Edu Falaschi is not unknown in the world of Metal. Mainly with the Brazilian Progressive Power Metal band ANGRA has he done and still does a great job. Since a few years he also has his solo band called ALMAH. I had the chance, back in 2007, to review the debut release, “Almah”. You can read that here. As you will find out or found out, I didn’t think too highly of that album, despite the quality line-up. Which also means I didn’t check out the follow-up, “Fragile Equality” (2008). Three years later and with a stable line, including ANGRA bassist Felipe Andreoli, ALMAH releases its third album: “Motion”, released on the 14th October 2011.
This is, according to the press text, not a concept album from the common point of view. Every song tells its own story, but at the same time all of them have something related to movement, change and evolution. In terms of sound, I have to say the production sounds amazing. Polished, yes, but the music sounds very powerful. That’s due to the following: The guitar parts were recorded with 7-strings instruments, half-step down (B flat), and the rhythm guitars were played four times for extra punch. The album was mixed and mastered at Split Second Sound Studios in Amsterdam, Netherlands by Jochem Jacobs (TEXTURES).
“Motion” opens with “Hypnotized”, where you get a very nice melodic intro, before the powerful, grooving guitars unleash their sound and pounding drums follow close behind. Edu sings with a lower voice here, which is also, according to what I’ve read, more his kind of singing, contrary to the high-pitched stuff he does (or did) in ANGRA. This first song is a dark one and aggressive. A contrast is created thanks to the melodic chorus, which almost sounds hopeful compared to the verses. The rhythm is just great and excellent to headbang to. In addition, Edu and co. made sure the whole sounded catchy enough. Also nice is the headbang moment halfway and the uptempo/Thrashy backing for the guitar solo. In short, a very good starting track.
Next up is “Living And Drifting”, which begins with electronic sounds creeping in, but the music soon breaks loose with full force. At a tight tempo, the playing is firm. The electronics take the lead, whereas the Metal serves to deliver countering power. Again the lads made sure the whole sounded catchy enough! The rhythm, though nice and simple, is effective, indeed. The chorus is where everything unites to form one voluminous entity. The obligatory guitar solo is also well done, fits in perfectly. In short, another highlight on this album! And so is “Day Of The New” with its midtempo grooving. You could almost see it as PANTERA in a more Power Metal version. Also, this song is calmer compared to the previous energetic outbursts. And that’s a nice decision, even at this stage in the tracklist. The double-bassed melodic bridge could have come from an ANGRA song and is followed by the piano-led chorus. Here you’ll hear a different rhythm and an increase in tomwork and melody (incl. vocals). And so the song carries on towards the rather wild and crazy solo (at least to my ears).
“Bullets On The Altar” is the last highlight before the song I found less good. It’s a clean-sung and clean-played song, with influences from ANGRA (the more modern one, so to speak). Grooving guitars come in for the bridge, while gradually more melody is added to the whole, towards the chorus (piano and symphonic backing). This song is in general more melancholic than the preceding ones, but provides a nice change in heaviness between the verses, bridge and chorus. The solo is again well done and fits well, also because it’s as wild as in most of the songs on “Motion”. With “Zombie Dictator” the first half of the album comes to an end. The song’s energetic and wild start sounds promising and the drums clearly emphasise that by means of blasting. Ferocious grooving and demonic screams (is that Edu?) fall in after that to commence the verses. This is very nice indeed! You could compare it to PAINMUSEUM. The chorus is of the straight-forward kind with melodic Power Metal (incl. the typical double bass). But then comes a sad part where the drums play a more important role. But rest assured, there’s also time to headbang halfway in what you could consider a musical marriage between ADAGIO, PANTERA and PAINMUSEUM. The guitar solo rounds it off. The whole does indeed sound good to very good, but it failed to grasp me like the other songs did. So it’s just a personal impression here.
Time for another highlight then: “Trace Of Trait”. This one kicks in instantly with its powerful guitars and double bass. The drumming itself is more progressive now (like DREAM THEATER, ANGRA, REDEMPTION, …). A musical contrast is set up between the atmospheric verses (vox, drums, keyboards and clean guitars) and the chorus, where all vents are opened. Prior to that, the song title gets screamed out. The solo, key ingredient in all songs, can be found around halfway. “Soul Alight” is another song I found less good or interesting. It’s a slower one, but doesn’t groove any less. The riffing reminded me a bit of METALLICA’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” (off the “Ride The Lightning” album from 1984). Only here it sounds heavier. And until and including that part wasn’t even the verses, only the first part of the song. Then the speed increases and the train heads for the midtempo verses with electronics like e.g. AMARANTHE uses them. In the chorus the piano comes in, the tempo becomes slower and the singing is done more softly. It’s almost a power ballad, which is ok, but I personally prefer the faster stuff in this song, the parts where the Metal prevails. But kudos to the band for composing this song. The wild, crazy solo comes with Thrashy drumming. Talk about contrast.
Speaking of power ballads, “Late Night In ’85” is such a song. Calm, clean and acoustic with low, clean singing. All in all not bad, but nothing special either. Contrary to the last highlight: “Daydream Lucidity” where the intro promises grand happenings! And so it occurs with pounding Power/Thrash Metal. Edu’s clean singing, however, is too different from the music, the contrast is a little too big here. Progressiveness was again important when composing this song. See NEVERMORE, REDEMPTION or maybe some SYMPHONY X for comparisons. The chorus is where the tempo drops and backing keyboards fall in, in vein of PAGAN’S MIND. The acoustic track “When And Why” ends ALMAH’s third full-length. Here too, not bad, nothing super either.
The band’s self-titled debut had its moments, but failed to surprise me, not only because of the bad production. I heard some samples on YouTube from “Fragile Equality”. While they sounded better, I didn’t get any kicks from them, but maybe I should check out the album in a proper manner. Anyway, numero 3, “Motion”… that’s more important now. The band has made progress, no doubt about that and it’s good for Edu that he has a stable line-up he can rely on. The production on “Motion” is very good, the best so far. The songs rock, are catchy, have power where power is needed (of course, if you record the guitars a few times…) and the guys went into a more progressive direction here and there, which I like a lot. You will have read about the songs I didn’t like (for they just aren’t strong enough) and those are indeed the bad points on this, in general, very qualitative release. Another point for discussion are the solos: lots of wild stuff, not often inline with the music. Memorable is a term you cannot use here either. But despite these trivial (depending on how you consider them) critiques, I find “Motion” a recommendable album for those who like their Power Metal… powerful and melodic where needed. Edu and co. are on the right path and it can (should) only get better from here.
- Living And Drifting
- Days Of The New
- Bullets On The Altar
- Zombies Dictator
- Trace Of Trait
- Soul Alight
- Late Night In ’85
- Daydream Lucidity
- When And Why
Edu Falschi – vocals
Marcelo Barbosa – guitars
Paulo Schroeber – guitars
Felipe Andreoli – bass
Marcelo Moreira – drums
[xrr rating=4/5 =”Rating: “]