|Musical Style: Power/Progressive Metal||Produced By: Karim Serri|
|Record Label: Bombworks||Country Of Origin: Brazil|
|Year Released: 2006||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 9||Rating: 75%|
|Running Time: 53:20|
Seven Angels came out of Brazil in 2002 with the blend of power and progressive metal found on its full length debut The Second Floor. Moving in the same musical direction on its 2006 sophomore release Faceless Man, Seven Angels mixes in an occasional thrash and speed element to put together a much more well rounded effort that does a better job of holding up under repeated play. Of course, a measure of the bands improvement can be traced directly to the steps and strides made by lead vocalist Debora Serri. Faceless Man finds Debora putting forth a stronger effort that, when compared to The Second Floor, comes across in the more controlled and confident sounding manner. And while there is still room for improvement here and she still exhibits some shaky and unsettled moments (such as on “Beyond The Dark Side Of The Moon”), I can honestly say that her abilities now enhance and no longer detract from the bands sound. It does not hurt, at the same time, that the band chose to complement Debora – and help round out the project in the process – with guest appearances by several male lead vocalists who bring styles ranging from extreme (“Walking Over All The Seas”) to the clean (“Unseen Truth”). Guitarist Karim Serri continues to impress, his playing best showcased throughout the numerous lengthy instrumental passages adorning the project from front to back. Drummer Eliezer Leite is a terrific talent who puts in nothing less than a tight as a nail performance. Finally, it is worth pointing out that since the release of The Second Floor both bassist Ricardo Bagatelli and keyboardist Rafel Friesen departed the group only to be replaced by Regis Lafayette and Gustavo Martins. The only problem is that the packaging fails to mention which instrument(s) either of the two plays, and since this information is not available at the bands website either it must be a big, big secret…
Production values are just as good if not better than The Second Floor. The rhythm guitar comes across with just the right amount of edge, while both the lead guitar and bass evenly rise above the instrumentation. The drums stand out crisp and clean.
“A Handful Of Sand” opens to a brief drum solo before moving through its first verse to a fast paced double bass driven riff. Breaking for a brief instrumental section, the song temporarily slows to a piano at the start of its second verse until the rhythm guitar fades back to its place of prominence in the middle of the third. Repeating its first verse, a lengthy instrumental passage carries “A Handful Of Sand” at breakneck speed until Marco Caporasso lends his gruff and guttural vocal delivery to its fourth and final verse. All in all, a very good song showcasing a nice melody and a strong display by the band of its instrumental sound.
A choppy guitar riff drives “Beyond The Dark Side Of The Moon” forward from the start at an unwavering mid-tempo pace. After the song slows to a blend of vocal harmonies and a touch of acoustic guitar, the pace picks up to an instrumental section allowing Karim to display his ferocious abilities on lead guitar. The song-song-ish chorus that follows, on the other hand, comes across awkward as a result of the strained manner in which it ends up being delivered. In the end, what we have here is a song that flows very well during its verse portions but hits a wall upon reaching its awkward chorus.
“Nothing Besides Dust” begins slowly only to take off to an anthem-like riff shored up by Leite’s hammering double bass. Tapering off upon reaching its first verse, more double bass enters the mix as the songs pace picks up as it reaches a rapidly moving chorus with a surprisingly good catchy hook. Another extensive instrumental section is underscored by a heavy duty bass line as Karim once more launches into a blistering solo. This proves one of the albums better tracks due to not only the quality of the music but due to Debora’s well rounded vocal performance as well.
