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Angra: Ømni

Brazilian symphonic, progressive, power metal masters Angra return with their second album with Italian singer Fabio Lione at the mic, the Labyrinth, Rhapsody Of Fire, Vision Divine frontman combining tightly with the co-lead vocals from guitarist Rafael Bittencourt. Conceptually Ømni seeks to combine the themes of three of the band's previous albums, Holy Land, Rebirth and Temple Of Shadows, where an artificial intelligence system is changing human perception and cognition by allowing conscious communication between present and future human beings. Hence characters such as time travellers, cavemen and, amongst others, warriors, all take up the story. Now let's not think too deeply into how the time line continuum would work for this theory, because surely if we could talk to people from the future, then we'd already know…? Anyway, it's a broad science fiction theme envisioned to occur in the year 2046 and to be fair, it is certainly one grand enough to hold the proud booming metal this band specialise in.

Also unafraid to incorporate themes from their Brazilian homeland, the choir infused and grandiose "Insania" features some atmospheric hand percussion that you might not have anticipated, while "Travelers Of Time" possesses a similar percussive theme, if through a completely different execution. However, it's the metal this band hammer out that is the heart of their beast and "War Horns" is a perfect illustration of how Angra combine the symphonic, progressive and power aspects of their sound into a cohesive, if sometimes slightly derivative attack. That's maybe a little unkind, because with 26 years behind them, this band have long been leading the pack and blazing the trail, but if there's one real disappointment on this latest outing, it's that even with an attack that does change outlook from song to song, there's no doubt that we're playing reasonably safely within a tight genre framework here. Lione, as ever, is a powerhouse and while he's ably assisted by Arch Enemy's Alissa White-Gluz on "Black Widow's Web" and with slightly less success by the growls of Brazilian singer Sandy on the same song, he really is peerless throughout. With Bittencourt adding splashes of vocal colour along the way, it's this side of things that really stand out.

Don't get me wrong, the guitar combinations from Bittencourt, Marcelo Barbosa and Kiko Loureiro are biting and memorable, while the solos add just the right amount of flash and fire. And all backed up by the rhythmical prowess of bassist Felipe Andreoli and drummer Bruno Valverde (and swathes of sumptuous keyboards), it's impossible not to suggest that Ømni is a potent beast capable of sweeping you along on its energetic journey.

If you like Angra, you'll love Ømni, but that doesn't quite stop this album from sounding a little more generic and straight forward than the majority of this band's recent output. That still means that Angra are at the forefront of the what makes the symph-prog-power world go round, but maybe just not quite setting the ever higher standards we've come to expect from them.

Track Listing
1. Light of Transcendence
2. Travelers of Time
3. Black Widow's Web
4. Insania
5. The Bottom of My Soul
6. War Horns
7. Caveman
8. Magic Mirror
9. Always More
10. ØMNI - Silence Inside
11. ØMNI - Infinite Nothing

Added: March 4th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Angra online
Hits: 1204
Language: english

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