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At the risk of undermining my own credibility, I want to caution the reader not to get the wrong impression from this review's title. Yes, there are a lot of songs on Temple of Shadows that sound a bit like ballads but, as the score suggests, this is still a good album. Though the first two proper songs ('Deus Le Volt!' being an intro piece) make the album seem like it'll be based on fast, hellishly intricate progressive power metal and Kiko Loureiro's mind-blowing guitar heroics, it ends up being a much more subtle and nuanced affair. And, though the album could use a few more fast numbers, it's still a rewarding excursion through a unique and varied interpretation of the genre.
Once the intro is out of the way, Temple of Shadows smacks you in the face with an onslaught of speed, complex playing, and orchestral vocal layering in 'Spread Your Fire'. 'Angels and Demons', a similarly frenetic barnburner, follows. If you're a fan of power or progressive metal, these two are everything you've ever wanted to hear, both wrapped up in small packages, neither song exceeding five minutes. Later on in the album, 'Temple of Hate' follows in their footsteps with an impressively speedy drive and the added treat of some guest vocals from Kai Hansen.
These songs, the three best on the album, do not represent the bulk of what Temple of Shadows sounds like, however. This is where this review's title becomes especially relevant. Every song from here on out, except for parts of 'Winds of Destination ' (which features Hansi Kürsch, as if an appearance from Hansen wasn't cool enough), is a softer, more emotive breed. They're not true ballads in the sense that Gamma Ray's 'No Need to Cry' and HammerFall's 'Remember Yesterday' are but they still slow things down and lower the intensity quite a bit. These songs make up more than half of this album. Fortunately, though, Angra is perhaps the one band in the world actually capable of pulling such a thing off.
'Waiting Silence', which comes right after the storm of intensity that is 'Angels and Demons', is a much needed rest for the listener that also boasts a memorable and engaging, if not especially forceful, chorus. 'Wishing Well' is probably the best of the softer numbers, with an emotive chorus and some lushly orchestrated and stunning verses. 'The Shadow Hunter' gets innovative with the formula, incorporating what seem to be regional elements in the form of some kind of flamenco-esque folk guitar and subtle percussion that conjures images of a steamy South American rainforest. Unfortunately, Angra's approach to slower, more heartfelt metal doesn't stay fresh for the entire album, leaving the last few semiballads unmemorable and uninteresting. These songs are all good or at least decent, but after hearing the ragers that kick off the album, nobody wants 40+ minutes of pseudo-ballads. The well Angra draws from in writing these songs offers up plenty of inspired writing but by the time Temple of Shadows reaches 'Morning Star', that well runs dry.
Though this album could have used another couple of faster songs somewhere in its second half, Temple of Shadows is a release nobody should miss. Full of solid performances both in its most technical moments and when things slow down, this album reinterprets power metal, bringing in generous amounts of symphonic, progressive, and regional elements. Filled with thoughtful and imaginative songwriting, Temple of Shadows is a mostly satisfying journey that loses its steam about about fifteen minutes from the finish line.
Now I'm here, standing before a masterpiece of its genre, truly never before seen face of Angra. From their debut, Angra has been a definer of power metal since it's inception, with every album there are new adventures to hear and I'll daresay that this is the magnus opus of this incredible band from Brazil.
Throughout the album every song makes a new atmosphere, Deus le Volt! makes you stay eager for all that the album keeps for himself until Spread Your Fire begins, from this on the album explodes with glory and majesty. Every song it's a new odyssey, all songs are an epic poem, each one with a new atmosphere that creates pictures that delve from a tragedy to a battle with imposing a victory.
In this album, the production is some of best seen to the date, same for the mixing. Both make such an effort to carry out this album as unique and perfect, those long hours of work worth it.
Now, here we face a perfect balance between each instrument, both guitars make the perfect equilibrium during every second of the album, specially in the solos, where the two guitars emerge with different but matching notes. The drums are exceptional, balanced but certainly they are not faced with the attention needed. The bass is more than glorious, Andreoli really show what he is made of and shows virtuosity in all songs; no matter how difficult or fast the song is, he manages to keep control of all the melody he haves behind him and many times he let the audience taste triplets of his own, take Waiting Silence for instance.
In this work the vocals also make the difference. Not only Falaschi's efforts, but the one of all the guest singers that make almost the songs to sound unique and distinct from the one before and the one coming. We got Edenbrigde's Sabine Edelsbacher and her tremendous female vocals, Gammaray's Kai Hansen to show us quite queer vocals, veteran Hansi Kürsch making a balance between a young warrior and veteran wizard on Wings of Destination. However, focusing on the guest singers and don't do the same with the main singer is a sin. Regarding Edu, he manages to keep himself steadily with every song and often offers unexpected vocal explosions, making a song like Wishing Well or The Shadow Hunter a memorable one.
Now, regarding symphonic arrangements the only annotation that I would like to add it's that they are outstanding and magnificent, worthy of the full-length as a whole.
In conclusion, what we got here ladies and gentlemen it's a definition of what Angra is, a true definer of its genre, one of a kind. I probably have listened to this album more than 20 times and I hope to hear it to my death. I hope that each of those fond enough to listen to the album more than one time could be able to appreciate this work as I, but only time will tell.
This is the album that first got me into Angra. I heard about it because I was reading a review for Dragonland's Under the Grey Banner and the reviewer said that it sounded a lot like this album. I thought, "if Temple of Shadows is anything like Under the Grey Banner, then it must be amazing!" So I checked it out and much to my delight I not only found an amazing album, but I found an amazing band as well.
This album is a bit of an improvement I think over Rebirth, which was good, but a little too flowery and happy for my tastes. Also the production value of Rebirth was not great and sounded very hollow. The production in this album is far superior, feeling very full and the instrument mix is far better featuring more guitar than Rebirth. The sound on this album is similar in some respects to that same up-beat, major tonality feel that really sets Angra apart from most bands in this genre. I also really enjoy the experimental side of this album as tracks 7-13 involve a lot of experimentation that really works out well and I found it to be really unique. The orchestral mix in this album really adds to it and makes it feel much more epic and grand and the songwriting is just phenomenal.
It's really hard for me to decide which song I like the most on this album because their are so many good ones. My favorites are Spread Your Fire, Temple of Hate, and Winds of Destination, though I must say that each song on this album is great in its own respect. The intro into this album is perfect as 'Deus le Volt' is only 54 seconds or so and not overstepping its boundary as an opening song. 'Spread Your Fire' is probably my favorite song on this, starting off with a really cool-sounding guitar riff that leads into some aggressive vocals by Edu Falaschi. The vocals really shine on this album, but in this song especially. The chorus is really catchy and the soaring vocals just make the whole thing so much fun to sing along with. I especially like the part where he sings "glorious!". 'Angels and Demons' and 'Waiting Silence' are both great songs and 'Wishing Well' is a really fun little ballad, but 'Temple of Hate' is the peak of this album. This is the fastest, heaviest song on this album as well as the title track. It has some really good riffing and an excellent chorus. The style almost reminds me of bands like Blind Guardian or Rhapsody of Fire with the shredding at the beginning of it. And speaking of Blind Guardian, their own Hansi Kursch shares the vocals in 'Winds of Destination'. This song has more of that furious speed combined with some symphonic elements and the soaring, edgy vocals of Hansi make this song a true gem of this album.
This album is an interesting combination of power metal and progressive metal bordering on progressive rock. Another favorite of mine from this album is 'Morning Star', which to be honest if I hadn't known better I would have thought that it was performed by the band Yes. It has the syncopated rock feel along with the changing time signatures that define prog rock. 'Sprouts of Time' is another example of this style with a really fun chorus and a very light, up-beat style that makes it really enjoyable. The only disappointment of this album is 'Late Redemption', which is a little boring, but otherwise a solid piece.
This is Angra's magnum opus, their shining example of a truly great symphonic power metal album that will continue to shine and inspire bands of this genre for years to come.
Religion has became commonplace when talking about Angra, but while Temple of Shadows was not the first album from Kiko Loureiro and his crew to openly criticize Catholicism, it was certainly the first dedicated to doing that. The concept is interesting while relatively simple: a seemingly crazy old man encourages a crusader to create his own religion, while telling him that he was chosen by God to bring light to the eyes of the people who can’t see. The crusader ignores the man, or at least tries to: after the initial encounter, he ends up meeting him several times while sleeping. Troubled by those visions and his own doubts, which are fueled by his fellow crusaders’ violent ways, he ends up doing exactly what the man said, and names himself “The Shadow Hunter”. At that point, however, you simply stop caring: the music is awesome enough for you to stop paying attention to anything else.
