Aquaria - Luxaeterna 3.5/5

Reviewed: 8-26-05





Tracklist:

1. Aeternalux
2. And let the show begin
3. Here comes the life
4. Spirits of light
5. Humanity
6. Whispers and pain of mother nature
7. Choice time
8. Judgement day
9. Your majesty gaia
10. Luxaeterna


When just about any new band comes along, you often hear things like "New band sounds like band A". Some people take it a step further and say, "New band is a band A clone". I always laugh at these statements (even though I make them all the time myself), because, honestly, none of these so called "clones" sounds EXACTLY like the original, even if their sound is highly derivative of that original band. Well, if the "clone" tag has ever been applicable before, it is definitely applicable here. Aquaria, to put is succinctly, is an Angra Clone. Not that it's unusual. They are hardly the first Brazilian band to try to replicate the sound of their fellow countrymen. The difference is Aquaria is such an absolutely perfect copy of Angra, it's quite staggering. There are times where I believed that if someone told me this CD *was* Angra, I would believe them. That's how perfectly they have nailed the Angra sound. They play the same uptempo melodic power metal with sprinklings of classical, progressive, and even some of that funky percussion. The singer sounds like a bit of a hybrid of Andre Matos and Edu Falaschi.

The production is very similar to that of the recent Angra output. But, most of all, and this is where your "clones" usually fall short, Aquaria FEELS like Angra when you listen to it. It's really quite remarkable. On the one hand, I am amazed at the talent this band has to remind me so closely of an immensely talented band I hold in high regard. On the other hand, I do find myself grating at the fact that I am listening to original songs that at times sound more like covers than unique compositions. That is my dichotomy when listening to Aquaria. So, if you're a member of the Originality Police, Aquaria may cause a blood vessel in your brain to explode. If you love Angra, and don't mind hearing more of that formula from another band, read on.

'Luxaeterna' begins with "Aeternalux" which (not surprisingly) is a quiet, moody, classicalish intro which leads into "And let the show begin". This song (as you should have already figured out) is a high-paced power metal anthem with lots of background classical flourishes. Immediately the word "Angra" should start hammering its way into your head as you hear this. The vocals are in the upper range and the vocal melodies are uplifting and melodic. "Here comes the life" starts off with classical flourishes and then in ballad like fashion with vocals that really sound a ton like Andre Matos at his wussiest. Of course, this builds to a much speedier, heavier eruption later. "Humanity" is one of the standout tracks to me, as it does have a bit of identity on its own, due in large part to its cool main midtempo riff with eerie keyboards backing it up.

Apart from the jarring lack of originality, my chief complaint with Aquaria is that their songs all tend to go on for too long. There is one scant track (apart from the intro) that clocks in at under 5 minutes and many are far longer than that. I generally grow weary of an excessive number of lenghty tracks, but that is a personal preference. Apart from those 2 complaints, Aquaria is truly something to hear. Tremendous melodies, musicianship and songwriting abound on this CD, and nonproprietarial fans of Angra should love this. The clone tag can definitely be a stigma for a band, but in this band's case, they are at least the most amazingly perfect clone I have ever heard.



JOHN




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