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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Angra

Aqua

Review by Gary Hill

Angra’s version of heavy metal often falls near the realm of progressive rock. Comparisons to Iron Maiden are valid, but Dream Theater can be heard, too. At times, like the song “Ashes,” they really feel like a progressive rock band. Still, their music more often than not lies closer to the metal end of the spectrum. Whatever you call it, though, they produce a style of music that is entertaining and powerful and this album is recommended to fans of prog metal, epic metal and even the more metallic side of modern prog.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Viderunt Te AquƦ

Dramatic and powerful, this is both operatic and theatrical. With a beginning like this the disc could easily go in either a progressive rock or a metal direction. This is just a one minute introduction.

Arising Thunder
As the fiery fast paced riffing enters it becomes obvious that the rule of the day is going to be the metal end of things here. The song seems somewhere between the technical metal of groups like Helloween and the sound of Iron Maiden. Of course, the Maiden influence is heard to a large degree because of the vocals more than the music.
Awake From Darkness
This cut has some definite progressive rock built into it. I’d consider it to be more of a prog rock meets Iron Maiden than anything else. It’s got some melodic vocal segments, but some serious metal, too.  There is an incredibly cool instrumental section later in the piece. It takes the listener on a real thrill ride but then drops completely off. Piano and classical strings weave a pretty and rather sad melody for a time. Then the group powers back out into another smoking hot metal jam.
Lease Of Life
Another that has a lot of progressive rock built into it, on a different album this would probably qualify as pure prog. It’s got a number of changes and is quite melodic in many ways.
The Rage Of The Waters
Starting off rather like Dream Theater, the cut shifts to more pure heavy metal as it continues. Iron Maiden is another worthy comparison on this piece. There’s a more dramatic modern epic metal jam later that’s quite tasty. Intriguingly they turn it out towards some rather Spanish sounding music at times.
Spirit Of The Air
I’d consider this to be a melodic power metal ballad. References to Dream Theater and Iron Maiden are both appropriate. It does a great job of alternating between powered up and mellower moments.
Hollow
Ultra heavy, furious and modern in texture, this is a real screamer. They do take it out later into more proggy territory as they work their way through various changes and alterations.
Monster In Her Eyes
While there is really less progressive rock on show here than on a lot of the other music, they do a nice job of alternating between more balladic and harder rocking sounds. It’s very much like Iron Maiden a lot of the time, but goes further into epic metal zones, too.
Weakness Of A Man
More of a powered up ballad, this is another that echoes Iron Maiden quite a bit. Overall it’s not one of the more progressive rock oriented tracks on show, but it’s also one of the highlights of the disc. There is, however, a move to more proggy territory later in the track. It starts with a cool fusion like groove and then moves out to some seriously tasty instrumental interplay.
Ashes
A rather pretty cut, this is definitely based in a powered up ballad approach. More than anything it can probably be compared to Dream Theater, but it lands more on the metal side of the equation than where that band’s sound usually sits. There is a drop down to a piano based jam with female vocals, too.
 
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