Do I dare say that this album is as good as “Rebirth”? Hell, no. This is much better. You see, while Rebirth is surely a good album, the situation that the band was facing just before recording it was what made the release dramatic enough for some to consider it Angra’s magnum opus. Most of those people were carried away by their feelings, and I do not blame them: Angra had already taken some steps towards the power metal elite, when basically the whole band departed. They came back three years later with only two of their original members, and met a metal community that was skeptical about the possibility of a good comeback. Angra’s destiny was at risk, and most people thought that the band would never be as great as it once was unless André Matos held the band’s microphone.
Turns out that those people were wrong, and the fact that Angra managed to record something that not only was solid but also had quality and enough characteristics from the “CARRY ON CARRY ON YAY” era to please their fans filled many hearts with joy. Rebirth, however, had fewer memorable tracks than one would expect – with Nova Era and Acid Rain being the only ones that actually lived up to Angra’s legacy. I like to say that “Rebirth” is a gateway album, a step that the new Angra had to take before being able to redefine the very concept of awesomeness.
The first thing Angra fans noticed when listening to this album for the first time was that little attention was given to the bass: every album before this one was heavily bass-focused, which is at least unusual in power metal. This new approach to mixing definitely took away some of Angra’s intrinsic uniqueness, and the result was an album that sounded like a mix between Dragonforce (because of its sheer speed and cheesiness) and Blind Guardian (because of its memorable vocals. In addition, instead of overusing the crap out of the keyboards as they did in Rebirth, the Loureiro/Bittencourt duo came up with more riffs than one would find suitable for a thrash metal event, with the usual power metal dual leads standing way above everything else. Both the keyboards and the bass still have their place, but they are far from being the major forces behind this recording.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this full-length is the human voice. Apparently, Angra knew they had written a masterpiece, because they ended up recruiting more well known vocalists than you could find in Wacken Open Air. Kai Hansen is there, Hansi Kürsh is there and even Milton Nascimento, a Brazilian singer that is as far away from metal as a cation, is there. The guest vocalists appear mostly in songs that would already be highlighted because of their sheer catchiness, which made me as close as anyone can get to dying from pressing “repeat”.
It is possible to divide Temple of Shadows in two parts: one that begins just after the introduction and features incredibly heavy and fast songs and one that begins just after the sixth track and features mid-paced, acoustic-guitars-abusing, experimental songs that surprisingly manage to live up to the first half of the album in terms of creativity. The only exceptions to that rule are Wishing Well – a keyboard-focused ballad that relies greatly on an exceptionally inspiring refrain and that comes right in the middle of the first part; and Winds of Destination, a powerful song that often switches between double-bass madness and relatively calm passages softly enough for you to only notice the change after breaking your neck from all the headbanging). Dream Theater-like riffs and odd time signatures show up from time to time, and during the 66-minutes immersion, the band never runs out of ideas, having apparently overcome the loss of André Matos, responsible for more or less half of the band’s songs in the first three albums.
It might be unfair to rate any song from this album above the others, but few deny that the album peaks at “The Temple of Hate”. While it is a fact that the song is almost a caricature of extreme power metal (with omnipresent double bass, aggressive yet beautiful double lead and extremely loud nasal vocals delivered by Kai Hansen) it is also true that it is as catchy as and much more powerful than the band’s timeless classic, Carry On. The flawless song begins with the guitars doing a very inspired double lead riff – and only that. A brief breakdown (that occupies two bars and sounds more like an explosion) gives way to the same riff, and after the breakdown is repeated the song reaches its peak speed and never slows down, choosing instead to drain every thought that does not involve headbanging from your head, only to explode it during the chorus. The song’s lyrics talk about the Siege of Jerusalem that happened in 1099, where crusaders stormed the city and ended up massacring the majority of its population. The Shadow Hunter’s wife and kids were among the murdered, and that bleak note gives way to the second, less energetic and much more experimental part of the album.
Innovative in its concept, Temple of Shadows divides Angra’s Career in two: from 1993 to 2004 the band’s recordings consisted in somewhat uniform albums that mixed power metal with regional influences and dwelt far from the extremities of both genres, and from 2004 until now their albums consist of extreme power metal songs and calm, sometimes acoustic, ballads, with stellar performances from the guitar duo and a relatively tame amount of progressive nods. More importantly, this album substituted Angels Cry as the album that Angra will be constantly trying to live up to, set a high standard for any other power metal album that is yet to come and will eventually be remembered as what it really is – a magnificent collection of songs and one of the finest recordings to ever come out of the power metal community.
Hot on the heels of the jaw-dropping Rebirth Brazilian power metal gods Angra released their massive fifth full-length Temple of Shadows. Upon first impressions I struggled to fully grasp the album, it is only now due to persisting with repeated that I can fully comprehend and understand the brilliance of this album.
Which is strange, because given the highly accessible nature of the first half of the album, along with some awesome guest appearances I should have grasped this from the get go. Stranger still is that it took me around a week to digest and come to terms with their latest Aqua, which is way more progressive. I'm not sure what it is with Temple of Shadows but it certainly took a while to eventually "click" with me.
To be fair, the album is decidedly top heavy. The opening three songs are amongst the finest in Angra's arsenal, "Spread Your Fire" is a furiously fast, raging beast of a double-kicker, equipped with glorious guitar leads, a soaring chorus, and a dosage of pants-shittingly-awesome technicality. That was the first thing that struck me about Temple of Shadows; the increase in technicality is actually scary. "Angels and Demons" is a bizarre yet surprisingly catchy number, again sporting some mind-melting technicality. There is a riff in this song which signals the middle section that is bloody nuts, one of the more ballsy Angra riffs. "Waiting in Silence" takes the more melodic approach and is without a doubt one of the very best Angra songs.
From this point onwards we begin to head towards the middle of the album, a quality ballad followed by another ass-kicking fast paced Angra song, with none other than Kai fucking Hansen adding guest vocals. Next up is "The Shadow Hunter" which is where the band begin to further tread progressive waters. This was one of the tracks that used to throw me off, and I can't fathom why as I sit here listening, what was I smoking? Progressive metal mastery.
The latter half of the album is without a doubt more progressive than the first half, it has quite a bit in common with Aqua. "Winds of Destination" is just about as awesome as they come though, and this time they have Hansi Kürsch adding guest vocals (does a power metalgasm). "Morning Star" is a majestic number, the continues to build throughout. The only slight downside to the latter half of the album is that a lot of the material is ballad-esque which certainly helped in throwing me off around the time I bought this.
At the end of the day Temple of Shadows is a stunning piece of music, although one that really requires time and attention. While I still don't think it's the pinnacle of all things Angra, like some would have you believe; it is a welcome addition to their unblemished discography, and another mandatory purchase for prog/power metal fans.
Ah, Temple of Shadows. One of Angra's greatest works, and a classic power/prog album no matter who you ask. Along with "Rebirth", this album gave Angra the undisputed crown of power metal supremacy in South America. However, I think I'm getting ahead of myself, so I will digress.
"Temple of Shadows" is a concept album concerning a Christian crusader, "The Shadow Hunter", and his spiritual journey questioning the Catholic faith. Lyrically, this album is fascinating, and I feel that there is a great amount of thought and feeling poured into the music. Written by guitarist Rafael Bittencourt, the story of the Shadow Hunter, from the awe-inspiring "Wishing Well" to the speedy and furious "Temple of Hate", is spellbinding.
Instrumentally, the band has never been tighter. Dual guitar aces Bittencourt and Loureiro are in perfect sync as they spit out lightning solos, killer leads, glorious rhythm lines, and lush acoustic support. "Temple of Shadows" is much more of a power metal album than the band's two most recent releases, and the difference in tempo on fast tracks like "Spread Your Fire", "Angels and Demons", and "Temple of Hate" is remarkable. Save "Rebirth", this is the fastest release that Angra have ever produced.
Be that as it may, there are a number of incredible mid and slow-tempo offerings as well. The most remarkable being the absolutely jaw-dropping "Wishing Well". No matter the listener's preference in music, the band must be given credit for this spectacularly well-written tune. With a highly memorable, touching chorus and some really fine guitar work, this is probably the single greatest moment on an already formidably strong album (given my general distaste for ballads, this is lofty praise from myself).
Another song of great interest is "The Shadow Hunter". Brimming over with flamenco-styled acoustic guitar and folky percussive talent, it provides the Brazilian flavor that the band incorporates into their music so well. At just over eight minutes, it's also the longest song on the album, with several distinct sections.
