The glockenspiel that opens “O Conto (The Tale)” makes you feel like a fairytale book is being opened, inviting you to go along on a magical journey. Take a look at the album cover and I think you’ll agree that there are elements in its design that make you think of Sleeping Beauty, for instance. Then there is the figure in the centre, who holds a doll – perhaps connecting with past memories? There is an innocence about her. She’s in a cellar, just like Bastian was when he snuck away to read The Neverending Story. Did you see the hands pressing at the window?
Priscila Lira’s voice shines through a symphony of strings and electrifying guitar on “Anjo de Luz (Angel of Light)”. From the orchestration you get the feeling that something epic is being recounted: “Anjo colhe, Lágrimas faz o rio caminho, Ao céu – Angels reap, The tears that form the river road, To heaven.” She longs for the angel of light to take her to heaven. The classical and contemporary instruments compliment each other; the use of the harpsichord one of my favourite inclusions.
An electric guitar and the drums start at a gallop on “Sacrifício (Sacrifice)”, an invitation for the weary to come to Jesus who will dry their tears. If I had to position Angel’s Fire on the symphonic metal spectrum, I’d place this Brazilian band somewhere between Cellar Darling – their song “Avalanche” comes to mind, and Ignea, a Ukrainian band that recorded their song “Alga” with a symphonic orchestra. I enjoyed Israel Lira’s strident guitar solo from 03:07 onward, and the band creates an overall polished impression. Angel’s Fire slow down the pace with “Guardião (Guardian)”, a ballad where the protagonist, a soul lost in darkness, finds light in Jesus. The tone in this song is wistful, and I love how the full orchestra is reduced to just Priscila’s voice and a piano before the band launches into the final chorus. It is clear to me that careful thought has gone into how the orchestral arrangements will add to the overall sound of Angel’s Fire. The dynamic interplay between orchestra and metal band gives each song an air of majesty. This is truly a monumental debut album.
For me, “Além do Horizonte (Beyond the Horizon)” hints at how the suffering on the path to Golgotha, and the death on the cross, leads to Jesus’ glorification. We read about the attitude of Christ in Philippians 2:8-11:
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Priscila sings: “Te mostrarei as águas que cobrem as trevas, Águas a mostrar o teu sangue sob minh’alma – I will show you the waters that cover the darkness, Waters to show your blood within my soul.” Could this point to the covenant between God and His people, as sealed through the sacrament of baptism? Because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, we now stand in a relationship with the Living God through Jesus Christ.
“Meu Desejo (My Desire)” sees the introduction of a male voice, albeit briefly. The guitar echoes the piano’s melody beautifully, before brass adds a cinematic flourish as the first verse starts. When I consider the lyrics, it tells of a love relationship that spans all eternity. Again, the orchestral arrangements and heavy metal groove work beautifully together. While the strings lend a light air to the song, the staccato stabs of the synthesizer punctuate both Israel’s guitar licks, and André Lima’s drum work.
The opening of “Novo Reino (New Kingdom)” sounds like the triumphant return of a king to his kingdom. As far as I can tell, the song takes its inspiration from the life of king David and references Psalm 23, more specifically. This song is a firm favourite on the album and will appeal to fans of Stratovarius for sure.
Italo Liano’s piano melody introduces “Pensamentos em uma Linda Noite (Thoughts on a Beautiful Night)”. The piano and choir provide for a moment of introspection, as Priscila sings of hope being born as darkness passes out of memory. It is also a soulful worship moment, wonderfully augmented by an emotive guitar solo. Forgive the comparison, but I can’t help think of that clip from “November Rain” where Slash plays the solo in front of the church… While all the songs up until now were sung in Portuguese, two English language songs round out the vocal contributions on the album. “Tonight” plays out like a prophetic vision of the Last Judgement, which extends into “Angel’s Fire” and the wish that the protagonist’s sorrows may be burnt away. This song evokes the powerful image of gold purified through fire, like we find in Zechariah 13:9, “This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'”
In the final track, an instrumental version of “Meu Desejo (My Desire)”, I immediately hear how Saymo Robert’s bass anchors the composition. I truly enjoyed listening to this enchanting debut, which scores a phenomenal 9/10.
Written by Karakul
01. O Conto [The Tale]
02. Anjo de Luz [Angel Of Light]
03. Sacrifício [Sacrifice]
04. Guardião [Guardian]
05. Além do Horizonte [Beyond The Horizon]
06. Meu Desejo [My Desyre]
07. Novo Reino [New Kingdom]
08. Pensamentos em uma Linda Noite [Thoughts on a Beautiful Night]
10. Angel’s Fire
11. Meu Desejo – Instrumental [My Desyre – Instrumental]
Priscila Lira: vocals
Israel Lira: guitar
Italo Liano: keyboard
Saymo Robert: bass
André Lima: drums
Record Label: Independent
Release Date: Feb 9, 2018
“Guardião” (EP, 2011)
“Meu Desejo” (single, 2013)
“O Conto” (full-length, 2018)
Priscilla Lira – Vocal
Israel Lira – Guitar
Saymo Robert – Bass
Italo Liano – Keyboard
André Lima – Drums
Video for “O Conto” (Entire Album)