Cycles of Pain


The new album of the Brazilian Heavy/Power Metal masters is a masterpiece, a 'must have' album!
January 3, 2024

The Brazilian Metal scene could be greater than it really is, but along with all social problems of the country, the public of the genre down here is truly unbearable sometimes, complaining of everything and never giving a hand to help. Let’s explain things by an example: there are ‘critics-of-the-writers’ here, or in other words, guys and girls that heavily criticize writers of the reviews, but that never try do write anything, and they do the same in many aspects. Such kind of people only divide, never unite, and they’re fruit of the lack of a good educational system down here. And it’s truly boring to check people complaining when a great name into the scene releases an album. Imagine things I heard and read about “Cycles of Pain”, the new ANGRA’s album after 5 years since “Ømni”.

As one of the greatest name of Brazilian Metal scene, too much is expected of every release of the band, even after 33 years of career and with a worldwide recognized work. But what is depicted on the album is what is expected from the quintet: that old and good mix between Heavy/Power Metal with Progressive Metal traces and regional rhythms of Brazil in some moments (as heard on “Vida Seca”, that means ‘dry life’, maybe a reference to Brazilian writer Graciliano Ramos’ book “Vidas Secas”, and by the way, the book can be saw on the official video of the song), adorned with technical arrangements and grandiose choruses. But “Cycles of Pain” is a rich album, depicting how the band ages without losing its vitality, and is always relevant and always revealing some surprises.

After 17 years (since 2006’s “Aurora Consurgens”), the band once more decided to work with Dennis Ward, who produced, recorded, mixed and mastered the album (and worked with the quintet in some lyrics as well), giving to “Cycles of Pain” a modern and heavier sonority than the usual, but always in an understandable way. The artwork is a fine piece of Erick Pasqua (a Brazilian designer that’s known for his works on books, concept designs for amusement park attractions, characters, environments and interfaces for video games, among other works, and it seems to be his first work with a Metal band), depicting parts of Brazilian natural and ancestral culture, as well depicts the cycles of suffering we all pass through life to get better and stronger.

The list of guests on the album is greater than is allowed to write on a review, but one deserves a special attention: Lenine, a famous  musician and singer on MPB, Folk Rock and Pop Rock of Brazil on the vocals on “Vida Seca” (maybe he has a deeper idea of what poor people of Northeast region of Brazil suffers due the drought there). The radicals can be complaining a lot right now for it. Since ANGRA’s MK III (with Fabio Lione on vocals) started to roll, it can be said that “Cycles of Pain” is far the most inspired album of all, even without offering something stylistically different from the usual they do.

“Cyclus Doloris” is an intro to create the right feeling for the Heavy/Power Metal blow called “Ride into the Storm”, a heavier song with contrasts with silk melodic moments (especially during the hooking chorus) and filled with inspired guitar riffs, solos, duets and arrangements. It’s followed by “Dead Man on Display”, a song with a more weighty appeal (even some extreme moments can be heard on the guitars), with excellent singing (with contrasts between vocals’ tunes) and horror-like orchestrations. “Tide of Changes - Part I” is a short and climatic song with a deeper and melancholic insight, focused on vocals and Fretless bass guitar parts, introducing “Tide of Changes - Part II”, another heavier with a slow outfit and Prog Metal like elements, with excellent bass guitar and drums rhythmic guidance, and it’s a right track to give a rest for the fans on the shows.

On “Vida Seca” the fans have a multi-layered song plenty with Brazilian regional rhythms of Northeast Region on its beginning, with Brazilian Portuguese part with, before becoming heavier with a Power/Prog Metal elegant appeal. And it’s not a hard song to deal with for the fans (pay attention to the richness acoustic guitar parts). Following, “Gods of the World” begins with choirs and orchestrations (Progressive Rock-orientated parts can be heard as well), before becoming a powerful and melodic song with excellent hooks and choruses (and with a Pop Rock touch in some moments). As all title tracks, “Cycles of Pain” carries heavy responsibilities, but’s melodic and with melancholic ballad-like outfit with heavier crescendos, showing the versatility if the band (especially on the vocals). On “Faithless Sanctuary” more Brazilian musical elements can be heard (especially on some percussive elements), with that traditional Power Metal/Prog Metal classic appeal of the quintet.

The beginning of “Here in the Now” is climatic and with a Prog Rock-like insight, with charming guitars’ arrangements, but always with wise technical touches (especially on bass guitar and drums), a modern and catching song. And “Generation Warriors” follows a classic trend into the bands genre (Fast and melodic parts on a Power Metal way with charming chorus), but in an updated appeal. Finally comes the last one, “Tears of Blood”, a track with a charming outfit boosted by chords that allows contrasts between male and female singing (along excellent guitar solos). Of course, fans of past lineups of the band will keep on with complains (and of course one has the right to not like a release, but don’t need to fill internet with such laments). But no one can’t deny that “Cycles of Pain” shows that ANGRA is living an inspiring moment of its career.

As final words, let me extend myself a bit more: I intentionally chose the video of “Vida Seca” for this review. The choice has many different reasons: to show you all the different contrasts between classes here in Brazil. But it depicts as education can plain things (and I truly hope that the happy ending of the video can become a truth here someday).

10 / 10









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"Cycles of Pain" Track-listing:
  1. Cyclus Doloris
  2. Ride into the Storm
  3. Dead Man on Display
  4. Tide of Changes - Part I
  5. Tide of Changes - Part II
  6. Vida Seca
  7. Gods of the World
  8. Cycles of Pain
  9. Faithless Sanctuary
  10. Here in the Now
  11. Generation Warriors
  12. Tears of Blood
Angra Lineup:

Fabio Lione - Vocals
Rafael Bittencourt - Guitars, Piano, Backing Vocals, Choirs
Marcelo Barbosa - Guitars
Felipe Andreoli - Bass, Guitars
Bruno Valverde - Drums, Percussion

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