I find myself dwelling, as you may have noticed, on the first half of this album. The more that i listen to the album in it's entirety, I am convinced that the second half just doesn't stack up to the first half, at least for myself. "Morning Star", "Sprouts of Life", and "No Pain for the Dead" are quality tracks all, but i find them failing slightly when compared to the more catchy, dynamic, and exciting songs that fill the first half. Now granted, this tendency fits the story of the album well, since the latter songs are more brooding, sorrowful, and emotional, and this might be the real reason that i don't get into them as much. Mellow and interesting, but without the depth seen in their latest release. An exception to this general rule is the more driving "Winds of Destination", featuring Hansi Kursch of Blind Guardian with an excellent guest vocal performance.
Saying the second half of the album isn't great doesn't diminish it much however. This is, after all, still Angra doing what they do best. It's a superb album that furthered the band's hold on the hearts of many. I hadn't listened to it in its entirety for a good long while, and it has grown on me. Excellence.
Originally written for www.blackwindmetal.blogspot.com
Wow. I’m quite stunned here. I have never really followed Angra’s career, having only heard their pinnacle album HOLY LAND, but I knew that they had lost signature member Andre Matos (vocals) and had done fairly well for themselves with a replacement singer. Aside from HOLY LAND though, I haven’t heard a single note from these guys in the last seven or eight years. Even then, HOLY LAND was an OK album, good quality power metal, but nothing to write home about.
Enter 2005 (even though it was released in Europe in 2004), and Angra’s brand spanking new album, TEMPLE OF SHADOWS. I am blown away. I’m sure not many people, including myself, thought that they had an album like this in them. Quite simply, TEMPLE OF SHADOWS is the defining moment of Angra’s career, and one of the best albums to come out of the power metal genre for many years. While Angra has always been slightly more cerebral than most other power metal acts, TEMPLE OF SHADOWS manages to both heavy up Angra’s sound (check out the speed of “Spread Your Fire”) and fully immerse the band in their native land’s (that’s Brazil by the way) sounds (see the very flamenco-like and bongo-laden “Shadow Hunter”). The combination of metal music with folk influences is certainly nothing new these days, but perhaps because of their background, Angra sound authentic like very few bands can. Top it off with infectious melodies and catchy riffs, and you’ve got yourself a wonderful listening experience.
Though every song on the disc has something special going on, standouts include the one-two punch of the upbeat yet brooding “Waiting Silence” and the following Bruce Dickinson-worshipping “Wishing Well”. If that’s not the best chorus I’ve heard so far this year, it is damn close. However, if it’s pure power metal you’re seeking; look no further than “Temple of Hate” and “Winds of Destination” (with guest vocals by Hansi Kursch!).
My one and only complaint with this album is that it slightly peters out after “Sprouts of Time” with three songs that could have been cut down a bit. They’re still good, but not up to par with the first 10 songs.
Needless to say, power metal fans will down this like the gods’ nectar. However, all fans of metal would do well to at least check this album out, even only as a break from your death and black metal albums. After all, you might as well listen to the best.
- Originally written for Metal-Rules.com -
There are a few things that Brazilians are good at. Hot chicks, thrash metal, lack of surf etiquette. Soccer. I guess you could add flamboyant homosexuals in there, too. Angra don't necessarily fit into any of those stereotypes, but you can tell this band is the product of the weirdest country this side of Japan and Germany.
Angra could best be described as what happens when Brazilians cover Blind Guardian. Chaos ensues, and unfortunately it does not result in hot, tanned latin women. The singer sounds sort of like Nelson from the Simpsons, the music sounds like.. A Brazilian Blind Guardian. Melodic, epic-ish power metal, with a whole lot of camp added.
Like most power metal the faster, more intricate songs are far better then anything slower. While "Spread the Fire" has a terrible start (tip, guys: if you want a big dramatic start when your riffs come in, make the riffs [I]louder[/I] then the classical intro) but quickly recovers and it doesn't take long for you to realise that Angra can make solid power metal; the riffs are good and punchy, the synths of a high quality and mixed subtly, hell, even the operatic female vocals work pretty well. Even the dude's powerful but kooky vocal tone sounds pretty cool. The other song that really sticks in my mind would have to be "The Temple of Hate", a brilliant song where a bunch of epic sweeps and riffs give way to some righteous (really, no other word fits) soloing, all before a classical interlude comes in… and doesn't even wreck the song! Clearly, clearly these guys have some serious potential.
Things get a bit less consistent when Angra step out of the fast 'n' catchy mould, however. Plenty of highs and lows, many in the same song a few minutes from the last peak/trough. "The Shadow Hunter" is particularly schizo; a latin-ish acoustic intro building to epic power metal riffs, before some horrible acappella, with another build culminating in some brazilian-in-an-uncomfortable-gstring wailing. "Wishing Well" would have to be the most blatant Michael Bolton loving, MOR song that anyone's ever tried to pass off as a power ballad. Variety is obviously key to Angra- it's great, really, you have no idea what they'll introduce next, but on the negative side they might not be introducing something that's good. I could swear "Winds of Destination" has the singer from Blind Guardian singing in part of it, and it's got a sweet piano interlude; whereas "Sprouts of Time" has, er, maracas, truly horrible offbeat guitar lines and some not-so-sweet pianos, all culminating in a samba jam that can only be described as brutally gay. The best description I'd have for this album would be "all over the place".
Inconsistency aside, the main problem with this album is something that you've seen in every other concept album; there's just way too many ballads. The faster stuff on this album's great, really, even the super fruity intro riff to "Angels and Demons" sounds cool and builds eventually into more upbeat, catchy rocking. Over time though the ballads start to come in, the acoustic guitars start piling on, the excitement drops and the eyes start drooping. It's really frustrating; I didn't buy a power metal album to hear ballad after ballad! Give me some energetic melodic riffs! Give me some leads! Just no more ballads with average vocals and heaps of synths.. Man, if I want to hear well done classical sounds I'll put on some classical. It's no surprise that the best songs here are the ones with the highest fast guitar parts/everything else ratio.
Honestly, the amount of non-fast songs is a bummer, as when Angra do actually rock out they sound rad. Riffs are huge, it's epic, big and bombastic, refreshing and sounding really great, and all fairly layered, too. The Brazilian Blind Guardian, indeed; what could've been an amazing concept album is let down by heaps of filler and too much freaking balladry.
When most people hear the term "power metal" today they can't help but to assume it's probably an overrated album by a cheesy band that hasn't changed their style or progressed in any way during their whole career, with predictable riffing and solos that are epic in both complexity and melody, but it always seems like you've already heard it before, and of course the inevitable fantasy influences in the lyrical part, almost always involving dragons, elves, rescuing maidens, or all of the above. This may sound insulting or just a blatant stereotypical description, but I’m afraid that’s the stage most power metal bands have deteriorated to.
Angra is definitely NOT one of those bands. If anything this was one of the most original albums ever produced by a band that’s done nothing but progress throughout its 16 years of existence. I would dare say that this band has peaked with this release, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t expect another masterpiece in the near future!
Angra’s Temple of Shadows is simply one of the greatest if not the greatest album ever produced. This album has it all, starting with Edu Falaschi’s amazing vocal capabilities that can reach the highest notes, but still keep it raw and powerful, and fall back down to a soft and silent voice that can soothe any savage, his powerful voice is matched only by the limitless talent of the guitarist duo Kiko Loureiro and Rafael Bittencourt and a devastatingly beautiful drum performance by Aquiles Priester.
The album is so perfectly organized in every little aspect that it’s hardly believable it’s even possible. Angra’s managed to get some pretty big names in the power metal business to star on the album on different tracks (such as Hansi Kürsch and Kai Hansen), and every one of the guest performances fit so perfectly.
The whole release is actually a concept album (about a crusader that starts questioning his actions and his sole existence, but that’s about as all I’m going to reveal about the story since you should experience it first hand). Every song is unique, diverse, intimate and simply powerful. The tempo varies much like the speed of performance and one can hear many different influences during the playing. At this moment I can recall in my mind there were a lot of other details I wished to showcase here, but I simply cannot remember them at the moment, so I'll just sum up by adding that this album is simply brilliant, and every fan of anything heavy, powerful, and progressive should own this and enjoy it.
The music never gets boring, far from it, I loved it from the first track to the last. I’ve been listening to this album for quite some time now and after all this time it’s still my favorite, and none of the tracks got dull or boring in any way, this album is simply a masterpiece.
Sometimes I should eat my own words. Why I go talking about an album being the best? Because I believed nothing could prove me wrong. When you love so much a song or album, nothing can make you change. And I thought I wasn’t going to change.
