Brazilian veterans Angra have been cranking out quality power metal for more than twenty-five years. 2018 sees them releasing their ninth studio album, ØMNI. This one is a concept album, ambitious in scope as it seeks to tie together three previous albums (Holy Land, Rebirth and Temple of Shadows) through the idea that in the future AI has changed human perception. Don’t be frightened, though: this ambition doesn’t make ØMNI unwieldy at all – at least, no more so than the band’s music normally does.
Angra are known for weaving elements of Brazilian music into their brand of prog-power, and the moments on ØMNI when they do so work well. Songs like “Travelers of Time” and “” stand out for this reason, while other power metal cuts such as “War Horns and “Caveman” bring an infectious enthusiasm to the table. The two-part title track closes the album in pretentiously progressive fashion, with more homegrown influences and an outstanding overall arrangement.
Unfortunately, there isn’t enough of these types of songs to make the entire album enjoyable. “Black Widow’s Web” features a mishmash of clean male and female vocals as well as some horrible harsh vocals that do nothing for the song. “The Bottom of my Soul” and “Always More” are schmaltzy over-the-top prog ballads that feel forced.
As expected, ØMNI is well-produced, featuring a powerful and aggressive mix with plenty of clarity, and room for all the instruments to excel when appropriate. One shouldn’t be shocked to see that Jens Bogren once again produced: the man has a touch with this style of music.
While ØMNI can’t be classified as a disappointment, it also isn’t Angra’s best work. When it strikes gold it does so with invigorating prog-power metal complete with Brazilian undertones, but at its worst it is excessive and sappy prog metal in the vein of mellow Dream Theater cuts. Sticking to former would do the band good. With that being said, ØMNI is still an overall enjoyable listen.
(released February 16, 2018 on earMusic)
Heavy Music Headquarters Rating:
Watch Angra – “War Horns” Video