Brazilian metal band Angra have been together for 23 years and during that time they have not stopped giving. The band have created a new storyline for their eighth full length record Secret Garden. As the name suggests there’s a hidden tale to be told as the songs tell the fictional story of scientist Morten Vrolik who fights to restore his happiness after a tragic accident that took the life of his wife. The music works it’s way through Mortens battle and confusion as he is forced to revise his atheistic beliefs and values in order to recover a sense of personal contentment that was taken away by fate. The sudden change in his routine, the adaptability, synchronicity, loneliness, guilt, hope and the strength to rise anew are some of the topics discussed within the lyrics.
Now, a pre-warning for some music lovers, if you aren’t a fan of a linear story across an album then this may not be the one for you. However, if you can appreciate an album dedicated to using music as an art form to tell a story and journey then you may enjoy this.
The new journey is shown quite clearly by the album intro; ‘Newborn Me’. It is a song that discusses right off the mark how one will rise and face the light in their new outlook on life. Lead singer Fabio Lione has a voice that is akin to Myles Kennedy, yet the instrumentals have a fine mix of metal and techno.
The theme moves on swiftly, with ‘Black Hearted Soul’ which talks more about the light. But it is ironically backed with some hardcore backing vocals and some intense guitar shredding along with a sweet solo that all metal and rock lovers will go crazy for. Although that’s challenged again in ‘Final Light’ – may you choose your favourite, but both are insane! However the story is not lost, and ‘Storm of Emotions’ delivers exactly what it says, an array of musical elements, which changes in tempo and the emphasis on calm and mellow brings together a great track to let all that hurt go.
We are treated with the albums titled track ‘Secret Garden’ which features Simone Simons whose voice is just quite simply angelic. The track itself is quite old in it’s sound, and fits the storytelling genre, however thats not to fault her vocals which do add a nice variety to the album.
And that’s not the only featured track, Angra have Doro Pesch feature on ‘Crushing Room’ whose vocals reflect the haunting tone that is portrayed within the track and that is present ever so slightly throughout the album. His contribution adds again some more variety, and strengthens the messages of change and evolution. Which helps because the lyrics in this track do not hold much value or wit.
We are lost slightly with ‘Synchronicity II’ as it ironically it doesn’t carry much synchronicity within the album. This can be an issue in some metal albums, the instrumentals never falter, and perhaps the vocals never do either, but to maintain different hooks and songs that carry different themes can be tricky. Angra give it their best though, and do display their musical talent in their sound and playing.
But all hope is not lost, as our favourite track ‘Silent Call’ finishes off the album in a beautiful, stunning way. The piano and vocals work together perfectly to light up a track that calls for a rise from the darkness. If you can’t appreciate the whole album, this track is definitely worth a listen to just for the composition, pure beauty.
Secret Garden is a concept album which is still attempting to answer the question: can something that does not exist to the eyes, or is not perceived by the senses, be considered as non-existent?