Regarded by many as Brazil’s finest vocal export ex-Angra and Shaman frontman Andre Matos has returned to the fold with his own band, quite simply named the Andre Matos Band. The band see Matos reuniting with ex-Angra and ex-Shaman counterparts Luis Mariutti on bass, Hugo Mariutti on guitar and Fabio Ribeiro on keyboards, as well as this trio of old friends the band have another of Brazils finest guitar hero’s Andre ‘Zara’ Hernandes, together with 16 year old drummer Eloy Casagrande, combined they are the power and force that is the Andre Matos band.
First released in Japan in October of last year the album reached number two in the Japanese chart keeping the likes of Metallica and Heaven and Hell at bay. The album finally gets it worldwide release on SPV and surely Matos will carry on this success in the rest of the world.
The album is sure to please Matos’s many fans as it incorporates his superb vocals with his masterful musical ability in this breathtaking piece of Melodic Power Metal.
The album gets underway with ‘Menuett’ and instantly the class of the band shines through as the track opens up with a gentle orchestra tuning up before they start off with a classical interlude which builds up to a crescendo of cosmic proportions. Then the metal is unleashed with the first full track ‘Letting Go’, with Matos unleashing his vocal might, along with the powerhouse drums of the youngster Casagrande the two styles of Metal and Classical unite so well that this really sets the pace for the rest of the album.
This Power Metal assault continues with the excellent ‘Rio’, a real thunderous slice of metal old school style, with a monstrous rhythm section leading the way for the electrifying guitars and keyboards, all backed by Matos’s immaculate vocals. Great stuff.
Things slow down just a touch with the Helloween-esque ‘Remember Why’, so close you can almost hear Andy Deris singing this one.
The pace is picked up once again with the grandiose tones of ‘How Long (Unleashed Away)’. This one just powers on through from beginning to end and with some quite sublime guitar riffs courtesy of Zara and Mariutti, this is Power Metal at its finest.
The album does slow down at times and ‘Looking Back’ is one of those refined metal tracks that builds from humble beginnings into a flurry of tremendous bass and drums encapsulated in a string of spellbinding guitar riffs, all wrapped around a magnificent vocal talent that forges this as one of my favourite tracks off the album.
The same more gentle refrain is continued on the excellent ‘Face The End’. Again the harmonies of Matos shine through as he shows he can bring it down when the need arises as all great vocalists can and shows they are not one dimensional figures. The rhythm section of Luis and Eloy are a mighty force to be reckoned with on this one.
The title track ‘Time To Be Free’ is next up and brings in that orchestral backing once more for this slow burner of a metal track. A track that just oozes finesse and grandeur as it builds into a true metal monster.
The traditional Brazilian influences found in Angra are brought into the sound of Matos’s band in the intro of ‘Reason’, before the real power of the track is unleashed, then it’s back to the more full on metal sound only to be pushed aside by the introduction of Pan Pipes mid section. This one will delight all those diehard fans of classic Angra sound.
‘A New Moonlight’ optimises how Matos has grown as an artist since those early years, as this soaring atmospheric piece of Matos and keyboards at the beginning is just superb, as are the gentle drums and bass which soon join in and bring another dimension to this serene metal moment. The orchestration comes to the front again and takes hold with a flurry of guitars as the track erupts into a climatic end.
This quite magnificent album closes with ‘Endeavour’, on a real metal moment with fast double kick drums, a thumping bass line and packed with more guitar licks than you can imagine. This belting metal attack rounds off what is sure to be one of the Power Metal Albums of the year.
2. Letting Go
4. Remember Why
5. How Long (Unleashed Away)
6. Looking Back
7. Face The End
8. Time To Be Free
10. A New Moonlight