In general I turn my back on solo projects that don’t have the words “Lance” or “King” on them. Yet given the opportunity to talk to Andre Matos for another magazine that doesn’t pay me, I checked out his third effort The Turn Of The Lights and was pleasantly surprised. If you’re craving the quality of Angra or Shaman, save yourself the disappointment. If you’re sick of Symfonia, but not of Matos, you may find this more to your liking.
Being only briefly exposed to Time To Be Free and Mentalize, I can nevertheless say the successor sounds a lot less power metal-ish. Matos still doesn’t skimp on the melodies, but the riffs aren’t always as bouncy and adventurous as you’d expect from a Brazilian outfit with the likes of Hugo Mariutti on guitars. There’s a more commercial appeal to this, and at the same time it feels a little more progressive. The end result is light and effective, if not terribly complicated.
Firecrackers such as opener “Liberty” and “Course Of Life” had me back singing “Someday I’m gone away with nothing but my PRIIIDE!”, because I don’t know the words to these yet. However, for every up tempo track (other noteworthy examples include “Stop!” and “Light-Years”) there is a quieter tune. “The Turn Of The Lights” draws you in with its very simple hook line, and “On Your Own” almost feels like a hybrid of Angra and Kamelot. “Oversoul” and “White Summit” are slow climbing songs, build around Matos’ soaring croon, as are ballads “Gaza” and “Sometimes”. The album is fairly top-heavy, so attention may drop as it goes on.
André Matos may never commit to another big time gig again, but at least his voice still lives on in his solo band. Considering the mishaps with Timo Tolkki in the past, and the solidity of The Turn Of The Lights, that may not be such a bad thing. Besides, there’s always Avantasia. Recommended for fans.
Arno’s rating: 3.5 out of 5