Album Reviews

Vandroya – One Review

Released By: Inner Wound Recordings

Release Date: January 18, 2013

Genre: Progressive Power Metal

Links: http://www.facebook.com/Vandroya?ref=ts&fref=ts

 

Line Up:

Daísa Munhoz – Vocals

Marco Lambert – Guitar

Rodolfo Pagotto – Guitar

Otávio Nuñez – Drums

Giovanni Perlati – Bass

 

Tracklist:

1. All Becomes One

2.The Last Free Land

3. No Oblivion For Eternity

4. Within Shadows

5. Anthem (For The Sun)

6. Why Should We Say Goodbye

7. Change The Tide

8. When Heaven Decides To Call

9. This World Of Yours

10. Solar Night

 

I’ve heard some very impressive debut albums over the years, and now I have the pleasure of reviewing one of the very best I’ve heard yet. Brazilian progressive power metal band Vandroya have been around since 2001, but they started out as a cover band, and it took a while for them to start working on original music. I had been eagerly awaiting their debut for a while, because I had been impressed by their vocalist Daisa Munhoz on all three albums from Soulspell, which is basically Brazil’s answer to Avantasia. Well, “One” is finally here and set for a January release in North America and Europe, and wow has the band ever delivered!

As you’d expect from a metal band out of Brazil, there is certainly some influence of Angra here, particularly in the blistering opener “The Last Free Land”, which certainly reminds me of the glorious “Temple Of Shadows”. But there’s much more to the band than that, and while I can see how they’ve been influenced by many other bands, they have taken all these influences and channelled them at just the right moments, while still managing to create their own distinct sound, which obviously Daisa helps with. They have constructed what I’d call a perfect progressive power metal album, as they’ve mixed the genres in such a way that fans of either side of the music will find countless highlights to listen to over and over again and constantly be delighted by, often changing the tempo several times within the same song, but it always feels seamless and it always flow so smoothly. There’s also a nice balance between very heavy riffs, very technical musicianship combined with complex songwriting, and of course the more melodic side of power metal. Of the many things the band succeeds at, perhaps the biggest thing is how they’ve taken all aspects of their music and mixed them together so nicely, while still leaving room for surprises.

Another obvious strength is the vocals. I knew Daisa Munhoz was a very good singer from hearing her on the Soulspell albums, but I didn’t know she was capable of being this explosive and dynamic. Anyone who thinks a female vocalist doesn’t belong in a metal band would be well advised to listen to any song on this album, and try and honestly tell me Daisa seems out of place. Simply put, she has gone above and beyond what I thought she was capable of and delivered one of the finest vocal performances I’ve heard in the last couple years, roaring along with the heaviest sections of the music and allowing her shockingly powerful voice to be the driving force behind many of the best moments, while occasionally softening up just a bit to make the more melodic sections just as effective. Hearing this album actually made me revisit the Soulspell albums, as it was interesting to see just how much her vocals have improved over the years, particularly in the more fiery and emotional moments.

So the music is great, the vocals are exceptional, and I’ve established that the band is very good at balancing everything out. The one thing I haven’t addressed yet is the songwriting. Does that aspect hold up as strongly as everything else? In one word: Yes! After the standard intro track, we get the aforementioned “The Last Free Land”, which is one of the more straight-forward power metal songs, and it shows just how balanced the music is, with a very nice melody to open the song followed by some excellent riffs to go along with the roaring vocals during the verses, and then the chorus is absolutely epic and spectacular, with Daisa slowly building up intensity with her vocals, before unleashing it all at the end. On “No Oblivion For Eternity” we start to notice the band’s more proggy side, as the verses give a strong Symphony X vibe with how they’re structured, but at the same time the chorus is still very fast-paced, and so the song does a great job of showing both sides of the band. More impressive, but in the same vein, is “Within Shadows”, a song which manages to change tempos quite a few times, often in some very tricky ways, and sometimes changing to something much quieter and more atmospheric, with everything building up to a pounding mid-tempo chorus which then gives way to a much speedier section. It’s quite impressive how the band manages to do so much in so little time, and also make it not just coherent but even downright catchy.

After that comes a somehow even more complicated song in “Anthem (For The Sun)”, which is the second most progressive song on the album, and also one of the heaviest. The chorus is very nice, but everything else is quite intense and complex, making it sure to please anyone wanting to hear the band’s more proggy side, especially since it also has a lot of Symphony X influence at points. Daisa really gets to showcase her voice on “Why Should We Say Goodbye”, the lone ballad of the album. The thing to watch out for here is how her vocals slowly change as the song goes on, starting off at her absolute softest, and very subtlety working her way up throughout the song, before going full force for the stunning final chorus. Sometimes a slow build up just makes the payoff seem even better, and this song is a perfect example of that.

Next is a song I was already familiar with in “Change The Tide”. Actually, anyone who’s heard the recent Soulspell album “Hollow’s Gathering” will also know it, as this is indeed the same song that allowed Daisa to steal the show on that album, and the only noticeable difference between the two version is the male vocalist: This version features Leandro Cacoilo, while the Soulspell version featured Mike Vescera. It really doesn’t matter as both singers sound great, and the song always was and still is a fantastic and speedy power metal song, with an amazing chorus. This starts up a nice three song sequence, as “When Heaven Decides To Call” and “This World Of Yours” are also very fast-paced songs, with slightly simpler songwriting than some of the other songs, though they’re both still excellent, with the latter in particular being perhaps the fastest and heaviest song on the album. The album closes with the 7 minute epic “Solar Night”, and as much as I love the rest of the album, this is definitely my favorite song here. There is once again a Symphony X feel, with some of the softer moments reminding me of their two “Accolade” songs, but overall it’s by far the most complex and most progressive song on the album, with examples of everything they’re capable of, and it all comes together for one amazing epic.

Vandroya have delivered one truly unforgettable debut, with a perfect balance of everything I could ask for in a progressive power metal album, with enough speed and epic melodies to please any power metal fan, enough complexity, technical musicianship and creative songwriting to please fans of more progressive music, and an incredible vocal performance that will please fans of powerhouse female vocalists who can prove they belong in a metal band. For anyone who fits into any of those groups, I can give “One” the highest of recommendations.

 

Written by Travis

Ratings    Travis    10/10

 

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