I will leave the albums with Matos on vocals out of this review, because they belong to another story.

When Fabio joined Angra in 2013, I cursed everything alive, even the house number, because I was sure that the downfall of my favorite Brazilian band was coming. But hey, when I first listened with trepidation to album titled Secret Garden from 2014, I had to admit that Fabio didn’t sound too bad. On the contrary, the whole sound worked somehow … complete. Angra upgraded their sound a bit in 2018 with the Ømni album. And then a long, far too long silence. Were they broken by the departure of guitar wizard and Rafael’s indispensable partner, Kiko Loureiro, to Megadeth? Marcelo Barbosa replaced him at Ømni, maybe it didn’t work out?

Well, this year we got a new album and what do we hear?

We hear Angra in its greatest splendor and sonic superlatives. Fabio blended into the sound environment and in some places strongly resembles Edu Falaschi. It’s hard for me to admit, but nobody misses Kiko anymore, guitar solo duels, heavy riffs and exchange of ideas between Rafael, the band’s mastermind, and Marcelo are all that a true Angra fan and prog/power metal fan in general can only wish for. The rhythm section consisting of Felipe (bass) and Bruno (drums) is exactly what a top prog/power band should be able to afford: top notch.

Dennis Ward took over the production for the first time since 2006 (Aurora Consurgens album) and the sound is exactly the same as on the Rebirth album, with a significant upgrade. It seems that the man has realized that there is sometimes bass in metal production. And boy you can hear it, and Felipe, as if waking up from a long-term coma, shows what a virtuoso bass guitar can contribute to music.

What about songs, you ask? Fortunately, the fast, anthemic pieces, full of double bass drums and melodic choruses, which had been sorely lacking from the albums since Aqua, returned. The first single Ride Into the Storm is already one such example, three more songs are in the same style, my favorite being Generation Warriors. 

Surprisingly, the title piece is the most inexpressive one, somewhat tired sounding.

The main part of the album is represented by Angra’s typical prog/power compositions, interspersed with Latin rhythms and glimpses of world music, the most typical representative of which is Vida Seca with guest singer Lenine. The highlight of the album is the progressive cacophony titled Faithless Sanctuary, where extravagant patterns of double-pedal rhythms, roaring bass, sparkling and at the same time mysterious guitar phrases and Fabio’s fascinating vocal lines intertwine. Yes, this same Fabio from the first paragraph of this review. The guy just seems calmed down, relaxed, like he’s finally found his place in the universe. And with that, he took this newer version of Angra to a higher level.

A dark duet with the omnipresent (pun intended) Amanda Somerville, Tears of Blood, closes this album. This one sounds very Nightwish-esque, but at the same time it doesn’t lose its Angra identity. Here, Fabio uses lower, baritone registers of his voice that perfectly complement Amanda’s operatic vocals.

The length of the record is a perfect 58 minutes, the songs fluctuate between five and six minutes, so you never get bored.

This album is so good, I really want to see Angra live after a long time, I hope they come by.

Since Dave apparently kicked another guitarist out of the band, after Maiden and Helloween, we may be in for another “triple axe attack”. That would be a living madhouse, I tell you!

Author: Igorac


»Fabijevo vstajenje«

Oče, moram se izpovedati, kajti grešil sem in še grešim. Priznam, da Fabio Lione (Fabio Tordiglione, Joe Terry), pevec tisočerih bendov, mojster nezgrešljivega italijanskega naglasa in zvesti uporabnik najmogočnejših vibrato prijemov, nikoli, ampak res nikoli, ni bil in nikoli ne bo na vrhu lestvice mojih najljubših power metal pevcev. Ali metal pevcev. Ali pevcev nasploh. In ne samo da ni v vrhu teh lestvic, potika se nekje na repu v družbi modelov ala Andi Deris (bogokletstvo, vem, vem) in novejša verzija Davida DeFeisa (oprosti mi, vsemogočni!).

In vendar lahko vehementno zatrdim, da Cycles of Pain spada v top 3 Angra albumov skupaj z legendarnima Rebirth in Temple of Shadows. Ni čisto tam kot ta dva, ampak kar blizu. Albume z Matosem na vokalu bom tukaj spustil, ker spadajo v neko drugo zgodbo.

Ko se je Fabio leta 2013 pridružil Angri, sem preklel vse živo, tudi hišno številko, kajti prepričan sem bil, da sledi potop mojega najljubšega brazilskega benda. Ampak glej ga zlomka, ko sem prvič s strahom preposlušal album Secret Garden iz leta 2014, sem moral priznati, da Fabio ne zveni tako zelo slabo. Celo nasprotno, celoten zvok je deloval nekako … kompletno. Angra so zadevo še malce nadgradili leta 2018 s plato Ømni. In potem dolga, predolga tišina. Ali jih je zlomil odhod kitarskega čarovnika in nepogrešljivega Rafaelovega partnerja, Kika Loureira, v Megadeth? Na Ømni ga je zamenjal Marcelo Barbosa, mogoče se ni obneslo?

