|Musical Style: Metal/Hard Rock||Produced By: Stauros|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: Brazil|
|Year Released: 2002||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 9||Rating: 60%|
|Running Time: 39:18|
Stauros deserves to rank with the many talented Christian metal and hard rock acts to come out of Brazil in recent years. After releasing the progressive influenced metal of Seaquake in 2000, Stauros placed four tracks on the Southern Extremities compilation before recording its fourth full length effort Adrift. (Please note that the bands four albums have combined to sell an impressive 100,000 copies.) In blending elements of straightforward hard rock and power metal, Adrift reflects the growth and maturity in the bands songwriting skills gained since the recording of Seaquake. Those familiar with Seaquake also know that the area of lead vocals represented a weakness in the bands performance. While steps and stride have certainly been made by frontman Cesar in his vocal delivery, there is still room for improvement here. The guitar team of Renatinho and Alessandro certainly has not lost their touch; if in doubt, check out their work on the tracks "Sacred Blow and "Images Away". Bassist Ve and drummer Ale round out a solid rhythm section.
While Adrift showcases a commendable production job, its sonics would have improved with a bit of big budget polish. A more than sufficient amount of rhythm guitar infuses the mix, but it in place can come across in weak and thin sounding manner. At the same time, the lead vocals tend to get drowned out by the instrumentation. (Please note that this is a problem that also existed on Seaquake.) Both the lead guitar and drums receive an adequate mix.
The albums title track embarks to the sound of flowing water before the rhythm guitar gradually fades into the mix and carries the song its duration at an upbeat tempo. Following an instrumental passage carried by a combination of rhythm and lead guitar, "Adrift" repeats its catchy chorus one last time prior to closing to a thirty second guitar solo.
The semi ballad "Sacred Blow" holds up under a very sound melody line. A quietly played combination of rhythm guitar and bass evenly propels the song until it reaches a strong chorus backed by a bit of lead guitar. After "Sacred Blow" picks up in pace following its second chorus, the rhythm guitar moves to the front of the mix and takes the song to its close. Renatinho and Alessandro display their abilities with a minute of very fine lead guitar work. "Sacred Blow" talks about God's mercy:
Now we only have Your mercy
Mercy that again was donated
The Almighty became man
And died our death
Again the greatest proof, Your love
A fast paced and double bass driven riff holds sway over "Our Scream" during its verse portions, the song picking up even further in pace for a sweeping chorus underlined by a prominent mix of keyboards. Stauros exhibits the strength of its musicianship during an instrumental passage driving the song over its final two minutes: Just under thirty seconds of fiery lead guitar work gives way to a bass solo before a combination of rhythm guitar and double bass closes things out.
"Running Again" is a very well done acoustic based ballad in which vocal harmonies help bring out the best in its commercial flavored chorus. The song conveys a message about the need for God's love:
I will always need Your love
Your words are full of affection
You give me comfort and peace
And I try to go on ahead again
"Images Away" returns the album to its hard rocking direction. Stauros once again showcases its instrumental prowess as forty five seconds of driving rhythm guitar covers its opening. Upon reaching its first verse, the song progresses at a mid-tempo guitar driven pace until it smoothly advances on a chorus with a catchy refuse to go away hook. Renatinho steps forward with a minute of striking lead guitar work.
"Defibulator" is about an individual who passes away as a result of a drug overdose:
So young! How much life thrown away
Overdose...the wrong choice in the wrong moment
Overdose...which will be my excuse new
The song begins in an emergency room as a medical team makes an unsuccessful attempt at reviving the overdose victim’s life. After "Defibulator" takes off to a blend of drums and bass, a heavy handed guitar riff kicks in and drives the song to its hard hitting chorus. A combination of rhythm and lead guitar carries a very well done instrumental passage.
"Mercy" is a pretty good two minute open air guitar solo. And while the guitar team of Renatinho and Alessandro perform admirably throughout the album, neither is quite on the same level as Rex Carroll (Whitecross) or Eddie Van Halan in terms of technical prowess.
Forty-five seconds of driving rhythm guitar introduces "Bullfighter" before it slows to a punchy bass line upon arriving at its first verse. As the song gains momentum, the rhythm guitar returns and pushes it to a chorus delivered in a good forceful manner. I like how "Bullfighter" ends to a minute long instrumental passage highlighting a fast paced guitar solo reinforced by double bass. The songs message could not be summed up any better than in its closing line:
My Saviour didn't die in vain
An acoustic guitar carries the ballad "A New Chance" forward until the piano enters the mix and leads the way to a strong melodic flavored chorus. A very well done bluesy guitar solo helps close the album in a very nice manner.
In summary, I feel it is fair to suggest that Adrift comes across as the more polished sounding effort when compared to Seaquake. And while Adrift is musically solid from front to back, I find that two ballads on a nine song album is excessive, particularly in light of the fact that one of those nine songs is a short guitar solo. That being said, I certainly commend Stauros for the improvement in its songwriting skills. However, much of the material on Adrift rates from good to very good but fails to stand out as great. The challenge facing Stauros is to continue and improve in the area of songwriting and come up with even better compositions highlighting catchier choruses and more noteworthy melodies.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "Adrift" (4:50), "Sacred Blow" (6:00), "Our Scream" (4:47), "Running Again" (3:31), "Images Away" (3:55), "Defibulator" (4:47), "Mercy" (2:02), "Bullfighter" (4:51), "A New Chance" (4:19)
Cesar – Lead Vocals
Renatinho – Guitars
Alessandro – Guitars
Ve – Bass
Ale - Drums