'Rebirth' is the new outing for Angra and features a revamped lineup after the departure of previous members including Andre Matos. The writing is still as sound as the fans will expect and the new vocalist fits in very well. The album is released once again through SPV/Steamhammer throughout the world.
For those wondering about the future of Angra due to the serious departure problem presented can rest assured that this band is gonna be around for a while and is definitely hitting on all cylinders. The music sports the usual influences with some aggressive moments and some very good melodic moments. The strength of new vocalist, voice is apparent and the void has been filled nicely. For those wanting their Andre fix, check out the new band Virgo coming soon. Back to this review though and looking at the music, there is a lot of different things shining here. Some of my personal favorites include the pulsating 'Nova Era' which is very typical of what you would expect from a melodic speed metal band. Then there is 'Acid Rain' which has a very majestic feel to it. 'Heroes of Sand' and 'Unholy Wars' are cool as well with the latter being broken into two parts. Angra fans will dig this track. 'Rebirth' has a nice easygoing feel as does 'Visions Prelude'. Probably my favorite is 'Judgement Day'. Just has that winning feel to me.
The first thing people are gonna ask is how is the new singer. Probably one of the hardest roles to fill has been filled well. Edu Falaschi has his own personality and really keeps life in the band that some might feel was lost with Andre's departure. I think most people will like this album and not get into the change os singers debate. One of the cool releases of the year.
Empire is the new project of German shredder Rolf Munkes and features a pretty decent supporting cast including Lance King from Balance of Power, Mark Boals, Anders Johansson, Don Airey, and longtime cohort Gerald Kloos who has worked with Rolf on his solo material. The music is based in the melodic hard rock vein and definitely has the 'group' feel to it. The album is released through Lion Music.
Now I mentioned that this release has a 'group' feel to it. I base that off of the fact that the music is a bit different than Munkes has released before. Sure, it definitely has his trademark guitar work that I expected, but this stuff has a lot of melody with a bit of different structure to it. A great example is the first track 'Fool in Love' which is preceded by the intro 'Hypnotica'. The tune is fairly basic in style, yet has the technical feel. Lance King handles all vocal duties except for 'Into the Light', and 'I will always be there'. Mark Boals sings these two tracks. There are only two instrumental tracks which include the already mentioned 'Hypnotica' intro and 'A different sign' which clocks in around two minutes and packs a lot of mood and intensity. The music is pretty consistent throughout the album with a lot of shining moments.
This album is a pretty good listen. I have been a fan of Munkes for some time now and feel he is sparking on all cylinders with this project. This release will have a lot to offer most fans of melodic hard rock. It will also appeal to the shredders out there with Rolf's playing. A job very well done!