Angra - Aqua review
|Release date:||August 2010|
01. Viderunt Te Aquæ
02. Arising Thunder
03. Awake From Darkness
04. Lease Of Life
05. The Rage Of The Waters
06. Spirit Of The Air
08. A Monster In Her Eyes
09. Weakness Of A Man
11. Lease Of Life [new mixing][Japanese bonus]
[limited digipack edition bonus compilation CD]
01. Nova Era
03. Hunters and Prey
04. Spread Your Fire
05. Waiting Silence
06. The Course of Nature
07. Salvation: Suicide
I'm afraid this won't help me winning much sympathy, but I have to be honest: I never really liked Angra. And that always seemed strange to me, because they seem to represent one of the biggest worldwide expressions of power metal. When I listened to the album which should be, according to the ratings, their masterpiece, Temple Of Shadows, my expectations were sky-high. But, despite repeated listens, I couldn't go further than an unexpected 6. I didn't find anything particularly bad, I just couldn't notice anything better than average. Now, you can freely hate me.
But I haven't written this just to tell you the story of my life, but to explain that the reasons for which I enjoy Aqua could easily be the same which brought some long-time fan to dislike it. In fact, this album is different from the previous Angra releases. To be honest, it's different from every power metal album I ever listened to.
First of all, the band, as many power metal veterans are recently doing, clearly evolved its original style to a more elaborated prog-power metal. This, initially, didn't seem to make much sense, but after a while I started to comprehend it and it's been fun. Like the Scottish accent, when I went in holiday in Edimbrugh. Everything here speaks with a proggy accent: the main riffs, the variegated drums, and even some jazzy instrumental parts in the middle of the songs.
Also, Aqua is a slow, quiet album. If you're expecting that tireless machine-gun fire exploding in your ears that we, mere humans, used to call drums, you will remain hugely disappointed. This album lacks the traditional up-tempo tracks but I, personally, didn't absolutely feel nostalgia for them. On the contrary, Angra seems to be at ease with relaxing, melodic songs, that in this album abound: the masterpiece "Lease Of Life", the dreamy "Spirit Of The Air", the sad "A Monster In Her Eyes" and the closing "Ashes".
An up for this album is absolutely Falaschi's performance, apt to vary from melancholy to aggressive tunes, from rare fast-paced lines to quiet whispers, providing both balls and romance to this album.
I was going to rate this album even higher but, just after "Ashes", I casually listened to Dream Theater's "The Count Of Tuscany", which reminded me what a masterpiece really is. Thanks to this I understood what is missing in Aqua: awesomeness. Maybe because the guys need some time to get into this new style, but the real blemish of this release is the lack of inspiration at the songwriting level.
All considered, Aqua is a good, surprisingly fresh album that transmits optimism concerning Angra's future, and that can be a second starting point for the band, with its new, promising, style.
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