Andre Matos – Vocals, Piano
Andre Hernandes – Guitar
Eloy Casagrande – Drums
Fabio Ribeiro – Keyboards
Hugo Mariutti – Guitar
Luis Mariutti – Bass
This is album was originally released in August only in Japan where it remained in the second place of the country�s charts for almost a month. Of course the name of Andre Matos is definitely ringing a bell in your mind since he was the voice of the Brazilian band ANGRA that made quite an impression with albums like "Angels Cry" and "Holy Land". Unfortunately, Andre parted ways with ANGRA after the release of "Fireworks" in 1998.
From that day, Andre tried his luck with SHAMAN/SHAAMAN for two albums before the "artistic differences" convinced them to follow separate ways. That brings us to Andre�s debut solo album entitled "Time To Be Free" that was produced by Roy Z and Sascha Paeth. The band behind the album features past members of ANGRA and SHAMAN/SHAAMAN who are also long time friends of Matos.
It�s difficult for an artist whose name has been connected with a band to release a solo album; just thing of Bruce Dickinson and IRON MAIDEN or Michael Kiske and HELLOWEEN. Their albums were inevitably compared to their previous works with the bands that made them famous.
This is exactly what happens with Andre�s solo album that comes with the possible allegoric title "Time To Be Free". After the symphonic intro there is the ANGRA-like song "Letting Go" where Matos performs in his best combining his trademark high pitch vocals the catchy melodic lines especially during the bridge an chorus. Frank Ribeirs�s keyboards open for "Rio that flirts with the Euro Power shout with compact rhythm section and some sing along chorus lines. Here Matos reveals some aggression in his performance that in some degree was missing during his ANGRA days. The band is still in search of a personal sound and style and thus we find some experimenting in songs like "Remember Why" (you can watch the video clip below) where the bagpipes spice things up or in "A New Moonlight" that comprises some symphonic arrangements, a piano break near the end and an almost progressive backbone. The tribal virus that was in the "Holy Land" album is still in Andre�s blood and this is proven in the very good song "Rescue" where you will come across to some foreign sounds and very interesting ideas. The guitar work deserves some additional credit for preserving the Metal profile through fast breaks and really good solos and licks like in the riff driven IRON MAIDEN-like track "Endeavour".
The bottom line is that we should feel happy that Matos is still around with his trademark voice and that he is surrounded by some excellent musicians who will definitely help him to produce some even more quality albums in the near future.
**** out of 5 stars – excellent