watching weeds agrow
cleaned up all the ashes
of my soul"
One Word Review: Exotic
Angra's Holy land was their second album and it's still my favorite. After the impressive debut, the band developed big time and here they have expanded their sound, the songwriting is more focused and they bring in new native elements, which give the album a unique atmosphere.
Beside guitar, bass and drums, a whole host of Brazillian percussive instruments are incorporated into the songs in a way that makes them feel as the most natural thing. This, along with spirited songwriting gives the album a life of its own.
The tranquil intro crosses beautifully into a fast and powerful opener, Nothing to Say, which builds momentum slowly and around the 1 minute mark picks up speed. Around this time, it always hits me how the album feels like a journey into an open and unknown territory, where anything can happen. I had this feeling way back, when I heard the album for the first time and there's still a hint of that same feeling here seventeen years later. That excitement is still here.
Nothing to Say flows through several captivating passages and it soon becomes apparent that all instruments function extremely well together. There is a special tightness. Guitar and keyboard play with each other in an impressive way, the drums keep up a good pace, while André Matos' high clear voice rings out above it all, like a guiding beacon.
Silence and Distance is a good example of how unpredictable the songs on the album are. Beginning with a hauntingly beautiful passage, where Matos sings on top of a soft piano. As guitar and drums suddenly enter the sound, the song gains power tenfold and when the chorus fills with rising voices, I can only sit back and feel the spirit rise.
The 10 minute epic Carolina IV is another fantastic journey. The powerful release, when the song blasts off around the 2:20 mark is sooo satisfying with every listen. The second verse amps up the tension even further and as the chorus arrives, there is a feeling that it is simply a means to elevate the tension even further. The real release comes during the instrumental passage halfway through the song, where the song reaches its zenith at 6:14 with an unforgettable powerful blast of fresh air. It is simply impossible to not headbang wildly when this section arrives. Carolina IV is different and memorable from the first listen.
The title tracks adds another layer to the album. Opening as an acoustic interplay between Andre's voice, a piano and a couple of percussion instruments the song builds intensity until it explodes into a fireworks of musical splendor. I love the opening part of this section where Andre sings with so much power. The song rises and falls through its varied 6 minutes and fades out with a prolonged instrumental section.
The Shaman is the only song on the album, which fails to excite me. It lacks a memorable touch and doesn't feel as coherent as the rest. Fortunately Make Believe gets back on track. As the song begins the feeling of a new beginning pervades the air and the lyrics underline that feeling. The chorus holds a special tension that brings out the most primal instincts; i.e. it makes you want to roar loudly.
Z.I.T.O. is the fastest song here. The song blows up instantly and doesn't slow down for much more than a short interlude. The dual guitar solo is brilliant.
Deep Blue and Lullaby for Lucifer end the album on a, perfectly fitting, tranquil note.
The lyrics aren't the most advanced but work just fine. Themes of nature, exploration, freedom and personal issues and handled directly and quite well. The packaging is also excellent with backside of the lyrics unfolding to a giant world map of yore.
Vocalist André Matos and the two guitarists Kiko Loureiro and Rafael Bittencourt are the most obvious reasons why the album works so well. It is a joy to listen to their performances with Matos bringing a soaring quality to the music with his clear voice and the dual guitar attack bringing a heightened sense of virtuosity. Superb solos are scattered throughout the album.
Beneath their in-your-face performance are many layers waiting to be discovered.
Keyboard is often at work in the background, adding to the melody of the different songs, especially in the fast sections it works some magic.
The percussion and inclusion of a vast array of interesting instruments adds a mysterious element to the album. It is a unique atmosphere brought forth by a splendid interplay of the different instruments.
Holy Land has proven to be quite timeless. A journey worth seeking out.
Written By Steen
Online: Monday, September 2, 2013
Nothing To Say
Thursday, October 8, 2015 - Just Me
this and their debut (Angels Cry) are metal classics...not to be missed!