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At least they found the Power button this time - 85%

OSheaman, July 30th, 2003

With the addition of the freakishly outlandish metal instrument known to a select few as a "guitar," Angra has risen above the Happy World Land dumps of Holy Land to deliver a fairly good Power Metal album.

They actually allow their guitar players to play riffs and solos and such here, and you know what? They're pretty good. The sound is solid and technically accurate, and while the keyboards are still the main instrument (รก la Winterheart's Guild), they are very well-played and don't completely smother everything around them. The new vocalist sounds like an actual metal vocalist, and while he's still pretty fruity, he's nowhere near the mind-numbingly saccharine vocals displayed in Holy Land. The bass is a bigger presence here, and the drumming is allowed to carry the songs at a faster pace, which makes the album more coherent and Power-Metal-like. Overall, Angra is a good band once they get their act together in terms of how to distribute the sound.

The best song on here is Nova Era, which has some excellent guitar work and a very cool keyboard solo in the beginning (not to mention a pretty catchy chorus). Millenium Sun is a solid ballad, and Acid Rain has some solid riffage that is brought to the forefront, along with a very strange but interesting solo section. Unholy Wars is probably the heaviest of the songs on here, featuring some actual heavy riff work, plus a serious guitar solo section that is very well-done.

Not everything is peaches and cream. The guitars aren't stretched to their limits like they should be; they tend to spend too much time in general playing background riffs underneath ambient keyboards. Angra also needs to get this R&B thing out of their heads; ballads are OK, but stuff like Visions Prelude is going a bit far. Altogether, though, it's a fairly solid purchase, although if you're not a fan of the style, stay clear, because this sound is pretty heavily entrenched in the "fruity" category.