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Cosmic Opera of an Album - 95%

BeholdtheNicktopus, May 6th, 2013

This album is quite simply a masterpiece, easily the best power metal album I've ever heard. It is really more like an opera than an album, as each song has a specific and needed part in the whole. “Lux Aeterna” is a cosmic story, with each song describing a phase in the cycle of the birth and death of the universe, humanity's place in it, and so on. I believe the songs' relation to this story to be the following: “Aeternalux” is the void; “And Let the Show Begin” is the initial creation; “Here Comes the Life” is life's creation; “Spirits of Light” the birth of the spiritual and jubilant; “Humanity” begins to grow a bit darker, with humans and their uncertain destiny; “Whispers and Pain of Mother Nature” is the negative, sad effects of humanity on the world; “Choice Time” is the fork in the road for humanity; “Judgment Day” is possibly the most epic song on the album, and it's the climax of the story for sure; “Your Majesty Gaia” is the glorification of nature and its power of hope and rejuvenation after the dark episode of humanity; “Luxaeterna” is the end, which is really a new beginning, as the first and last song titles indicate. Putting this knowledge into each track creates something far more than the individual songs could ever manage, just like listening to one aria in an opera is not going to produce the same emotion as seeing that aria in its place with the story of the opera. Yes, it is all a cycle, and it is this almost absurdly epic album that describes it so beautifully.

The music here is quite varied, with only one stipulation: there must always be lots and lots of keyboards, and it must always be epic. As other reviewers have noted, this album is pretty much the completion of power metal's quest for the grandiose. This is not all, however, as “Lux Aeterna” goes so far beyond other power metal bands in its complex songwriting. The structures are quite brilliant, with each section flowing into the others in an almost classical way. The closest to a typical verse-chorus-verse-chorus type structure is probably found in “Your Majesty Gaia” or “Whispers and Pain of Mother Nature”. Elsewhere, it's just so much more complex than that. Furthermore, the keyboardist is really phenomenal, playing impossibly fast classical-sounding runs that accentuate the music beautifully. There are some guitar solos as well, quite technically skilled. Needless to say, the vocals are some of the best I've ever heard in power metal, and the drumming is flawless, tight, and pumping. The bass isn't so prominent, but regardless the entire band fits together perfectly.

So this is not just a power metal album. This is a cosmic opera. It is one of my favorite albums of all time, and it simply does not get boring, pretty much ever. The songs come in any mood you like, as long as that mood is epic. “Whispers and Pain of Mother Nature” may even make you cry, no joke. I think this is quite a bit better than “Shambala”, and way more cohesive as a whole. If you like epic metal, this is as good as it gets.

Standout tracks: Hard to pick, but probably “Judgment Day” is the most epic, especially towards the end. “And Let the Show Begin” is also double-bass-pumping euphoria.

Disneyland Metal! - 90%

chuck_phantom, January 2nd, 2009

It is symphonic, it is powerful, it is faster than one hundred forty beats per minute. It is the very unpredictable debut album of Aquaria! Just when I was told to face the inevitable, I came across a metal sound that felt different as well as leave me wanting much more.

After hearing Aeternalux, which is a very nice symphonic track which will not bore you, next comes And Let The Show Begin. Instead of ten harmonized guitar solos, this song gives you a very rich, very uplifting vibe which is fast and, seemingly, effortlessly done as well as any conductor could expect.

I would not imagine most musicians trying to compare themselves to this band while listening to their music. Instead, musicians as well as simple listeners would probably sit and let this roller coaster of an album show you more of what you would not expect with what I would not call "natural talent", but having tapped into their hidden abilities and perfecting them to the pinnacle of their musicianship.

Whoever produced this album must have had an amazing time with these gentlemen. They were able to incorporate outside sounds, with tracks like Humanity, while sounding very good doing so. I love how the rest of the music is not drowned out by the guitars. Best of all, it's hard not to give the vocalist great recognition for his abilities in this song since every instrument is nicely placed. If there were ever a time to use such nice, rich sounds, you will know this time after hearing this album.

In my mind, this band rivals Power Quest in creating very fast, and very happy power metal. But this band is unique in ways Power Quest is not. If listening to Whispers And Pain Of Mother Nature doesn't leave you to tears, I have yet to hear a metal band that I imagine would. This band will definitely be a jewel in this era of metal, as well as the next.

Very good, overly ambitious debut - 86%

concertmusic, September 28th, 2006

This debut by the Brazilian band Aquaria contains more surprises in one CD than should be legal. They either have an identity problem that should be clinically treated with heavy medication, or so much talent, in so many different directions, that the present offering was the only way to show off their many wares.

