Best known for his stint in the formative years of Brazilian power metal band “Angra”, “Time To Be Free” marks the début solo outing of rich voiced vocalist Andre Matos. True to form it album that sits largely within the same power metal format as his original band too, although is certainly more polished than early Angra, and you won’t be surprised to find that the first of the eleven tracks is the apparently necessary symphonic intro!
To be fair, amongst what is served up are some pretty fine examples of the genre. “Letting Go” acts an appealing melodic yet heavy opener ticking all the boxes for fans of early of the likes of Stratovarius, Helloween et al, and the excellent “Rio” really is a fine song full of well positioned keyboard flourishes, heavy sounding riffing guitars supporting the odd big solo, rattling drums that drives the faster parts of the song superbly and souring vocals. Further positive marks are earned for the likes of “How Long (Remember Why)“, “Endeavour” and the suitably epic title track, all of which deserve repeat attention.
Slightly less impressive are the occasions where Matos sees fit to deviate from what he’s clearly very competent at and delivers what is usually defined more as prog-metal; the kind served up by Dream Theater, Symphony X etc. Here songs such as “Remember Why” tend to flow less well and whilst I guess a début solo album is the place to seek a suitable direction, I’d guess that a long term successful career as a solo artist is more likely down the power metal route based on these offerings.
Having said that, the awkward “A New Moonlight” is the only track I’d say appears to experiment a little too much. Veering away from metal completely in parts, it echoes Pink Floyd in places for the background effects, moves through different styles section by section, from quiet to bombastic, a la Queen and boasts operatic backing vocals and a solo piano piece too on occasion. It’s certainly ambitious but sounds too much like an attempt to recreate “Bohemian Rhapsody” to me, and marks the albums low point.
Production wise its worth noting that with the exception of a short piano and voice part in the aforementioned song, the whole album sounds superb, which is what you’d expect when Roy Z is involved. Here credited as sharing the duties alongside Sascha Paeth (Gamma Ray, Rhapsody).
On the whole then a good album and one I can see doing well in certain territories. I don’t hear anything especially different or ground breaking but it’s a pretty rewarding album with a few definite gems. Hopefully album number two will major on the power metal style done exceptionally well here.
Sadly no ‘proper’ video track to support the album but two of the better tracks are available at the links below…