What happens if you stick Keeper Of The Seven Keys and Operation Mindcrime in a blender? You waste two perfectly good cds of course! However, the metaphor was the first thing that came to my mind after listening to the first half on the Brazilian Power Metal/Progressive Metal band Angra’s classic 1992 debut album Angels Cry.
The album was produced by Charlie Bauerfeind and Sascha Paeth (what important Power Metal bands haven’t those legendary two worked with, between them?), and recorded in Kai Hansen of Gamma Ray’s studio in Germany. It also features guest musicianship from three Gamma Ray members across two tracks. That’s some serious Power Metal pedigree it has going for it.
In addition to bouncy European-sounding Melodic Power Metal however, the band also write incredibly Progressive minded music with odd rhythms, complex transitions and a lot of thought about texture and atmosphere (there’s at least two or three songs on here that seriously feel like missing tacks off of Rage For Order at times, before the choruses kick in), and on top of all that, dip into Neo-Classical territories as well. I could see how people might call it a rip-off of other band’s styles on paper, however there’s something original about it by virtue of the specific mix of influences, and of course the band’s own innate talents and distinctive musical (and singing) voices.
All that superb musicianship and songwriting skill is superbly topped off with some seriously phenomenal lead vocals from the beyond-talented Andre Matos. The range, power, melodic sensibilities and enthusiastic performances are something to behold.
The album feels really well balanced, it flows well, and despite having a Kate Bush cover and music by Vivaldi and Paganini, never feels cheesy or gimmicky. You could never tell it was recorded with line-up trouble before, during and after its creation either. Its just one of those extremely solid albums that just sounds and feels important.
Highlights include ‘Carry On’ which is a whole lot of fun, ‘Time’ which has a bit of a Queensryche feel and ‘Never Understand’ which has guest guitar from Kai Hansen, Dirk Schlächter and Sascha Paeth (and despite all that doesn’t feel patchwork). The word highlights is hard to apply though, as its all so good and there’s not a lot that’s worth skipping or ignoring by any means. This is solid from beginning to end.
It may not be as progressive as their later albums, and doesn’t really highlight the Brazillian/World music angle as much as later albums, but it is still an absolute gem and I’d seriously advice people to get themselves a copy if they are into either Power Metal or Progressive Metal.