I did. Well, maybe I’ll do. Because even I said Voimasta Ja Kunniasta was the best metal album, or at least the one I loved the most, now I may change my opinion. This, my friends, is the best metal album. Or maybe I just should stop talking shit and just say that any album I rate as perfect (you won’t find a lot of them) can be my favorite.
Angra. A second tier power metal band. Really, why listen to these bands, when you have masters like Helloween, Blind Guardian, Gamma ray, etc. Unless they have something new and fresh for the genre, you shouldn’t bother. And Angra didn’t have anything that just made you crazy.
No longer. This album is so new, fresh, powerful, technical and bombastic, that it’s unbelievable. First, this is metal. Power metal. Almost. Well, the first songs are classic power metal songs. So?, you may ask. Well. “Spread Your Fire”. “Angels and Demons”. “Wishing Well”.”The Temple of Hate”. Any of these songs, in any power metal album, are highlights. But in this album they are the only ‘pure’ power metal songs. Even in two of those there are a guest singer. Now, what’s going wrong?
Well, if you are ‘only’ a metal lover, forget this album. Get those songs, and don’t bother buying the album. All the other songs are in some part power metal songs. Very little part. Only in a few more songs. Let’s say, how would Dream Theater sound if they were Brazilian, they liked power metal and had a singer with balls? Yeah, I’m cumming too.
But before going on, the singer. Well, not the singer, but the vocal melodies. (Take a big breath). This album has the best vocal melodies ever found. That’s right. But not only because the singer, who is amazing, and maybe better that Mr. Andre Matos. It’s the songwriting. Each instrument is perfect where it is, and the vocals are another instrument. Fuck, even Hansi sings better than ever. Yes, “Winds Of Destination” has the best performance Hansi has ever done.
But you may say, why I said ‘Brazilian’ Dream Theater as a comparision? The folk elements are there. (Brazilian) Folk Progressive Power Metal? Check the flamenco intro on “The Shadow Hunter”. The salsa sound of “Sprouts Of Time”. Yes, almost all the second half of the album has a lot of experimentation, and they even have some good innovating ideas. Check the bass on “Waiting Silence”. And the best is how coherent this album is, because usually albums that want to be conceptual, have a ton of guest singers (well, there are only 5), and making each song so different to each other it looks like other band, it’s difficult. Yet they made it. The best is how the intro and the outro have melodies from “Spread your Fire” (and more songs), which make listening the album repeated times more satisfactory.
Now, those looking for highlights: this album has none. No, you can’t find any. Any song has something the other hasn’t. Crunchy riff? “Morning Star”. Complexity? “The Shadow Hunter”. Kick ass chorus and intro? “Spread Your Fire”. Best vocals and bass? “Waiting Silence”. I could go on forever. Remember, not every album is a bunch of songs. If you like albums as an un separate collective of songs, get this. Now. Guess what, that’s what every concept album is.
Now, what I hate is that a so amazing album will be just heard by some elitists, and be forgotten by society. Why couldn’t this be an album that makes different a genre? Power Metal needs a new make up. Kiuas is there helping too, but just two bands aren’t enough. Really, Prog/Power is the way to go now. Ask Pagan’s Mind and Symphony X if you want.
Well, if you are checking for new bands/albums, remember this: If listening to a flamenco acoustic intro, or some salsa, or just wanting to listen to heavy and crunchy riffs wherever, don’t get this. Get some Death, or Thrash. But the others, the ones who have read the full review, those who love music, and not just metal. Those that are looking for something new and refreshing, and are sick of listening the same thing when they see a band labeled as ‘Power Metal’, get this. Forget every other album Angra has done. You can’t compare those to this masterpiece. This album is so rich, complex, but at the same time accessible, that people will se it on the future, and remember it, not as ‘that awesome album’, but as a classic. That’s what this deserves. No music collection is completed without this. What are you waiting for?
Temple of Shadows had alot to live up to with the sheer hype of their previous intricate Prog/Power epitome. Has it succeeded in it attempt to destroy their self made compitition? I'd say fuck yes, these guys have become more technical but still maintaining that solid, always exciting songwriting style. This album is stuffed with: Heavyness, Thrash, Power (Vocals mainly), Progressive, Italian (beginning of Shadow Hunter), and classical. This surely proves their diversity as a band. So few power metal bands can came close to these guys, all of their members can clearly play their instruments. Check out "Temple Of Hate" to hear what I speak of, also there total thrash ownage with Kai Hansen (ex-Helloween singer/guitarist, now in Gamma Ray)doing guest vocals. Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian) also appears along with, Floor Jansen (After Forever, Star One), Sabine Edelsbacher of (Edenbridge) fame.
Angra is easily Brazil's finest. Also the keyboards on here I believe bach himself would be proud with the fine compositions. It's only recently that I have got into Temple of Shadows, and Rebirth so i'm not familiar with their earlier works so no comparison can be made. I'd definatly like to see them replicate these tracks live, I can only wonder if they can't match this intensity. Angra definatly impressed the hell out of me, Angels and Demons was the first track I heard, It's great how they incorperate thrash with Prog metal, possibly the best attribute they hold. Basically Temple of Shadows won't dissapoint any avid Prog/Power fanatic. Cheers
Standout(s): Winds Of Destination, Angels And Demons, Waiting Silence, Temple Of Hate, Shadow Hunter, Sprouts Of Time
Whenever I get into an album that seems at the time like the best thing ever, I feel lost as to how I could ever describe in words how it is that it’s so great without going overboard and detracting from its goodness. And with this album that is exactly the case. For at least two weeks after this CD came through my door I just could not bear to go for more than a few hours without reaching for it. Yet I was afraid of listening to it too much lest I have it permanently stuck in my head and losing all sleep. At times this was actually a problem. But I can’t help having such an emotional connection to an album if throughout there are uplifting melodies that are emotional in the best way possible, but also technical and progressive moments as well as the quintessential Angra power metal sound.
To top off the musical excellence, the album follows the rough storyline of a man back in the 11th century or earlier who is questioning his role in the Catholic Church, questioning their morals and going on to form his own short-lived religion. The songs don’t follow the storyline in order apart from the beginning and end, but it’s not hard to piece it together. This is a rare form of anti-Christianity for metal, but being from what can be a strongly Catholic country, it’s not too likely that they’d get away with Satanism if they wanted to have a universal appeal. That’s not to say that Catholics won’t be offended by this album, or that there’s no positive religious/spiritual elements, but the impression left is that the listener thinks for themselves, or something like that. Onto the obligatory track-by-track guide:
01 – Deus Le Volt: The obligatory intro track, but one that leads into the next track with an exciting crescendo. Pretty standard stuff, but if executed well then what’s to complain about?
02 – Spread Your Fire: It’s the essential gung-ho opening track (barring the intro in this case) that we all love. Vocal harmonies have that power metal fists in the air awesomeness to them, as do the layered backing vocals giving a very operatic male choir effect. Rhapsody fans should be satisfied. The big shame about things like that is that they’d not be able to fully re-create that live, as good a live act as they are. If you like your guitar solos there’s a wonderfully wanky middle section where they go off on a tangent that’s not too far out of context with the song, but then anybody with that musical skill won’t go off on too much of a tangent anyway. There’s also a female soprano in there for good measure too.
03 – Angels and Demons: Another gloriously happy tune, but with a moderately prog-like sounding 7/8 time signature at the beginning.
04 – Waiting Silence: The mood takes a different turn here, and they’ve used a different rhythm and tempo to fit it, along with some mean chords. This is my least favourite song off the album but it’s certainly not sub-par, which is definitely a good sign.
05 – Wishing Well: It’s seen as a great crime in some metal circles to create an uplifting anthemic ballad, and if you hate those, steer well clear of this song. If you love them, then stop reading this and download it now.
06 – The Temple Of Hate: At first I was thinking that Edu was trying to sound evil or devilish in some way here, but on further inspection of the sleeve notes it is Kai Hansen of Helloween fame who guests on this song. What has to be heard is the abrasive ‘aah’s at the end of this song where it slows down. Just so metal, much like early ‘90s Priest.
07 – The Shadow Hunter: A slightly subdued sounding epic with some great classical guitar work at the beginning, showing their Brazilian roots much like at other times in this album. “God has no mind, has no heart, has no body has no soul, and no resemblance of you” is just so blunt, and in one sense daring, but it’s sung with such conviction and I can’t help but feel with it.
08 – No Pain for the Dead: A sorrowful track that’s not without an awesome chorus, and also features the enchanting voice of Sabine from Edenbridge who also features on Track 2.
