Brain Freeze

Acta Vira

Born in the USA in 2014, ACTA VIRA was begun informally by three bothers while […]
By Jessica R. Harman
April 5, 2015
Acta Vira - Brain Freeze album cover

Born in the USA in 2014, ACTA VIRA was begun informally by three bothers while growing up. Now, with two brothers still in the act and a final piece in its place, they are making a name for themselves. These guys have a distinct story-driven Symphonic Heavy Rock sound.  ACTA VIRA pulls influences from bands such as SYMPHONY X, DREAM THEATER, IRON MAIDEN, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, ICED EARTH, and many others. They have released their six track debut EP "Brain Freeze", which comes in at a staggering 42 minutes. Debut, EP and 42 minutes do not usually all get placed in the same paragraph much less the same sentence so expectations are high for this one.

Track one, "Shut Up and Play", starts with a great opener that just sets the tone for the entire album. The guitar work throughout is phenomenal. In most trios with the singer on guitar, you get good vocals and lacking guitars or vice verse. Until the musician is not singing, then they have the opportunity to play guitar hard core. For the most part, the balance is brilliant here. It doesn't feel like there is anything lacking musically. The bass is an integral part of the line up that streams line each piece and element of every track. The drums are pretty great. They aren't blast your face off, but they are perfect for the sound the group wants to create, a Heavy Symphonic Rock with tendrils of an Atmospheric and Progressive Metal weaved in and out of the crevasses of each track. The keys really bring the tracks to life and completely change the sound. The vocals are give and take for me. Some times I really like their tone and other I think they are somewhat flat, however, I don't feel it changes the music too much either way.

Some of the tracks that really stood out to me were definitely the longest tracks on the album "Superimposition" and "Repayment". These tracks show the range that is held by the guys. "Superimposition" is an instrumental that last over nine minutes. It is an inspirational piece of work that is more Symphonic in nature. "Repayment" on the other hand is much heavier and much harder, but gently flows into a soft ambiance and back and forth again. This track is not pure instrumental and the vocals here apart of the range that just sends the track to another level in Atmospheric elements.

Another amazing track that keeps a more normal length is "Chasing Shadows". This track starts off slower and builds to a track that has incredible guitar work and vocals that match the tone of the track. The bass is also a bit of a shiner in this track really showing off. The drums also have just that greatness in this track the makes it stand out.

What a great debut EP "Brain Freeze" is; I encourage everyone to listen to this album. It has pure, clean, and raw vocals with a bit of tonal range. I can't wait to see what else these guys come up with.

8 / 10


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"Brain Freeze" Track-listing:

1. Shut Up and Play
2. City of the Kings
3. Day by Day
4. Superimposition
5. Chasing Shadows
6. Repayment

Acta Vira Lineup:

Steve Harwood - Guitars and vocals
Rob Harwood - Drums and keyboards
Joe Huls - Bass

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