[11 February 2007]
PopMatters Contributing Editor
If there’s one place that continues to have an insatiable hunger for ‘80s metal 20 years after the fact, it’s Brazil, something we can hear in the music of Angra, one of the country’s most well-known metal exports. Heavily indebted to classic power metal, and little else, the Sao Paolo band doesn’t mask their influences; they flaunt them, to the point where they often tend to stray towards near-ludicrous levels of pomposity. Nothing’s changed on Angra’s sixth album, as the quintet dutifully hops from style to style, showing a spectacular lack of focus, but having a ton of fun doing so. The first four tracks alone are a microcosm of Angra’s flamboyant style: “The Course of Nature” is a decidedly heavy, melodic track that could stand alongside anything from Queensryche’s current incarnation, “The Voice Commanding You” is shameless in its Helloween mimicry (double-time rhythms, staccato picking), “Ego Painted Grey” mines Dream Theater’s back catalog, while “Breaking Ties” is a sickly sweet power ballad. Aurora Consurgens is an invigorating listen, bursting with energy, vocalist Edu Falaschi displaying remarkable range, but in the end, the band fails to create a sound they can call its own, and savvy listeners will be too distracted by the parts that ape Stratovarius, copy Styx, and duplicate Gamma Ray in this metal mish-mash to care much about it.