09 – Winds of Destination: Again I was a complete moron here and wondered for ages why it is that Edu is managing to pull of a Hansi Kürsch impression so well. Yes, he guests on this song, and his voice works really well with Angra’s sound. There are various middle sections here that might try a few peoples’ patience, but certainly not mine. The male choir at the end wraps things up in a brilliantly pompous way.
10 – Sprouts of Time: This is where the Brazilian rhythmic elements really come into play, with Edu’s voice lowering for this one. A nice chord progression in the chorus as there is in every song.
11 – Morning Star: A sort of epic that doesn’t have lots of very different sections like most epics do, it’s more of an extended song. The rhythm guitar at the beginning is very much like that of Steve Vai in terms of atmospherics, which can be heard at times throughout. If the chorus doesn’t make you feel great then you’re not my friend and I don’t want to talk to you.
12 – Late Redemption: A sombre ending track with some Portuguese male vocals sung in low octaves. This bit is where the main character in the story dies and is offered late redemption, hence the title.
13 – Gate XII: Since the album has been so awesome it just wouldn’t be half as good if it didn’t have an instrumental for the orchestra at the end. It’s a rough medley based on the songs. It clicks with the emotions like a good film score does, so this is like an ending credits song for a film. The main motif from Morning Star triumphantly crashes to an end, followed by a short, calm acoustic motif of Winds of Destination. The End.
Being one of those epic/awesome albums, this left an impression on me like a great film does. It’s not often that a metal album should ‘move’ me, to use the correct word, as the main reason I listen to metal is for the technical excellence rather than the sort of feelings it might invoke. Not that there’s any lack of that in this album...
I can’t guarantee that any of the songs will blow you away on first listen, but with patience you may well have a soft spot for them. You might not agree that this is the best of the best in terms of Power Metal albums, but as for albums of any genre, this stands very high.
Times of comparing old and new Angra has ended. With Temple of Shadows Angra shows what are they capable of after the break between their original master minds. It seems that these guys have a new particular sound, different from Angels Cry, but without the shadows of the old members haunting the opinions of the listeners as happened with Rebirth. Temple of Shadows is a conceptual album, something unseen in the Angra discography since Holy Land, but in these times we must focus on the music before the concepts of the albums. Yes, it’s important the lyrical theme because, along with the music, is a complement of the idea that the musician is trying to express. But let’s talk about this album.
Versatility is the word that describes better this album. Temple of Shadows goes from the typical elements of power and speed metal to the sweetness of classical music mixed with traces of latin/flamenco style (just listen to Gate XIII or to The Shadow Hunter intro), passing through progressive passages throughout the album (specially Angels and Demons, but just hear to the soloing structure). Classical arrangements have always been an important part of Angra and this time isn’t the exception, fitting perfectly to the main atmosphere of the album. The guitar solos are, as always, one of the best. It seems that Loureiro and Bittencourt still have some kind of magic between them in their interpretations. And talking about the rhythmic part, Andreoli and Priester sound better than in Rebirth, but I would like to hear more of the awesome bass riffs which appeared in Rebirth. Finally, Falaschi shows of what he is really made. He is not trying to emulate Matos no more, giving a special sound to the whole album, joined by some guest appearances of well-known personalities of metal: Kai Hansen, Hansi Kürsch and Floor Jansen.
Resuming, Temple of Shadows is a great album and Angra remains as one of the best. Keep an eye, we’ll see what comes later. Highlights of the album: Spread Your Fire, Temple of Hate, The Shadow Hunter, Winds of Destination… well, let just say Temple of Shadows.
As a power metal fan I am a little selective. Most punters into this form of music are. There are some who claim to love everything and all when it comes to power metal, but with such a cluttered scene (and one that has a particularly uninspiring middle tier of bands) it is hard to see how you can view each act on a level playing field. In my mind at least, the difference between the great and merely solid is simply staggering. For immediate evidence, Brazilian act Angra is most definitely part of the former category.
Angra are a phenomenally good power metal act folks - probably one of the best, in fact. They’ve always been part of that exclusive upper tier of the genre and ‘Temple of Shadows’ only further establishes their reputation. Having said that, for me, it has taken until this new album to fully realize and appreciate the talents of this band. In the past Angra’s output has certainly impressed me, but never did I really believe that they did anything that separated them from the pack. Whilst it is nothing overtly progressive, there is ample evidence on ‘Temple of Shadows’ that this is the album that begins to establish Angra as something of an individual entity in the genre.
One of the more impressive aspects about ‘T&S’ is that it sounds like such a cohesive effort. And after a near break-up and the addition of three new members for the previous ‘Rebirth’ disc, ‘T&S’ demonstrates an Angra that is firing with new found inspiration and technicality. There is an incredible professionalism and confidence within this disc – the progressive song writing, the stunning musicianship and overall melodic dynamics are something to behold.
With an absolutely flawless production ‘Temple of Shadows’ literally explodes from the very beginning. I don’t often name check individual songs in my reviews, but in this instance it needs to be noted: The first three tracks that follow a short instrumental introduction are classic power metal moments. Laced with melodic vitality and energy ‘Spread Your Fire, Angles and Demons and Waiting Silence’ demonstrate exactly what is so enthralling about this style of music. The melody, the speedy double bass, the shredding (and heavy) riffs, searing leads (the technical skills of guitarists Rafael Bittencourt and Kiko Loureiro need to heard) and fantastic vocals (Edu Falaschi is brilliant) are staple components of this music – a lot of power metal bands have little idea in how to properly link them together to form some sort of cohesive composition. Angra, on the other hand, have it in spades.
Not content with offering up speedy, standard structure power metal (of the highest order though), Angra have been bold enough to play with the style and to explore some new sounds. There are some prog-rock/metal like elements on this, flamenco guitar, folk and tribal rhythms and even a hint of jazz and symphonic rock opera characteristics. The last quarter of the album definitely moves in a more experimental direction. Fortunately enough, unlike their Italian sound-a-likes ‘Rhapsody’, Angra aren’t quite as bonkers and have reigned in their progressive moments to act as an underlying flavor rather than an overbearing maelstrom. It must be stated though (and this is only a slight criticism), that at 67 minutes, ‘T&S’ might just be a track or two too long for those looking for something a bit more direct (you’ll have to get over it).
‘T&S’ is power metal of the highest order. This is what the style is all about. There might be a few bands that I rank above Angra (Blind Guardian, Symphony X and Lost Horizon), but as far as quality power metal, you may as well throw a blanket over the lot of them. One word review: Breathtaking.
Krozza: written for www.pyromusic.net and www.wallsoffire.de
When you are looking for the meaning of the concept "Mature Album", you should take a look to this one. All the members are in perfect harmony: here you can listen to what good teams do when all the members believe on what they want. But let's go step by step.
The first melody, "Deux Le Volt!" is what any Angra album should have: A sample of what five guys highly influenced by classical and orchestrated music can do without electric/electronic instruments. Bittencourt studied music as a profession and here's the result. Also, it's a kind of "seal" that any Angra fan can recognize.
Then, we fall abruptly into a double kick drum based beat, the power metal that makes our neck go forward and backward until we get dizzy. Of course, an epical song should start with a powerful guitar solo to drive us to the correct mood. We can find here the Angra's basis: Musical scales that build the body of the entire song, and the well known guitar solos or guitar duets performed by Loureiro and Bittencourt that makes us realize we are dealing with professionals. In this one, Falaschi shows the audience he has his own style, avoiding the extremely high notes Matos used to sing. The soprano and choral support puts the accent on this one as the beginning of the journey.
"Angels and Demons" keep us in the fast beat mood. Lyrics talk about inner states of mind, letting us know that everybody has two faces and depends on us to choose the correct way. Nice... they let us know that the guy of this story will have to face several troubles until he can reach the morning star. The music could be part of the "Rebirth" album, but with the difference that this one is totally connected with the rest of the album as a whole tale, a cluster of a great chain.
"Waiting Silence" takes the atmospheric synth as a basis and then develops a good melody where Falaschi keeps showing us he has a great voice control. Although some musical bridges in this one make us remember some Dream Theater songs (including the guitar solos), we can realize that Angra really wants to expand their musical styles to outer limits. This is the fourth track of the album and Angra has changed from power metal to progressive metal and the audience keeps the interest on it.
"Wishing Well". A nice melody based on alternative acoustic instruments, chord arrangements and choirs that makes us want to hold our hands and shout: "OK, all together now: ...Journeys to the sacred ground of dreamland..." Of course this should be the first choice to release a promotional video. It has all the ingredients for all kind of audiences: The non-metalers will rock their heads and say "Hey! I didn't know that band could do that kind of sweet music". The metalers will pay attention to Kiko/Bittencourt solo and the long and powerful vocals of Falaschi... and don't forget that the lyrics have the exact mixture between "We can make it, boys" and the "What the heck am I doing here holding my neighbor's hand?” A good one for the people who wants to know about Angra in the soft way.
