Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Angra - ØMNI (2018)

With their 9th studio effort, Angra sets its sight to the future, with a record about artificial intelligence, human perception, and time travelling. This album is ambitious for sure, but the title makes me wonder, why is it named "ØMNI"? They say it is latin for "everything", but last I checked, there is no Ø in the latin alphabet. Is there a reason to add that slash into that O? This band is not from Denmark or Norway (not Sweden either, but we have Ö instead), and I highly doubt that the rest of the world will use this letter 30 years into the future, so it just does not make any sense what so ever.

Oh well, I am not gonna completely bash this album for one little letter, after all, it is a pretty good one. I did have some expectations after the brilliant "Secret Garden" from 2014, and "ØMNI" is a very reasonable continuation of that record. The influence of the fairly new singer Fabio Lione has definitely been good for the band, and I bet that new guitarist Marcel Barbosa is eager to show what he can do for the band. Their brand of power metal is as strong as ever, and certainly stands out against the competition from Europe.

"ØMNI" might be one of the band's more versatile records to this date, containing a whole catalog of different tunes that each is a part of this multi layered experience. We of course get our fair share of power metal, starting with the opening track "Light of Transcendence", a typical speed freak that will get your adrenaline pumping and your vocal chords screaming along side Fabio. We also have "Travelers of Time" and "War Horns" (where old pal Kiko Loureiro stops by) that helps bring the average speed of the record up to respectable levels.

As said before though, there is more to "ØMNI" than just pure power. We got "Black Widow's Web" where the band gets some help from Arch Enemy singer Alissa White-Gluz, who utilize both her clean and harsh vocals in the heaviest song of the album, a nice duet that could be seen as a worthy successor to the Doro duet from the last album. Then we have the more epic tunes "Insania", "Travelers of Time" and "Magic Mirror", where every ounce of song writing skills are used to hold these sturdy tracks together. A couple of ballads squeeze in as well, and while they might not be the strongest the album has to offer, they do help in changing things up, putting that final touch on that impressive depth.

But while the depth is impressive, it does take away some of the personality of the record, making it feel a little uncohesive. It just does not feel complete, and since not all of the songs are of top notch quality, it makes the album suffer a little bit. The ending especially, the two part title track, is not anything to write home about. The first part ("Silence Inside") is a great progressive tune, but the second part ("Infinite Nothing") is completely useless, an instrumental that more sounds like joyful "good ending" music to a fantasy movie. Actually, now that I think of it, the title is quite fitting, it might not be infinite, but it is a whole lot of nothing.

"ØMNI" is definitely a nice album, and I do admire the thought behind it, but I think it would have been even better with a clear sense of direction. Since the story is jumping back and forward in time and space, the music does so too, not really giving the listener a chance to settle down and appreciate it. They are going from European power metal, to Dream Theater prog, to tribe chanting in a pretty quick pace. The good still outweighs the bad though, and there are a lot of great individual quality in here, it is just such a shame that the complete picture is not as sharp as it could have been. It is an exciting trip to the future with some great pit stops along the way, but it needs time to fully process, especially for those who do not understand the mystery of the Ø.

Songs worthy of recognition: Black Widow's Web, Travelers of Time, Insania, Ømni - Silence Inside

Rating: 7/10 Cavemen

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