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Almah is best known as the solo project of former Angra singer Edu Falaschi. Falaschi has one of the better voices in the Brazilian power metal scene and has helped release some of Angra's most memorable albums, including the amazing “Temple of Shadows” and “Rebirth” albums. Almah's previous albums showcased Falaschi's great vocal ability while diversifying his delivery and portraying a heavier approach to power metal than his work with Angra. The newest album from Almah, entitled “Motion”, showcases even more diversity from Falaschi than his previous efforts.
One must remember that diversifying something that works is not always a good thing. Take some well known examples: “St. Anger”, “Reroute To Remain”, “Cold Lake”, etc. Not every step into new territory yielded a good album. All this talk about diversity... is Almah still a power metal band or did they jump ship and burrow themselves into a new niche? With “Motion” Almah did not completely abandon their power metal roots, but they are about two steps away from leaving no trace of the genre in their music.
The majority of this album sounds like it was written by Disturbed or Slipknot or any other band you can place under the mallcore banner. Just about every verse on this album sounds like standard hard rock, albeit on the heavier side. Now I know that solo bands and side projects are usually to satisfy some musical urge that isn't sated with the styling of their other band's work, but I honestly cannot fathom what Edu Falaschi was trying to pull off with this one. I don't want to completely bash Almah, as I said, their previous works are heavier pieces of power metal, but “Motion” is treading dangerous ground and I can only hope Falaschi come to their senses before metal fans abandon Almah altogether.
This is a bear of an album to describe, and mostly because of the schizophrenic approach to each song. It's not schizophrenic like Ram-Zet or Unexpect, cramming multiple genres into a concise work, but rather schizophrenic in the fact that the verses sound like mallcore and the choruses sound like hard rock with power metal undertone. Almah did not completely abandon their power metal roots, instead they kept it for the choruses and solos, but threw it out for the rest of the album.
The guitar work is very crunchy, yet simplistic. The verses contain a lot of palm muted chugging and groovy rhythms. As already stated, the guitars are a dead ringer for any number of mallcore Hot Topic idols. Most choruses on the album continue in the vein of popular hard rock bands with chugging and even something a kin to breakdowns in several portions. Occasionally the guitars go back into a power metal mode, but it's rather few and far between. While the guitar lines are rather weak for a band with such a great history, the solos are outstanding. The solos contain everything a shredder wants to hear: syncopated sections, scales out the wazoo and harmonics straight out of Chuck Schuldiner's secret book of soloing.
The bass takes its cues from the likes of mid 1990's nu metal. There is a lot of rhythm rather than a straight follow the leader style. There are more elements of a poppy Korn or Limp Bizkit style, taking its cues from hip hop and rap rather than the pounding, driving style of power metal acts. The drums are very hit and miss for each song. Some songs sound like they came from a Pantera album and some songs sound like In Flames material of the new millennium. There are some freaking awesome fills and rolls, but it doesn't make up for the bouncy style that permeates the drums. Barring the few straight up power metal sections, the rhythm section sounds too watered down to be enjoyable.
The vocals are a huge disappointment on “Motion”. Falaschi is known for his soaring melodic style, as heard on his work with Angra. “Motion” displays Falaschi dabbling in just about every style known to popular music, aside from rapping. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if Almah released a bonus track with Falaschi rapping. The verses contain mostly raspy, shouted vocals, similar to the Gothenburg inspired metalcore of recent years. When the music slows down, Falaschi does his best pop impression, sounding like Daughtry or Days of the New. The choruses are where Falaschi and Almah really shine. The soaring melodies of old seep in and take root. Falaschi really sounds like Bruce Dickinson's more soulful solo work and it's painfully sad to hear him singing any other way.
With so many others falling from grace in recent years, it's sad to see Almah on that same path. A once stellar power metal band now sounds, for the most part, like radio friendly mallcore. The only things that make this album even listenable are the amazing solos and the unfortunately infrequent melodic vocals of Falaschi. I understand that Falaschi wants to try to branch out and try something different, but “Motion” is a complete flop.
I cannot recommend this to any self-respecting metalhead. Power metal fans, stick with Angra. Almah is on the verge of losing all traces of power metal and the new direction is abysmal. Hopefully Falaschi and crew can turn Almah back into the powerhouse it once was. Another release like “Motion” and the nail is certainly in the coffin for a once proud band.