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My first experience of hearing the voice of Andre Matos came when I first got a hold of the Angra album “Fireworks,” several years back. Since then, even though he never approached my favorite vocalists, I always considered him a unique and powerful voice in the field of Power Metal. Still, I had few expectations when I found out that I would be reviewing his second solo album. Even though I had not heard his first solo album, I know that most solo albums done by former singers of relatively well-known bands are often uninspired at best.
Andre Matos was the original vocalist of Brazilian Power Metal kings Angra. In 2001, the band split, with Matos as well as drummer Ricardo Confessori and bassist Luis Mariutti leaving to form SHAMAN. He first started his solo band after departing from Shaman back in 2006. He recruited some Shaman and Angra alums and released “Time To Be Free” in 2007. “Mentalize” is Matos’ second solo album, with the same lineup as the first.
Andre Matos’ voice is in fine form throughout. Even though I doubt he’ll ever top his performance on “Fireworks”, he certainly does an excellent job. His backing band certainly is competent, although no one shines out, which means (predictably) that the spotlight is mainly on Matos. There are some decent solos and riffs present, and the drumming doesn’t follow all of the typical Power Metal clichés and varies itself somewhat.
The best song on here is the title track, which has some killer riffs. I wish more of the album was like this. “Leading On” and “I Will Return” are the best songs vocally, fans of Matos’ voice will love these. Another song that I enjoyed a lot was “The Myriad”, it reminds me of Avantasia. There is an admirable consistency throughout “Mentalize” thanks to strong songwriting.
Even though this is unlikely to top Andre Matos’ work in Angra, this is a solid album that fans of Power Metal are likely to enjoy quite a bit. Perhaps with some more emphasis on building strong riffs and leads, Matos can match or exceed his previous work.
(Originally published at www.metal-temple.com)