Beyond a great vocal performance (seriously, nobody sounds quite like Andre Matos), I wasn’t sure what to expect from Time to Be Free. Would it be a return to Angra-style progressive power metal or closer to Shaman’s later, less-metallic rock sound? Fortunately (at least for this fan), Matos went with a very familiar melodic metal sound that incorporates elements of Holy Land as well as Ritual. Matos proves once again that he is as good a songwriter as he is a singer, offering some very memorable melodic metal songs with next to no filler (obligatory instrumental intro notwithstanding). The musicianship is perhaos not at the same level as Angra or Shaman, but it is still pretty impressive. I particularly enjoyed the atmospheric keyboards and blazing guitar solos. Top it off with that signature Sascha Paeth production and you’ve got an album that should please fans of Matos’s previous work.
If you’re already an Andre Matos fan, you probably already know this album is worth buying. If you enjoyed Matos’s work in Angra and Shaman, and are wondering if his solo material is up to par, I highly encourage you to give Time to Be Free a try. If you’re a fan of bands like Gamma Ray, Edguy, and Sonata Arctica but are unfamiliar with Andre Matos, then this album is a great way to remedy that situation.
NOTE: The Japanese import version of Time to Be Free includes a cover of the Journey hit Worlds Apart (Separate Ways) as a bonus track. It’s an impressive song, but is probably not worth the ridiculous cost of the imported disc. Hopefully the song will later be issued as a b-side to a single or otherwise made available to the general public.