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Angra | Temple of Shadows | review | metal | Lollipop
Temple of Shadows (SPV)
by Tim Den
When Angra released Rebirth in '01, it was both a personal triumph for the revamped band (new vocalist, bassist, and drummer) and an artistic victory for power metal. Rebirth was every bit as melodic, symphonic, and majestic as the band's earlier efforts, but with an even stronger sense of power and heaviness. They had nothing left to prove.
The follow-up, then, has been hotly anticipated even by yours truly (NOT of the power metal horde, I assure you). Temple of Shadows promised to be bigger, brawnier, and more dazzling, and to a certain extent, it's all three. But what it tries to add to Rebirth's perfect balance is almost too much. A concept album based on an 11th century Crusader soldier's defiance of the Catholic Church, Temple of Shadows is a sprawling 66-minute saga that's everything but the kitchen sink. Every song crams in technicality, virtuosity, tempo changes, key changes, and a multitude of riffs, as if the band's a metal dispenser, and the resulting feeling is one of disjointed overzealousness. Rebirth had big hooks and big riffs placed coolly over appropriate (catchy) settings, but Temple of Shadows rushes past you in light speed and you're barely able to hold on. After repeated listens, I still can't recall specific choruses or melodies for most of the songs. Perhaps this wasn't meant to be a "catchy" album, but I for one wish it was.
Still, Temple of Shadows shows Angra progressing as a unit, however involved and meticulous they've become. The rhythm section has grown into a cohesive team, with detailed performances from both bassist Felipe Andreoli and drummer Aqualis Priester. Band leaders/guitarists Kiko Loureiro and Rafael Bittencourt continue to astound as well, particularly during an intense "trade off" riff war on "Angels and Demons." And, of course, vocalist Edu Falaschi is as commanding as ever, never being overshadowed by the music and always soaring like a hawk. "Spread Your Fire," by far the album's highlight, will no doubt go down as a classic.
Temple of Shadows might be sensory overload, but power metal fans everywhere will still find enough in it to love. Angra are one of the best in the genre. Even when they overcompensate, it's a trip well worth taking.