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Angra - Fireworks ©1998 Century Media
1. Wings Of Reality
2. Petrified Eyes
3. Lisbon
4. Metal Icarus
5. Paradise
6. Mystery Machine
7. Fireworks
8. Extreme Dream
9. Gentle Change
10. Speed
11. Rainy Night

Possibly best known for either being the band featuring former Viper vocalist Andre Matos or being Brazil's best known power metal band, Angra's latest Fireworks is definitely sparkly and bright, if not a bit too flashy. As with any power metal release, you know I'm going to overreact with statements like, "My god, it sounds like Helloween and Gamma Ray! What's up with these people?" But the fact is that Angra does add some of their own sound. Andre Matos does sound a bit similiar to Michael Kiske, though I think he's a bit smoother and stronger overall. Angra also incorporates a bit of orchestration to the music, which is evident immediately in the album opener "Wings of Reality". But it's actually the slower songs that are Angra's strong point. When the band steps outside normal power metal standards, they prove they have quite a bit of ability. "Paradise" is an example of a good signature riff giving the song strength. The title track actually reminds me a little of Crimson Glory when they tried going a little more exotic. Hopefully Angra will pursue offbeat things like "Gentle Change" or the closing "Rainy Nights" with its more modern/danceable rhythms rather than constantly bite at the heels of established power metal. The band is chock full of talent so they do get a nod in their favor for that, as well as showing there is some creativity at work.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1999

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Angra - Rebirth ©2001 Steamhammer
1. In Excelsis
2. Nova Era
3. Millenium Sun
4. Acid Rain
5. Heroes Of Sand
6. Unholy Wars
7. Rebirth
8. Judgment Day
9. Running Alone
10. Visions Prelude

This is a very aptly named disc. Following the release of Fireworks, which was not very well received, and the ugly dissolution of the band, it was pretty much assumed that Angra would never rise again. This disc proves otherwise.

Very little of the original Angra remained. Guitarists Kiko Lourairo and Rafael Bittencourt brought a bunch of new talent into the band including vocalist Edu Falaschi. That they chose well is seen in the quality of the music you will find on this disc. What is perhaps unexpected is the dramatic change in the sound. This is not the Angra of Holy Land or Angels Cry. This is truly a reborn band with a new sound and a new focus.

I've read a few reviews criticizing the band for such a dramatic change in their sound. I think those reviews have missed the crucial point that this CD represents a "rebirth" for the band. As I said above, it is very aptly named. Most of the songs on this disc focus on newness and revision, reform and the future. It is as though the band is trying too hard to leave the past behind completely and forge a new direction. That effort detracts from the music in places. Sometimes when we try to ignore something we only draw attention to it by our efforts to cover it up. I think this is my only real criticism with the band. They overshot the mark.

Also, when you analyze the sound on this album, there are plenty of the original sound elements to be found. There is the theatrical epic feel in places that is very familiar to fans of Holy Land. There is still a heavy classical influence on the music. The changes are more in the speed of the solos which bring bands like Stratovarius to mind with their blazing speed.

I applaud the band for their efforts on this disc. If we are going to look at this disc as the "debut" of the new incarnation of Angra, then the effort is remarkably impressive. It is technical and entertaining. I think there is still a lot of tweaking to be done for the band, but this disc shows a grand promise for future releases. Once they have relaxed and left the bad taste of the past behind, they will produce some stuff that is sure to be amazing.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 02/2002

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