Shaman - Ritual 3.5/5

Reviewed: 6-17-05





Tracklist:

1. Ancient winds
2. Here I am
3. Distant thunder
4. For tomorrow
5. Time will come
6. Over your head
7. Fairy tale
8. Blind spell
9. Ritual
10. Pride


When the old Angra split into 2, I expected the new Angra, with just the 2 guitar players remaining, to be a heavy guitar-fest and for the new Andre Matos led band to be softer, lighter, and more classically influenced. Now that both bands have released one CD, it is funny to realize that the exact opposite has happened. While both CDs are excellent, the Matos led Shaman turns out to be heavier and less melodic than the first release from the new Angra. 3/4 of Shaman (vocalist Matos, the bassist, and the drummer) are from the old Angra, with only the lead guitar player having been added. That alone is a change from Angra, which had/has 2 lead guitar players. Having only one does not hurt Shaman, though, as the role of the 2nd guitar is filled by the many background keyboard melodies.

The quality of the tracks is very good, although "Over your head" is a relative low point. There is a sameness to the tracks, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective. For me, I consider it a slight negative because I find few of the tracks truly memorable after listening to the CD. The one track that does stand out above the others, however, is the excellent power ballad “Fairy tale”. Also noticeable about this CD is that Matos' vocals are clearly lower and gruffer than Angra fans will be used to. It is unclear whether this is by choice or to respond to his critics who do not like his previous high–pitched vocals. While the vocals are good on this CD, I do miss the range and emotion that he showed in the past.

Overall, this is a fine CD. The tracks merge together, either due to consistency or sameness, but the songwriting is very good. Some Brazilian rhythms are mixed in, but not nearly to the extent that they were on Angra's 'Holy land'. This CD sounds very much like the successor to 'Fireworks' that it is and shows that Matos has met the challenge that the new Angra set for him by showing that he could make an excellent CD now that he is the primary creative force.



DAVID




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