Album of the Week 01-2014: Angra – Aurora Consurgens

When Power Metal bands explore their darker side, the results tend to be stunning. Angra’s ‘Aurora Consurgens’ is one of the most Obvious examples. Their brand of progressive Power Metal has been nothing short of impressive for quite some years, especially since singer Edu Falaschi joined the band – I never really liked André Matos’ voice – but this is Angra at arguably their heaviest and best. The compositions contain more surprises than any other Angra album and the less upbeat nature of the material give the album an exciting atmosphere.

‘Aurora Consurgens’ has the best opening salvo of any Angra album. Opener ‘The Course Of Nature’ already gives away that things might end up to be sounding as positive as Power Metal fans may have come accustomed to with its riffing closer to Progmetal and its subdued, brooding verses, and its two follow-ups are possibly even better. ‘The Voice Commanding You’ is a blazing progressive Power Metal track with loads of interesting guitar lines, unexpected twists in the composition (a madrigal, seriously!) and – as expected – a fantastic chorus, all of those factors combined make it my all time favorite Angra song, and the somber midtempo Prog of ‘Ego Painted Grey’ paints an impeccible atmosphere.

Despite those tracks being my immediate favorites, ‘Aurora Consurgens’ has plenty more to offer. ‘So Near So Far’ is something I would almost call a multi-regional work of art, with its Middle-Eastern sounding intro, British Prog verses, European Power Metal chorus and – I would almost say naturally – a brilliant Latin American section in the solo. ‘Passing By’ is a fantastic, stomping Progmetal song with powerful rhythms, ‘Salvation : Suicide’ and ‘Scream Your Heart Out’ are more Power Metal-oriented affairs and closing ballad ‘Abandoned Fate’ is pure acoustic mastery.

Every musician on this album does the best possible job to make this a strong and memorable album. In the two decades that have passed since debut album ‘Angels Cry’, Kiko Loureiro and Rafael Bittencourt have proven time and time again that they are a fantastic guitar duo. In fact, they’re one of the few that can do these dizzyingly fast melodies (like in ‘Salvation : Suicide’) without actually making my ears tired. Aquiles Priester is a fantastic drummer with an explosive sound to boot, Felipe Andreoli proves himself once again as a virtuoso bassist and surprisingly great songwriter and Edu Falaschi’s voice is fantastic. I love the slight raw edge to his voice.

It’s not like Angra never did anything good before ‘Aurora Consurgens’. It’s just that this is the album where Angra rises above itself, being even more than what they normally are. It’s another proof of why Angra is leading the Brazilian (or possibly even the South American) Power Metal scene and quite frankly, I like this a lot more than the somewhat simpler and highly predictable Power Metal that usually comes out of Europe. Let this be a lesson for all of those bands. ‘Aurora Consurgens’ shows you what Power Metal can be all about if you only slightly stray from the trusted formula.

Recommended tracks: ‘The Voice Commanding You’, ‘Ego Painted Grey’, ‘The Course Of Nature’, ‘So Near So Far’

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