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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Angra: Holy Live


1) Crossing; 2) Nothing To Say; 3) Z.I.T.O.; 4) Carolina IV; 5) Unfinished Allegro; 6) Carry On.

Live, recorded at some Paris venue in 1996 — easy to tell if you know enough French to at least under­stand Matos' exploding "BONSOIR PARIS!" in between tracks. His French is not entirely accent-free, by the way, but quite extraordinary for the average level of a foreign musical perfor­mer; if there is anything that may bug a sensitive ear, it is the arena-rock intonations of his stage banter that, in my opinion, do not fit the elegance of Angra's music. Yes, it is heavy, but it is still «progressive» rather than «party» music, and Angra's anthems do not need any additional goa­ding to drive the listeners crazy.

Other than that, Holy Live is an excellent snap of Angra at their peak, and a very fortunate one considering just how short that peak turned out to be. The songs are not at all different from their studio incarnations, but the band members still manage to insert just a wee touch of extra live po­wer that makes the experience individually worthwhile. Thus, they have no way of replicating all the complex percussion parts of the «tribal» part of 'Carolina IV', but they compensate for it by making the underlying guitar riffage more loud and crunchy (and hats off to Matos for carrying over the chill-sending effect of "So, won't you come with me my friend..." to perfection).

We can only regret that the album is so shamefully short — it is, in fact, in EP format, barely run­ning over 35 minutes, and, in all honesty, containing only four actual songs ('Crossing' and 'Un­finished Allegro' are intros rather than full-bodied independent entities). Apparently, there were certain technical difficulties in recording more material, and these precious shards are all we're left with (at least the sound quality is untouchable). The band would remedy this five years later, with Rebirth World Tour, but, alas, by that time its creative engine would already be spent.

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