Now, to make one thing clear from the start: Most everything Aquaria try here, with the noted exceptions below, is done very well. The sound and production are both top-notch, and all band members know their stuff.

The music is one of the broadest collections of different influences and styles imaginable. Very broadly speaking, we have here very symphonic, occasionally epic power metal. It is imperative that the "symphonic" is stressed; not only are the keyboards at the front in terms of sound, they also direct the musical flow at every step of the way. Very often, they are supported and strengthened by an orchestra, and especially when there are horns present, the epic strains come through very well. This direction forms the basis underneath most of the CD, but almost every track either departs from or adds to this theme to some extent.

In order to illustrate what goes on during the hour-plus of material, have a look at the various modes at work here. We have epic symphonic power metal, along the lines of Blind Guardian ("Aeternalux" and "Judgement Day"); there is massively symphonic power metal ("Your Majesty Gaia", "Humanity"); as well as Helloween-influenced double-bass happy-feet straight power metal ("And Let the Show Begin"). In each of these tracks, most of which are quite lengthy, Aquaria incorporates one or more very sudden and unpredictable tempo and mood changes - sometimes they work, more often they distract. "Judgement Day" contains the most egregious example, which badly interrupts the flow of this otherwise great epic track - which includes Nightwish influences to boot.

Those are the easily digestible directions. But hold on - it gets much more diverse. "Choice Time" could be from Adagio's pen - a dark, almost gothic symphonic metal work - a very good track indeed. Also, there are two tracks of Brazilian-folk-influenced symphonic metal, one more heavy on the power ("Here Comes the Life"), one more heavy on the folk ("Spirit of Light"). The same issue with the overdone progressive attempts at changing the tone slightly mars these tracks as well.

We should expect a ballad, and we are served with the acoustic, almost classical "Whispers and Pain of Mother Nature" - easily the worst song on the CD. The high male vocals, which are very well sung everywhere else, simply aren't very good in this song - mostly because of the gross mis-pronunciation of the word "Nature". If you think I am being picky here, listen for yourselves - having to listen to "Nature" being sung as "Nadure" (pronounce like nadir) numerous times will make you slightly nauseous. The vocals deserve further mention; the vocalist truly can sing, and does not stoop to trying to sound "heavy" or "metal", which is greatly to his credit.

The title track - I kid you not - would not be out of place in any of the more recent Disney movies. Disney soundtrack score music is precisely the feeling it conveys, upon every listen - and I know my Disney movies, believe you me. It's almost goofy (no pun intended), and does not fit in.

Where does this leave us? After pointing out all of the slight shortcomings, it's important to emphasize that I quite like the CD as a whole. Aquaria do a very nice job of trying their hand at all of the various sounds - the whole thing does not really come together, however. A little less ambition, and a little more simplicity, and the next release could really be something to look out for.

Here Comes the Life! - 96%

Rhapsorizon, August 4th, 2006

Now this is something different.

For all of those who thought that this would just be another generic power metal band, you are wrong. This is possibly the most original form of power metal I’ve ever heard. It makes Falconer seem generic. These guys have very cleverly incorporated Latin drum beats into epic classical themes, and I must say, it fucking works.

The opening song is a nine-and-a-half minute symphony of vocal wonder and classical talent. The thing that gets me every single time I spin this track is that you are thinking this is going to be beautiful up-lifting metal song all the way through when the drum style suddenly transposes to a Latin-style drum beat; It’s not something that makes you say “What the fuck,” it is something that makes you say “Oh God, yes!” It is very original, and very catchy.

Vitor’s vocals in this album are very much for those who appreciate an acquired style. When one first listens to this album, he (Vitor) sounds uneasy and nervous, but once you understand the ability of his young vocal chords and super-strong range, it is an insatiable voice. Many have said to me when they first heard it that his voice was a little irritating at first, but the second time they listened to it, just like me, they found it irresistible to listen to.

The riffs in this album are more just accentuations of the classical rhythms played by Kury (keyboards), but the guitar solos are quick, yet memorable. One of my favorite solos in this album is definitely classical arpeggio in the middle of “Here comes the life”. Trust me, when you listen to it, you will smile and bob your head from side-to-side.

For the production, this is an extremely well produced and mastered album. Recorded and produced by the same guys who master-mixed such bands as Kamelot, Shaman, and others, this music was recorded and mastered in the way it deserves: perfectly.

Generally, this album is very enjoyable. Although, those who are not fans of power metal, this is definitely not for you. It’s a lot easier to appreciate by those who are very much into Power Metal, classical, alternative styles of power metal or folk.

Key track: Spirits of Light