SHAMAN – Ritual

progressive metal
studio album
10 tracks – TT 56:52
release date: June 25, 2002

A lot of Angra fans were sad to hear that three members had left the band and were in doubt about the future of their favourite. But the band seemed to re-establish without them, albeit in a slightly different direction. Of course vocalist Andre Matos, bass player Luis Mariutti and drummer Ricardo Confessori – the trio I was talking about – had their own plans and forced them through by founding a new band. The child was called Shaman, meaning ‘medicine man’ and giving a clue about the lyrical direction that the new formation would follow. No wonder that shamanism is the mystical and dark subject of the band’s debut album, not coincidentally entitled “Ritual”.
But just as the three musketeers actually were four of them, Shaman also needed a guitar player as Kiko Loureiro and Rafael Bittencourt stayed in Angra. Bassist Luis Mariutti’s brother Hugo seemed to be the chosen one as he impressed the other band members, first just helping out with some compositions and now as a full permanent member of the band. With combined efforts they worked on song material for a couple of years, meanwhile doing some gigs to show the outside world that new stuff was on its way. Finally, ten songs were selected out of the bunch and put on “Ritual”, Shaman’s very first feat of arms. Of course, they can’t be considered as a new band on the scene, but what the four Brazilians display on this album is of a very high standard! Building on the foundations of the Angra principle – to blend quality metal with ancient South American music – has developed into a broader perspective. In Matos’ words, they want to introduce “a brand new style that will be the future of metal music: Mystic Metal”, meaning that a lot more influences can be heard on “Ritual”, from Andin music to medieval ballads. This of course results in a very varied album that keeps you seated for almost an hour and introduces you to different cultures.
“Ritual” was nicely produced by renowned producer Sascha Paeth (Rhapsody, Kamelot, Virgo, etc.) and the band themselves and features a lot of interesting guest appearances by a.o. Tobias Sammet, who sings a funny duet with Matos on “Pride” and Derek Sherinian on the sublime “Over Your Head”. Highlights of the album are the Andin “For Tomorrow” with its pan flutes and traditional percussion, “Fairy Tale” which brings the listener back to the Middle Ages and last but certainly not least the powerful title track “Ritual”. Almost every song on the album contains a surprising part with traditional influences – “Pride” and the magnificent intro “Ancient Winds” are the only exceptions to that rule – which means that this album stays fascinating, even after five or more spins.
It should be clear by now that this album is essential for all those who worship(ped) Angra. Maybe I would go as far as saying that this is better than the old Angra albums. I think I wouldn’t be far from it. This is melodic/progressive metal at its best! (SL)

Members’ opinions

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kotzenfan (on 7/12/06)

Very cool album. Everything comes together on this effort. A must own!!!
AOR Ive (on 18/08/02)

At last Andre Matos is back with a real new band . I also got the Virgo album in my collection but that wasn’t realy my cup of tea . This new album of Shaman is just what I expected from Andre and his new bandmates . In many ways this band is very simular to Angra , but they are a little bit more symphomic and their are also some more worldly elements added to their music .
I just love every song on this album and just as the Angra album last year ( it ended on a third place in my personal top 10 of 2001 ) this will end very high in my top 10 of 2002 . Very very recommend .

About Janus

Janus Aureus is my recently-inaugurated personal blog (written in portuguese, but with some texts in english as well). Fiore Rouge is my old (but still very active - in fact, more than Janus :P) blog (I started it back in 2005). Mentalize is a fan-made website (since 2005). if you wish to contact me for any reason, visit my blog and leave a comment OR see email above (top left) - no, my name's not Andre - actually, I'm not even a guy! LOL Long story... O Janus Aureus é meu blog pessoal - escrito em português - ainda sem muito conteúdo, pois foi começado no final de dezembro de 2011. Já o Mentalize foi aberto em 2005 e está escrito em várias línguas *rs* Privilegio o uso do inglês ali porque o pessoal estrangeiro não tem muitas informações sobre o AM. Quem quiser entrar em contato comigo por qualquer motivo, deixe um comentário nos meus blogs ou use o email que está aí em cima à esquerda (e não, eu não sou o Andre - aliás, sou mulher!).

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