Old Angra takes control again with "The Temple of Hate" song. In fact, the beginning of this song could be the "Carry On Part II" until you realize there's a little devil singing among Falaschi. I know this voice effect was developed to let the audience know about the duality between good and bad, dark and light, but honestly, sometimes the "Little demon" voice sounds ridiculous and makes me draw on my face a little smile. Beside this, we can listen to the good power metal Angra use to provide to their fans, the one with violins in the background while the drum beat ask us to raise our hands with three fingers up. Guitar solos could make Petrucci want to attend to some Loureiro's workshops and the great musical bridge where violins precedes the powerful guitar accents makes this song worth to press the "Repeat A" button.
"Shadow Hunter" Is a very good song. A Spanish influence makes this one totally different from the other ones. We can listen here to a more clean vocals supported by the acoustic guitar and bright percussions. When the distorted guitar takes control, it slips through the melody without making it heavier or hard to listen. The vocal harmonies are quite successful, brings to the audience a beautiful prelude for the excellent guitar solos that travels from the almost atmospheric mood to the power of the double kick drum beat.
And then, we have a sweet melody with amazing lyrics that makes us think about life and death. I think this is one of the best songs of this album. In "No Pain for The Dead" Angra shows us that they are capable to make great ballads with the exact dose of distorted guitar hits and brilliant orchestrated musical bridges. That's what makes a progressive band grow, experimenting with tempos, voices, musical bridges and alternative developments to finally come back to the main line. The female voice here couldn't be better and Falaschi gives us a good sample of what a controlled voice power can do for a song like this. Two thumbs up for this one!!
"Winds of Destination" is a good song but I don't know why I feel Angra went so far with the down tempo parts. I think they rescued the whole song building that off beat part right before falling again in the main line of the song. It has the Angra's seal, there is no doubt about this, but again, you could place this song in the "Fireworks" album or even the "Freedom Call" one. Going back to the roots is not bad, but after listening to eight provocative songs, I feel it's a kind of unnecessary regression.
Brazil is here! "Sprouts of time" remember the audience where all these guys come from. Percussions are tasty and make you move your toes, right? Falaschi's voice is lower than usual and I think this is good because most of the times power/speed metal singers are always reaching the higher notes forgetting that low male voice can be beautiful too. Latin mood with the impeccable Loureiro's solos gives to this one an identity; not only about the band but the region they steal their inspiration. Another style added to this album... Good!
"Morning Star" is, for me, the best song. The change between the Brazilian rhythms on "Sprouts of time" and the beginning of this one is perfect. You will keep moving your toes until an atmospheric musical bridge where you can listen to some jazzy guitar and bass touch fills the air. Falachi's voice, once more, bright and let us know this sweet beginning is the "happy ending" of the story. The melody becomes a little heavier when distorted guitars support the main chorus, and when you think the second verses will repeat the main melody, Angra turns the power on and gives us a good dose of heavy guitar riffs and solos accompanied with the strong drum and cymbal hits. Neck is moving again, my friend, and you can feel the good power metal those guys know how to make. Some more verses and, without noticing it, they bring the main chorus again to finally end with a good orchestral arrangement that pulls the curtain down and closes this journey.
Ummmm... I know I closed the story with "morning star", but this is because I feel that "Late redemption" was a kind of "We want to sing with the big guy" song. Beautiful song, indeed, but not related with the rest of the album. It's a kind of permission that big bands gave to themselves and why not? A kind of more emotional stuff for Angra members. I'm sure that 90% of Angra fans just don't know who is Milton Nascimento, just because we are not Brazilian and, it's OK, he has his own style and those guys wanted to collaborate with a great star... but I think the rest of the people will press the "next" button al let the music flow.
"Gate XIII" is a great orchestral arrangement where all the songs contained on this album are played as a reminder of the excellent album just have ended. In fact, it takes a little while to realize that all the songs are included here until you recognize the "Morning Star" chorus. With this one, you can close your eyes and think about the end titles going up on a black screen while you're trying to remember if you press the "Repeat Disc" button.
Wow, have Angra delivered big time with this new album. Just wow. Coming off the very good Rebirth album which was the debut of new singer Edu Falaschi, it seems everything came into place for the band on this album.
If you scan Angra's catalogue, one will see that they have never made the same album twice. The debut Angels Cry was an exercise in power metal ala Helloween. However, with the excellent guitar work and godly power vocals of Andre Matos, that album, IMO, is one of the great power metal albums of all time.
One would expect them to make the same exact album but no, Angra go in a completely opposite direction and go progressive on your ass. Guess what? It still works as Holy Land was another excellent release. Keeping fans on their toes, they then release Fireworks which is more straight forward metal/hard rock but still a quality release.
Then Matos, the bassist, and drummer leave so Angra revamps the lineup and comes up with Rebirth which mixes the power and prog with the more aggressive vocals of Falaschi. Great album.
However, the new album takes the mix of power/prog a step further and it seems like Falaschi is more comfortable on this ablum since he is past the Matos comparisons.
Every single damn thing on this album is top notch. The songwriting, the lyrics (it is a concept album), the guitar work, the vocals and the production. Its as perfect as one could get.
Lets get into some of the songs:
After the expected intro, the album kicks off in glorious fashion with "Spread your Fire". First thing that I noticed was the guitars are a bit heavier than on Rebirth. Second thing is that Falaschi is not impersonating Matos but singing more in his style (which is like a Brazilian mix of Dickinson and Tobias of Edguy). The song also has some guest female vocals in an operatic style that compliments it.
Next up is Angels & Demons which is another power metal scorcher. This is followed by the best song of the album and prolly of Angra's career - Waiting Silence. This song is nothing short of brilliant and is an exercise of how keyboards should be used. They add a glorious dimension with a magnificent guitar melody. And Falaschi shines again.
Wishing Well is next and is a poppy ballad that most non power metal fans would hate. However, it is done very well and is gives you a breather.
Caught your breath? Great, now swallow Temple of Hate! Holy crap is this a heavy and killer song. It also features Kai Hansen as a special guest so you know this song rocks.
Shadow Hunter and No Pain For the Dead follow. Both plod along a bit slower but are still awesome. Next is Winds of Destination with Hansi Kursh as a guest. Wow, Angra has some connections, huh? This song is epic, heavy, glorious, and mind blowing.
Time to slow down things a bit again with Sprouts of Time. Now how many metal albums could you salsa dance to? Prolly none except for this song. Its a ballad with some heavy brazilian/latino flavor.
Next up is the epic Morning star which is followed appropriately with Late Redemption and Gate XII. The song selection and placing is perfect. The album flows naturally like a well written novel.
One final comment I must add is the guitar work. It is nothing short of amazing. The riffs are fat and heavy and the solos soar,
In conclusion, if you are interested in any power metal, then I highly urge you to hear this album. And not only must you hear it but you must give it a few spins because it is so complex and intricate that there is no way to engulf all that is going on in one shot.
This albums deserves much attention. For such attention, you will be rewarded greatly.
Temple of Shadows marks the fifth full-length Angra release; the second album since the major line-up change. This one is a concept album and it is hard not to admit this has been one of Angra’s strongest releases yet and they have rave reviews all over Europe to prove it – check out the statistics on their website for more information. I found the music on Temple of Shadows melodic, powerful, technical, oft-times complex and the musicians’ virtuosity was both manifestly and latently displayed on the album as a whole; the concept and lyrics were - despite my personal convictions - thought-provoking and undoubtedly well-written, showing how insightful, even intellectual, Mr. Bittencourt (guitars; he wrote all the lyrics and I assume he came up with the concept as well) is.
First of all I must say that Angra (especially the original line-up) is my favourite band and it is up to you to decide how this fact may colour my perception of this album. What elevated their music above most other bands was their melodic sound that to me other bands have not been able to match. On Temple of Shadows, this melodic sound has not been compromised or over-done at all. Tons of it was present on the record, much to my pleasure, along with the awe-inspiring virtuosity of one of the best guitar duos in metal, Kiko Loureiro and Rafael Bittencourt. This time the riffs and the guitar tone seem more powerful than before. This album re-affirms their reputation of playing great solos which are manically fast, intricate, technical, tasteful and above all, melodic. Every solo sounds different and actually adds to the song rather than selfishly “stealing the show”.
