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Weird... but good... - 80%

Bruno, June 20th, 2005

When I posted my first review on this album here in I expressed how disappointed I was with these guys.
Since they were in Angra I’ve been following them and their new band debut Ritual was such an album. So when I got this new one it really let me down.
I had to be honest with myself and to admit that my favorite band had released a weak album. Reason is a heavy metal album at all, but it’s strange, weird, very simple, with no energy and FAR AWAY from the Ritual level… There’s a lack of energy and power here…
They could do much more as the good musicians they surely are, but they have taken a way I just can not understand as a fan…
But these days my head and my conscience were pretty heavy and I decided to comment each song, even the ones I don’t like, in order to be fair…
First I will comment my favorite ones:

- Turn Away: It’s the opener and the heaviest song on the album without any doubt. There’s no intro, only screams, and then the guitars spill some huge metal riffs. André Matos sings in a quite aggressive way here. One of the nicest things in this song is a part in the middle where André is followed only by the drums and the bass and then, right before the solo, we hear a fine orchestra.
The only thing on this song I don’t like is the fact that the drummer Ricardo Confessori didn’t use double bass drums but only one bass with double pedals. That made the sound kind of strange.
But this song is wonderful and has even that old keyboard called Hammond (or something like that…)

- Reason: Ok ok… I’ve changed my mind. Although this song is not as heavy as the other ones I must confess that it had always been in my favorite list as it’s a pretty nice track. It has some heavy guitars, nice piano, orchestra, André singing beautifully…
But the only problem here is the gothic and Paradise Lost-like feeling it has. It’s a kind of slow song,
with no energy…
Even the lyrics talk about suicide and all that dark stuff. There’s even a narration of a woman in the middle of the song surrounded by a dark atmosphere… And the album cover itself follows this darker way as well…
That’s the only problem I have with it and I must admit it’s a damn good and interesting track.

- Scarred Forever: Another heavy one with some huge metal riffs just like Zakk Wilde, though the beginning is kind of weird. My favorite part here is when André sings the bridge before the refrain. That’s very aggressive with great guitars and heavy drums. There’s a piano part in the middle with André singing in a softer way, but it’s just a short part to allow you breathing before all the heaviness comes back.

- Iron Soul: The beginning of this one is pretty similar to Iron Maiden indeed, but afterwards things get way heavier. This track has a different and original rhythm. The refrain is great, the song has energy and before the solo we have another piano/voice part with orchestra. The orchestra has a big role on this one. In fact you can listen to it many times here and there all over the album.
But just after that the guitars are back again with all their aggressiveness.

- Trail Of Tears: One of my favorite tracks on this album. After a short intro with a gregorian choir we are able to hear arrangements quite similar to the songs in Ritual. It’s a fast and melodic song, but with no double bass (oh, double pedal!). The thing I like the most here is the refrain which is very catchy and greatly sung by André. In the middle Hugo plays a quite heavy riff and when the drums appear we have a huge thrash feeling! Full of energy!
Another nice thing on this one is that it’s the only track where André really screams. We all know him by his high screams and on this album we have them only in this one, which was something that disappointed me as well.

- Born To Be: The song begins with pianos right before we hear Hugo playing some Zakk Wilde-like riffs once again. It’s a heavy semi-ballad. André sings the bridge and the refrain greatly. It’s an amazing song and then it ends with the same pianos from the beginning. It’s a special song full of feeling and emotion and perfect to close the album.

- Innocence: It’s the album ballad. What do I have to say about it? It’s beautiful, with a great refrain, wonderful pianos and a perfect performance by André. It’s a ballad as nice as Ritual’s Fairy Tale and Make Believe from Angra period. It’s the song the band chose to film the first video-clip in order to promote the album.

Ok, above I commented my favorite tunes. Now you have my disliskes with some explanations on them:

- More: Actually I don’t know if I put this one either in my favorite list or in my dislikes.
Well, this one is not a Shaman song. It’s a cover of Sisters of Mercy. Of course it’s not like the original version as the band has added some heavy guitars and a metal touch to it. But, in my opinion, it’s the kind of song that could be on a Virgo album, that non-metal project André has. There’s no even guitar solos here, it’s just verses+bridge+refrain over verses+bridge+refrain over verses+bridge+refrain again.
The band really did a nice and original version which made it much better than the original one, but I’d rather them using a self-composed (and heavy!) song here and putting More as a bonus-track.

- In The Night: Hum, it’s the most controversial song on the album, especially because of the intro.
It starts with an electronic/techno stuff which I found totally non-necessary. If this song is full of orchestras they could use it as the intro instead of that electronic stuff.
Hugo really tries to be heavy on the guitars and André tries to sing with energy indeed but they just don’t reach that. This is another song that could be in a Virgo album.
All in all, it’s a weak song, there’s nothing special on it, except the very interesting orchestras and the electric violin played by Marcos Viana, the same guy who played it on Ritual. That’s only what makes me feel like listening to this song sometimes.

- Rough Stone: The big problem with this song is that it gets good too late, only after the guitar solo, when you are already bored with it.
The first half of the song is boring and annoying and has a slow and weak refrain that makes you feel like sleeping. I just wondered: “Oh man, what happened to these guys?!?”
But since the solo starts, HOW, heavy guitars, more energy and punch until the end! It gets really great in the second half…!
But, as I said it’s too late… It’s not a song worth to be on a Shaaman album at all. Bah…!

Although I didn’t like the album entirely, Shaman will not stop being one of my favorite bands…
Especially because André Matos is one of my favorite musicians, as a singer and as a composer.
I still love these guys since Angra’s Angels Cry, Holy Land and Fireworks.
Ritual was a great debut and maybe my expectations were way too high about the new album.
Maybe they only missed that ‘special thing’, the ENERGY and POWER the other albums they took part in had.

But I’ll keep on admiring them and listening to this album, though I will also continue waiting for a third album as great as Ritual and the Angra old albums.
I trust these guys and know they have enough talent.

And to finish this review, once and for all, I will write the same sentence I wrote to finish the previous one:
“So let's hope they will show us something as great as their debut Ritual or the Angra early albums!”