No, letos smo vendarle dočakali nov album in kaj slišimo?

Slišimo Angro v največjem sijaju in zvokovnih superlativih. Fabio se je zlil v zvočno okolico in na nekaterih mestih močno spominja na Eduja Falaschija. Težko mi je priznati, ampak Kika ne pogreša nihče več, kitarski solo dueli, težki riffi in izmenjava idej med Rafaelom, idejnim vodjem skupine, in Marcelom so vse, kar si pravi Angra oboževalec in oboževalec prog/power metala nasploh lahko samo želi. Ritem sekcija Felipe (bas) in Bruno (bobni) je točno taka, kot se za vrhunski prog/power band spodobi: vrhunska.

Produkcijo je prvič po letu 2006 (album Aurora Consurgens) prevzel Dennis Ward in zvok je točno takšen kot na albumu Rebirth, s pomembno nadgradnjo. Kaže, da je možakar ugotovil, da v metal produkciji včasih obstaja tudi bas. In tega je še kako slišati, Felipe pa, kot bi se zbudil iz dolgoletne kome, pokaže, kaj vse lahko glasbi doprinese virtuoz bas kitare.

Kaj pa pesmi, vprašate? Na srečo so se vrnili hitri, himnični komadi, polni dvojnih bas bobnov in melodičnih refrenov,  ki so krvavo primanjkovali albumom od Aque naprej. Prvi single Ride Into the Storm je že en tak primerek, še tri pesmi so v istem stilu, meni najljubši je Generation Warriors

Začuda je najbolj neizrazit, nekam utrujen ravno naslovni komad.

Glavnino plošče pa predstavljajo za Angro značilne razgibane prog/power mešanice, prepredene z latino ritmi in utrinki glasbe sveta, najbolj značilen predstavnik je Vida Seca z gostujočim pevcem Lenine-jem. Vrhunec albuma predstavlja progresivna kakofonija Faithless Sanctuary, kjer se prepletajo ekstravagantni vzorci ritmov dvojnega pedala, rožljajoči bas, iskrive in hkrati skrivnostne kitarske fraze ter Fabio s fascinantnimi vokalnimi linijami. Ja, ta isti Fabio iz prvega odstavka te recenzije. Tip enostavno deluje umirjeno, kot da je končno našel svoj prostor v univerzumu. In s tem je dvignil to, novejšo, različico Angre na višji nivo.

Zadevo zaključi temačen duet z omniprisotno (he, he) Amando Somerville, Tears of Blood. Ta zveni zelo Nightwish-evsko, vendar hkrati ne izgubi svoje Angra identitete. Fabio tukaj uporabi nižje, baritonske lege, ki izvrstno dopolnjujejo Amandin operetni vokal.

Dolžina plošče je perfektnih 58 minut, komadi nihajo med slabimi petimi in dobrimi šestimi minutami, tako da ti nikoli ne uspe biti dolgčas.

Ta plata je tako dobra, da si po dolgem času res želim videti Angro v živo, upam, da pridejo kaj mimo.

Ker je Dave očitno brcnil iz benda še enega kitarista, se nam po Maidnih in Helloweenu mogoče obeta še en »triple axe attack«. To bi bila živa norišnica, vam rečem!

Avtor: Igorac

Tracklist/Seznam skladb:
1. Cyclus Doloris
2. Ride Into The Storm
3. Dead Man On Display
4. Tide Of Changes – Part I
5. Tide Of Changes – Part II
6. Vida Seca
7. Gods Of The World
8. Cycles Of Pain
9. Faithless Sanctuary
10. Here In The Now
11. Generation Warriors
12. Tears Of Blood

Line-up/Zasedba:
Fabio Lione – vocals/vokal
Rafael Bittencourt – guitars & additional vocals / kitara, spremljevalni vokal
Marcelo Barbosa – guitars / kitara
Felipe Andreoli – bass guitar / bas kitara
Bruno Valverde – drums / bobni

Additional vocals/dodatni vokali:
Fernanda Lira
Angel Sberse
Karina Menascé
Mayara Puertas
Vanessa Moreno (5,10)
Lenine (6)
Amanda Somerville (12)

Juliana D’Agostini – klavir (12)


Angra – “Cycles Of Pain” (Atomic Fire Records, 2023)
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