The rhythm section of bassist Felipe Andreoli and drummer Aquiles Priester cannot be overlooked either; they were tight and matched the transcendental guitar work of their axe-wielding companions. At the front of the mix is Eduardo Falaschi, who sounds even more powerful than before, but on softer parts Falaschi shows how versatile he is by toning down his aggressiveness. One of the greatest anxieties since Matos’s departure has been the ability of a new vocalist to deliver. I must say that Falaschi has far surpassed expectations by doing the vocals in the way he is best at but without rendering Matos obsolete. I think it is now safe to say that the (perceived) diminished credibility caused by Matos’s departure has been dissipated, much of this due to Falaschi’s fine vocal performance.
As for the music itself, again the guitar work sells itself but the band has demonstrated very competent song-writing here. Every instrument complemented each other and added to the overall experience. Complexity was evident in the slick time changes, seeing transitions from fast, heavy parts to slower, more mellow ones. Clean and acoustic guitars were utilized most appropriately and masterfully at times. Diverse influences are also present here which makes the album more tasteful and interesting, and this record sees more than just classical influences. The orchestral segments of the music (most notably the first and last tracks), however, seems very different from other bands with a symphonic sound. Choirs were also added at very cleverly chosen parts to add a degree of grandeur to an already astounding record. Overall, the band manifests very mature and unique song-writing without detracting too far from the classic Angra sound, done with liberal amounts of soul, emotion and power. Temple of Shadows is not a record just anyone can come up with. It is proof that Angra is not a band which will stick to conventions or play trite, mediocre music which evokes a sense of homogeneity, the sort critics of power metal are quick to mention when pigeon-holing bands.
As expected, the production on this record is immaculate and Dennis Ward should be commended on his work. I may not be an engineer but I doubt that the orchestral parts were easy to mix into the rest of the sound but Ward did a great job nonetheless; each instrument’s prominence was also very precise with none sounding too overwhelming or too soft but just right. It is too seldom that I can say this about a record. The album featured very tastefully designed liner-notes which complemented the music.
One major scruple I have however is the seemingly perfervid invective against the Catholic Church which seems to be a theme in Temple of Shadows’s central concept. I am a Protestant, so phrases like “Satan is a child of our God” and “Jesus was just a man” are quite offensive to me. Jesus was NOT a mere man at all and statements otherwise are attempts to assassinate the deity of Christ, most of which are largely factually unfounded (all right, a theological discussion is better left for other occasions). My convictions are mine but I am sure many share these sentiments. Nonetheless, the author has his right to express himself and his beliefs, a right that should not be disrespected. Major themes of the record, I find, are individuality, humanity and toleration, all appropriately evinced. This album's concept has a slightly philosophical exposition of human experience that is not at all cloyingly surreal but is in fact maturely conceived. I will acquiesce that the lyrics and concept of this album was able to engage with me on an intellectual level. I do understand the concept is in the end fiction despite its strong allusions to historical events. There might have been some confusion about the “Roman Empire’s sovereignty…” though: by the beginning of the second millennium AD the Western Roman Empire had already crumbled whereas the Eastern (Byzantine) Empire, though in decline, was still quite strong as its emperor was able to get Crusader barons to swear fealty to him. This alone is not enough to derail the strength of the album’s central concept and I think it is much more convincing and powerful than most concept albums, definitely the most enjoyable concept album for me personally. I would even go so far as to explicitly rank it as on par – if not even better – than its more well-known counterparts Scenes From A Memory (Dream Theater) and Operation: Mindcrime (Queensrÿche). As for the lyrics, they were definitely well-written and communicated the ideas of the central concepts most felicitously. I will not complain about how that old mystique which made the original Angra’s lyrics so appealing to me was slightly toned down to facilitate the listener’s understanding of the concept. Together with Falaschi’s prurient delivery, his vocals occasionally accentuated with choirs that were not overdone, this album is sheer class and of astounding quality.
My version of the album has the bonus DVD and it was a steal at the equivalent of US $27 (about 20 Euros) thanks to a local record store. Other people have reviewed it (Live in Sao Paulo - Rebirth World Tour DVD) on this site so you may want to check it out.
In conclusion, a fine album in all aspects, and I might say, veritable perfection. This record cannot succumb to the oft-cited criticisms of melodic power metal, excepting Angra’s fondness of playing in the major key (but the music varies a whole lot). Angra’s sound has evolved for the better. Prodigal musicianship, virtuoso (but controlled) guitar work, copious variety and a compelling concept make this album a keeper. This has certainly been enjoyable to listen to, an enjoyment which does not seem to be ephemeral in the least. If you like metal that is not necessarily all minor key then I recommend this album. This is a solid and yet not complete departure from the stereotypical European melodic power metal movement I think, a genre which has earned for itself plenty of criticism.
Angra is, alongside Sepultura, Brazils biggest metal export. The year 2004 arrived and the news of a new studio album from Angra was heard and I questioned myself: How would they approach the music? Follow the paths of “Rebirth” or doing something completely new?
The answer was “Temple of Shadows”, a blend of “Rebirth” and “new”. The influences of Brazilian music, classical music and other styles are clearly heard, just like on “Rebirth”, but “Temple of Shadows” is more than that. It’s an experiment, a concept album, which is much more interesting to follow than “Rebirth”, which was more of a “safe” album.
With “Temple of Shadows” Angra has used many different styles. The first song, “Spread Your Fire” is an example of fast and unoriginal power metal at its fastest. Angra is an original and interesting band; they should not start interfering with this kind of metal. I don’t mind the music, it’s quite good actually, but it’s not what Angra do best. The fourth track is where the album rises up to magical levels; “Waiting Silence” is a sheer beautiful song; the kind of song only Angra could compose. The same goes for track number ten, “Sprouts of Time”. One of Angras best ever and Edu’s fantastic singing skills is shown. Mind-blowing!
In between we find Kai Hansen singing an aggressive and fast metaller, “Temple of Hate”; “The Shadow Hunter” a long and powerful song, but somewhat lacking of true feeling; and Hansi Küsch singing “Winds of Destination”, a quite complex song when it comes to song-writing. Progressive in its style with lots of changes, while the music is more of power metal. The chorus in itself is a true masterpiece too.
The album ends with “Morning Star”, a powerful and extremely well-written mid-tempo song; “Late Redemption” which is an uninteresting song which just goes over the top; and the “outro” “Gate XIII” – a five minute instrumental ending featuring a symphony orchestra – wonderful!
All in all, “Temple of Shadows” is a beautiful album, but maybe just too uneven. From soothing ballads to raging power metal is just too far fetched and sometimes too tiring. But the majority of songs are great examples of true Brazilian metal from one of the most interesting bands in the modern metal scene.
GodDAMN, it certainly took them long enough. After a number of botched attempts and could-have-beens, the extremely talented Angra has finally created their opus magnum, at least for now. This album is a shining example of Euro-Power and deserves a place on any fan's shelf.
The first improvement over early works you can notice is the disposal of the single-line, boring melodies. The silly nothings that comprised earlier works have been replaced by complex, intricate epic melodies that rival Rhapsody in the sheer intensity and glory of the song structures. There is also an incredible degree of variety in their songs that, while not quite on par with Stratovarius, makes for some incredible musical variety and songs that never even approach boring. If I had to pick the most similar-sounding band I would say Edguy/Avantasia, because a lot of this stuff sounds like peak Edguy, but it is infinitely more fun to listen to than all but the best Edguy has to offer.
Also noticeable is the incredible technical proficiency of the band. Now, I have never accused Angra of being technical slouches, but the maturation from their earlier works to this point is unbelievable. The guitar work is clean and crisp, the vocals are excellent and never overdone, the drumming is excellent without taking away from the rest of the music, and the production is fucking incredible. The epic orchestral backgrounds and choral numbers (Gate XIII is absolutely incredible as an orchestral finale to the album) blend in perfectly with the Heavy Metal rife throughout this epic album. As for the star-studded list of guest artists, they deliver (as they always do), but they don't even come close to making the album, which is really a testament to the quality of this album.
A final note is Angra's famed "accessibility" factor, which I mostly attribute to the major keys and happy atmospheres that define most of their stuff. In the past this often tended to trivialize their work by making it sound poppish and inconsequential, but in Temple of Shadows it merely adds to their awesome sound. Again, this is a sign of Angra's meteoric rise in maturity and quality.
This album ranks among the absolute best of Euro-Power, and even if you didn't like earlier Angra (like me), do yourself a favor and give this a try. Without a doubt this is the best work Angra has ever put out there, and in the future this could easily be the benchmark by which legions of Euro-Power yet to come will be judged.
