ALMAH - E.V.O
Originally started in the mid-00ís as a solo project by Edu Falaschi, who back then was the lead vocalist for Brazilian power metal heroes Angra, Almah soon became a real band, and when Falaschi left Angra in the beginning of the 10s, he had more time to focus his energies on his own band. E.V.O is meanwhile the fifth longplayer, and although I am only familiar with some of the bandís earlier efforts, I am convinced that they donít stop refining their genre.
Devised as a concept album about the evolution of mind and soul in the Age of Aquarius, I have to admit that I donít really care for the esoteric backstory, but the music is competent enough to dismiss this. The opener is fitfully titled Age Of Aquarius and starts with twittering birds and a melancholy female voice singing from the distance, before Edu Falaschiís trademark voice joins in, making you believe at first that this is a downright ballad, but two minutes into the song all hell breaks loose with an astonishingly upbeat pace change. The fast double bass drums give the song quite a dynamic touch, whereas the keyboards add a certain dramatic touch, like a happier Savatage. This song has all it all: great melody, a catchy chorus, well done backing vocals,... well, everything that made melodic power metal in the Nineties so suspenseful.
The following Speranza, for which the band made a video clip, is another track that marries melodic power metal with an infectious pop hook. There were times when metalheads would have cried out in horror, but nowadays in a hopefully more open-minded age, this kind of crossover should be met with open arms. Donít get me wrong: commercial power metal is usually not my cup of tea, but Almah has evolved so much that the inspiring songwriting combined with the excellent high vocals make this team a winner.
Also Almah are never content to stay in just one place, instead they are venturing in all kinds of territories. The Brotherhood is for instance a ballad, and as such very close to being maybe a little too much on the cheesy side, but the bandís unselfconscious behaviour somehow makes you ok with it. At other times, the sound becomes more modern, as on the groovy Corporate War, and frankly thatís where I draw the line. Despite some metal moments, this songís post-grunge attitude doesnít work so well for the band. And yet there are also highlights, like the playful Pleased To Meet You, a musical inspired dramatic power metal track that once again reminds me of a more carefree Savatage. Higher offers some fine Nineties sounding power metal, whereas Infatuated is heading back into the bandís pop sound.
Edu Falaschi had been the vocalist for Brazilís greatest power metal band for over a decade, and he is showing with Almah that he doesnít have to hide behind the looming shadow of Angra. So yes, Almah is possibly more pop, but also in a way more experimental, and by combining melodic power metal with progressive, musical and pop elements, the quintet has managed to find their own niche. E.V.O may be lyrically for the more esoterically inclined people, but the music is definitely worth checking out.