The sound of blowing wind and thunder, appropriately, introduces “Walking Over All The Seas”. Moving forward to a crunchy rhythm guitar only to slow for its first verse, the song tapers off even further for a quietly played passage in which the guitar plays a reduced role. The rhythm guitar, returns, of course, to carry “Walking Over All The Seas” through its fleeting chorus and the instrumental section that follows in which Karim again decorates the scene with his blazing lead guitar work. During the subsequent verse, a catchy effect is created as Debora sings in harmony with an extreme male voice performed by Osias Colucci. As its title implies, “Walking Over All The Seas” talks about how Jesus walked on the water:
Sleeping and dreaming
Laid down on a drifted boat
The wind still blowing
The storm is over us
He opens His arms
And speaks to the wind
And speaks to the storm
He speaks to the sea
Walking over all the seas
Still am I, the Son Of God
Stand up and close the door behind you
After the albums title track gets underway to a keyboard solo, it picks up in pace and takes off to a fast paced riff. Slowing as a pounding rhythm guitar reinforces its first verse, “Faceless Man” gains momentum in a double bass driven fashion for a hard hitting chorus. The ensuing instrumental section proceeds to a quietly played rhythm guitar fortified by double bass before culminating for a fast paced guitar solo. A second instrumental break later in the song is driven by a cool bass guitar solo. This band can flat out play! The lyrics here are very well written:
Dark Horizon, distant sun, cold nights on the hill
Cries in my heart, human blood on me
Pain and guilt are crushing me, slicing my soul
I am still waiting to know what it means
Shadows are flying, the sunrise over me
Sometimes I hope to know who I am
Oh! Oh, Lord! Show me my face
Let me know the deepest thoughts of your creation
I lost what I never had
“Unseen Truth” is a compelling hard rocker with lyrics based around Old Testament themes. The song aggressively takes off to a driving riff as interplay takes place during its first three verses between God to Moses and Pharaoh, Pharaoh to Moses and to God and the People to Moses. After Ronaldo Simolla steps forward with his Dickinson-like voice, he plays the role of Moses talking to God:
I cry for freedom, rising to the sky my supplication
In your promises I trust
“Unseen Truth” slows to a quietly played instrumental passage carried by, of all things, a saxophone solo. Picking up in pace, the instrumental section transitions to a blend of rhythm and lead guitar that takes things to a catchy duet between Debora and Simolla as the two play the roles of God and Moses respectively:
No matter how much
Anger and vengeance fall over you
You have my word
Why did you send me?
The sword of death is piercing my soul
People are crying, children are dying
All in all, a terrific song that ranks among the albums best.
Immediately launching into a double bass driven riff, “Daydreams” maintains an abundance of upbeat momentum during its verse portions, but it hits a wall upon arriving at a swiftly moving chorus that can come across somewhat repetitious in its delivery. A sweeping instrumental section gives Seven Angels the opportunity to display the prodigious strength of its instrumental sound. Once again, what we have here is another number that flows smoothly during its verse but in the end is held back by the weakness of its chorus.
It only makes sense to follow the albums fastest track with a power ballad. And such is the case with “Nobody Wants To Live Alone”, a very fine piece that cannot help but bring to mind the Finnish hard rock band Random Eyes. A piano slowly compels the song over its first minute before the rhythm guitar suddenly steps forward hard and heavy. Tapering off again to a piano for its first and second verse, “Nobody Wants To Live Alone” picks up in pace as the rhythm guitar returns to drive its slowly moving melodic flavored chorus. Several seconds of catchy guitar harmony opens an instrumental section highlighted by a guitar solo with an almost bluesy feel.
“From Now To Eternity” closes the album in very fine fashion. Opening to a quietly played guitar line buttressed by pounding drums, a crunchy riff kicks in and slowly pushes the song forward. Gaining further impetus in a double bass driven manner during its first verse, “From Here To Eternity” explodes upon attaining a fast paced chorus with a strong energy-laden hook. Karim takes the opportunity to exhibit his abilities throughout the songs two lengthy instrumental passages. Not only is this perhaps the albums best track, but it showcases Debora’s finest vocal performance as well. Good job!
In closing, it is worth noting that Seven Angels has made significant strides on Faceless Man but areas of improvement still exist. The bands compositions, for the most part, do a much better job of holding up under repeated play; nevertheless, I still find myself hitting the skip button once or twice. And while Debora has without a doubt made progress, a few shaky and unsettled moments still exist in her vocal delivery. That being said, the production values here are top notch as is the all around level of the bands musicianship.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “A Handful Of Sand” (5:32), “Beyond The Dark Side Of The Moon” (5:17), “Nothing Besides Dust” (4:35), “Walking Over All The Seas” (5:48), “Faceless Man” (6:20), “Unseen Truth” (6:43), “Daydream” (5:55), “Nobody Wants To Be Alone” (6:37), “From Now To Eternity” (6:24)
Debora Serri – Lead Vocals
Karim Serri – Guitars
Eliezer Leite – Drums
Regis Lafayette – Bass
Gustavo Martins – Keyboards