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Angra – Aqua: Review

September 17, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The progressive-power Brazilians known as Angra have released their latest album on August 11 entitled Aqua. It is the seventh addition to their collection, and is based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. There has been much praise given to Angra, especially during their Matos era, but for me, Aqua did not quite live up to its hype.

The Music (rating: B)

  1. Viderunt Te Aquae
  2. Arising Thunder
  3. Awake from Darkness
  4. Lease of Life
  5. The Rage of the Waters
  6. Spirit of the Air
  7. Hollow
  8. A Monster in Her Eyes
  9. Weakness of a Man
  10. Ashes

Aqua has characteristics of power metal infused with some complex elements of progressive (Dream Theater in particular comes to mind). It feels rather guitar driven, though the presence of the other instruments is hardly compromised. The overall tone is somewhat neutral; neither dark nor light. However, that gives the band some breathing room in their musical style.

The album contains a fair amount of diversity. There is a mixture of heavy and soft, fast and slow. On one hand it adds a fair amount of value to the album, but on the other hand it can compromise its overall flow. Unfortunately, in Aqua’s case, it does exactly that. Between songs, and sometimes even sections within songs, there are sudden awkward transitions that feel unnatural. Sudden transitions can work when done right, but in Aqua it is more likely to seem like an accident. On the upside, there is a strong sense of depth to the album due to its variety. For someone who enjoys the album, Aqua can go through numerous listens. Its versatility has both pros and cons. Still, the fact remains that it has avoidable cons.

In the big picture, the music is quite well done. There are several memorable moments in the album. However, there are also times where the music drags along. It balances out to quality music, but it is inconsistent. There are some great songs, some good songs with stellar passages, and some average songs. Aqua is not an album I would keep on my playlist, but there are songs that will remain indefinitely (particularly “The Rage of the Waters”).

Instrumentally, the album is quite solid. With the exception of “The Rage of the Waters,” nothing really mind-blowing is given. The guitarist seems to be the driving instrument. It seems to be the loudest and most upfront, and at time can be too much. But it does give some neat riffs and good melodies and solos. The vocalist performs quite well, but at times gives stale phrasing. With the drummer, he can be rather standard at times but does a fine job overall. The bass is decent for the most part, but comes shining in the spotlight in “The Rage of the Waters” (as do all the instruments). Other than the aforementioned track, there is nothing really to be extremely impressed with regarding the instruments. It is merely somewhat impressive.

Overall, Aqua is a decent album. Its execution is fine, but it brings little innovation to the music scene. There are ups and downs to the album, albeit too many negative aspects. That is not to say that they overwhelm the positives, but its fluency issues and dragging moments are highly noticeable and hurtful to the album. Nonetheless, it is a solid album from Angra. Aqua is a treat for the fans, but not a grab for new listeners.

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  1. Ben
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