By Solange Ag
Angra – Reaching Horizons (demo – 1992)
This is one of the first Angra recordings (before drummer Ricardo Confessori joined the band) and it includes songs that would soon form the album Angels Cry, plus a couple of songs that were later included on Freedom Call, and an inedit song called “Don’t despair”. There are two versions of “Carry On”, with different lyrics and a slightly differentarrangement…the classical intro (later called “Unfinished Allegro”) was originally taken from an orchestral recording, while on Angels Cryit was adapted to keyboards – which, according to some, was bad.
“Wuthering Heights”, by Kate Bush, had been turned into a speed metal song, but apparently the guys gave up on that idea and justrecorded a normal cover – I personally like both versions very much!!!
All the other songs from Angels Cry (“Stand Away”, “Time”, “Streets of tomorrow”…) had different lyrics and different guitar riffs/solos, but nothing substantially different…some claim that this version for songs such as “Reaching Horizons” and “Queen of the night” are better on the demo than on the subsequent albums…well, I love both and highly recommend this demo to anyone who’s an original-Angra fan!!! It
has all their passion in it (that unfortunately they lost when Fireworkswas released…), and it’s very curious to see which changes were made in the songs.
Now…this cd is really worth it for the inedit “Don’t despair” – it’s such a cool song (hard-rockish with a cheery touch of piano), I still don’t know why it wasn’t further worked on and released yet!!!!!
Maybe Matos perfectionism doesn’t allow himself to revisit a few of his older works…
Angra – Eyes of Christ (demo – 1995)
This demo’s quality is a below Reaching Horizons’ quality…but it’s still “listenable”! And totally worth buying if you like Angra! It also has inedit songs…well, in fact there’s only one inedit now, since Angra re-recorded “Live and learn” and “Eyes of Christ” with Edu Falaschi on the vocals and different arrangements and a more “sophisticated” sound (which made the songs sound worse than they originally did, IMO…). The song that’s left for them to record is called “Spell” (I’m still looking for its lyrics, by the way!! If anyone has it, send it to me pleeeeease!!). I laughed very much when I heard that song, because it’s sooooo not the Angra style…it’s kinda dark and heavier than usual…the beginning sounds a bit like Slayer!! hahahhaha And the middle (with the keyboard solo) seems “vampirish music”, if such a thing exists…:P Anyways…except for those songs, the rest of the songs are already known by those who have listened to Holy Land…but with different lyrics, a much more raw sound andsometimes different arrangements here and there…great demo.
Angra – Unplugged Live in Argentina (bootleg 1997)
Extremely informal playing that was a surprise for many fans who listened to this boot…since there had only been a few acoustic songs on Freedom Call. But this was an entire acoustic show, which was very rare in Angra’s case, unfortunately!!! Not much a surprise for me, though, because I had already obtained a cassette (thanks Keiko!) with a program they participated in 89 FM (a brazilian radio station) in their early days, soon before they played in Monsters of Rock (a brazilian festival like Rock in Rio)…during that show, they improvised a version of Iron’s “Wasted Years” – which was VEEEEEEEERRRRRRYYY funny of course!!!!! During this show in Buenos Aires things were less amateur, of course, but still very easy-going as you can notice while listening to it. Sound quality is bad though
Shaaman – Reason (2005)
I feel like I have to write a review of this album because I’ve seen much bad criticism about it, and personally I think Reason is better than its predecessor, Ritual.
Why? I don’t know, it’s a matter of personal taste I suppose! hehe
The impression I had after listening to Ritual was that Shaman were too insecure to release something innovative, away from clichés. Which is totally understandable since they were starting a new band from scratch after leaving Angra, who was starting to get successful!
Anyway, in my modest opinion Ritual was a good album, very catchy, but…it lacked the old “Matosian” spirit of daring to do something different. It was too much of a melodic/power metal album to me. I was disappointed (first at Angra splitting, and then at Shaman releasing something so predictable, and that I couldn’t listen to anymore after a while, because it got nauseating).
But now they finally did it! I was so afraid Reason was going to be a “Ritual Part II” – PHEW!!!!! I’m not saying that these new songs are creative or something totally original, but they do get away from one single label.
The first song, Turn Away, is the heaviest of the album, and one of my least favorites. The title-track, though, is simply one of the most powerful ballads (?) I’ve ever listened to, the lyrics are dark, sad and filled with hope at the same time. There’s also the expected ballad, of course…which is amazing!!! heheheh Matos always gets it right with his mix of soft voice/piano/higher chorus/sad lyrics.
By the way, what makes this album so good are the lyrics, seriously! They’re much more mature and somber, much more…existential, let’s say.
Oh and the cover Shaaman did for Sisters of Mercy’s More is simply perfect!!! Most people hated it, but when they saw it live they realized how powerful it is!
However I’d like to comment on this CD song by song, I’ll stop here. Go listen to it and make up your own mind – it’s straight hard-rockish/heavy metal. Simple but efficace.