I was a great fan of Angra when I didn’t know metal very well. Now I refined my taste [or did I just “Deathlize” it?], but I have to admit, this is a great album. After the average “Rebirth” and the HORRIBLE “Hunters and Prey” [Only the first ones saves the album, but not that thing…], the new line-up had redeemed themselves with this masterwork, that of course will become a classic.
The band went to a Progressive like style à la Dream theater [See “Angels & Demons”], but with the same fast and brainless guitar of Kiko Loureiro, and the great compositions of Rafael Bittencourt. The bass sounds more clean and loud, but the surprises of the record was the great evolution of Aquiles Priester, the South-African drummer and the less “gay” vocals of Edu Falaschi.
Yes he stopped to try to imitate André Mattos [that has gay vocals by nature] and returned to the old and great times of Symbols. I know a lot of people will blame me for saying this, but the vocals this way matches with the music style and the concept of the ambience that they was trying to pass.
The guests are great! Kai Hansen made a perfect singing and playing in “Temple of Hate” [that is one of my favorites, along with “Spread Your Fire”], and the duos with Edu sounds really great. “Wings of Destination” with Hansi Kursch is in concept a good music, but could be better… The rhythm falls a little after the seventh music, so this music matches the history of the record, when it’s approaching the end. The participations of Sabine Edelsbacher and Floor Jansen is confined to backing vocals and some duos with Edu. But is too hard to know which of the girls is singing. The last guest is some kind of surprise, Milton Nascimento, the Brazilian MPB [Musica Popular Brasileira – Brazilian Popular Music] singer, participates on “Late Redemption”, last singed track of the record. This music has some portuguese passages and some phrases on the chorus, but nothing like “Caça e Caçador”. In “Shadow Hunter” there are some brazilian percussions and guitar rhythm, but not too exaggerated.
The history of the record, well it’s a history of a Templar that goes against the church, but I will not tell it here cause I don’t want to ruin your pleasure hehehe.
The cover was made by Isabel de Amorim, a Portuguese illustrator, that have some fetish for circles [see the other covers with circles in www.izagrafic.net]. She made the last two albums cover.
Well, this is a record that I think will start a new age of Angra [well I hope].
Sorry for my poor English and some mistakes. To see this text in Portuguese [BR] go to www.fotolog.net/metalcovers.
Ok, let's start by saying that this is the first Angra album that they have done through a concept. It's about "The Shadow Hunter". This Saga tells the story of the Knights of the Cross and in particular, of this crusader and his misadventures. The concept is very well made, with the story told upon the lyics and quotes of the bible in latin suporting this and that.
Deus Le Volt is a beautyful instrumental song that last to the exact second of perfection not to bore you but to unadvertedly kick you in the face with the powerful Spread Your Fire, in which the participation of Floor Jansen gives it a very operatic feeling. The lyrics are told by the title, it isn't the best lyrical composition but the music and the ambient gives it a very magical feeling.
Angels and Demons is a better track lyrically speaking, since it tries to explain how the knight in question tries to sustain the Theory of Light "based on the forgiveness of Satan, the absence of God, the Atheist love and the Gnosis. ' No absolute truth can exist in a conscious mind, because every single thought is submitted to an individual and arbitrary judgment'."
Sticking to the music, this is again a very powerful up tempo (as the previous) song, with great performances from all the new Angra. The bass until now haves less presence than before, but the melodies are very worked out and Edu Falasci sure can sing.
Waiting Silence is a mid tempo, I dare to say, experimental track. This album haves an experimental Dream Theater feeling to it, not that it mixes techno music and that shit but the musicians do experiment with a bit of a lá DT guitars. This is in all, a good track; it is about the desperation of the infamous Hunter and how he compares it to the troops' attack, the "Waiting Silence hovering seconds before the desperate screams". Maybe it turns a bit boring in the end for the repeating chorus, but no big deal.
Wishing Well is a semi christian song (no harm done since we are telling the story of a fanatic Christian living in fanatic Christians time), "All that matters is the faith inside you. If there's a God (...) He is everywhere!" Lyricaly it wouldn't be the brightest crayon in the pack, but the song is beatifuly composed, a mid tempo ballad, with a great solo. Visions telling secrets on the Dreamland, and my fortune ends, in the Wishing Well." Too bad we have the same formula with this song as we've been having in almost every track so far, the endless repetition (don't worry is no Angel and the Gambler) of the choruses until it ends abruptly or fades away.
Now we are abruptly punched in the face by The Temple of Hate, one of the best songs in the album. A very powerful uptempo power metal song about the ruthless Christian conquerors who slaughtered Muslims and Jews because Deus Le Volt (it's God Will). We have the incursion of violins in minute 3:39 which gives it a very mystical feeling along with a power metal vibe, almost typical now-a-days, but it surely works. The chorus is very catchy and will stick to you "Sounds of revolution, Freedom is proclaimed, Bells anouncing changes for the better, in the temple of hate, Satan Awaits!".
The Shadow Hunter is the longest song of this album, it kicks in with a flamenco like guitar and percussion, it gives a precius feeling to the concept that the Hunter talks with a gypsy prostitute (hence the music), to tell him that he he is the chosen one. " ' The words of the old man won't have any sense until you find the morning star (...) Your mission is important, but it is not in the army' ". Then he goes to war and is injured "Loosing blood, he collapses before getting back to Constantinople". And dreams about the lost scrolls bidden in the ruins of the Temple of Solomon and inside the lost caves by the Dead Sea..the music is very "percused" (if that's a word) and includes a very worked guitar playing, but no riffs for the fisrt 5 minutes, the riffs start kicking in 5:10 exactly, it is if you ask me an enjoyable song, again I feel the experimentation of Dream Theater in it, specially with the solo at 5:30 until the past 6 mins... I like how this song ends "God has no mind, has no heart, Has no body, has no soul and no resemblance of you, No ! Like chasing the wind..."
I will now stop telling the story so I don't ruin it to you if you wish to buy the album..
Again we are introduced with mellow sounding guitars to No Pain For The Dead, this is because it features a sad story which angers him right in 1:15 min past the song . It is important to say that the moods are very well created in this album, if you take the little time to read the story (which is above each lyric), then I am sure you will enjoy this album furthermore. This song features Floor Jansen again (though you can hear her choirs almost all along the album), in minute 2:58, with a full paragraph this time for her to chant, then it enters to a duet with Edu Falasci until the song fades.
Winds of Destination blasts through, presented by a very Apocalyptica like celo , and then, again I feel the experimentation. But after that bit, we have the unmistakable voice of Hansi Küsch ! Dueting with Edu Falasci in another of the best songs of the album.. lyrically this song is also deep and treats the Templars (my favourite subject) in a closer way, so it gets more points for that. The keyboards are featured through all the album, but they are less omniprescent than in previous releases, I dare to say they add just the exact feeling needed to this oh so different album.
Sprouts of Time start with an experimental music again, carried by almost brasilian like percusion and mystique guitars and keyboards. I must take my guess to say that this is the song that features Milton Nascimento on vocals in the first minute of the song, that if he's a singer, I don't know him. It really kicks in 1:40 after the song started with these really moody and very well done pieces. But we have again in 2:30 the brazilian like percussion, which acompanies a solo in a classic gutiar which last almost until 3:30 and in the 3 minutes we have again the sounds of DT experimentation. This is a song I really like because of the sounds involved, the melodies and the percussion.
Morning Star features almost the same things that we just saw in Sprouts of Time, a brazilian like percussion, a DT sounding guitar and bass through past the first minute of the song, and some keyboards. The formula is almost the same, but I think it picks it up where the other song left it and complements it with a heavier feeling. Though this is a low tempo song for the first minutes, not one of the best in the album, it later kicks with some crunchy guitar works. But let's remember, the mood acompanying the story is very important here and in the whole album. The song ends and fades with the beautiful sounds of a little orchestra..
Reaching (Horizons) the end, we have Late Redemption, starting slow again, with a classic guitar and some chants. We are featured the versatility of Edu Falasci to have a moody balad like vox, this song features choruses in Portuguese...
"Cante uma canção desconhecida
Poisoning with hope
the hearts around you
Plante mais lembranças na sua vida"
..the song clearly speeds up in min 2:50, this is again a very moody song, it ends the album nicely, and tells the ending story of this man. The songs have more to it than I can describe, because of the mood.
Gate XIII is a beautiful instrumental to end the album, it features a small orchestra with very Medieval feelings, it really sounds like done for the ending of a movie.
"Revelation XIII: et fecit signa magna ut etiam ignem faceret de caelo descendere in terram in conspectu hominum."