Beyond the Human Mind is one of those albums that if you don’t know of Vandroya, makes you wonder how they have escaped your notice for so long. The Brazilian band pulls out all the stops in crafting tracks filled with blistering guitars and powerful vocals…everything a metal album should have.
Dating back to 2001, Vandroya started out as many metal bands do, with a passion for the music and an initial focus on playing covers of bands that inspired them. In 2005, the band recorded their first demo Within Shadows and word began to spread in Brazil about the band. Eventually the band signed to Inner Wound Recordings and the debut album One was released in 2013. Using the critical acclaim for the album, the band toured Brazil as word about them began to spread across the globe. In 2015, the band recorded the song “March of Time” for a Brazilian Helloween tribute album and other members of the band contributed to a variety of other projects. 2016 saw the ban release an ep with a cover of the Bryan Adams’ song “Heaven” and an acoustic version of “No Oblivion for Eternity” from their debut album. Beyond the Human Mind revolves around the concept of the journey we all go through searching for fullness and peace and an understanding of who we really are.
Sometimes a band comes out of nowhere to simply amaze you and that is my experience with Vandroya. As many albums do, Beyond the Human Mind starts out with an instrumental opening track full of anticipation and symphonic elements eventually joined by the guitars that are simply adding some texture and color initially, but then come to the forefront…and do they ever. Some great solo work, full of style and character and not just speed and flash. At this point, I was sold on this album based on the guitar work. The opening “Columns of Illusion” gives way to the ultra-fast “The Path to the Endless Fall”. Rapid fire drums and riffs with a thumping bass line drive the opening of the song and then the guitars fade to the back, giving way to one very beautiful voice from Daisa Munhoz. In the end we have female-fronted melodic power metal with a harder edge and good enough to define the genre. And then there are the guitars of Marco Lambert and Rodolfo Pagotto…simply amazing.
At times, I can’t help but hear elements of older Rainbow, which I often say with power metal bands, but I can’t help what I hear and some of the vocal inflections and shifts in tone and forcefulness in Daisa’s vocals do remind me a bit of Dio, so that certainly helps reinforce that notion. Melodic and strong or subdued and quiet, Daisa’s vocals work equally well and the songs are constructed in such a way to highlight not only the strength of the vocals, but also those guitars and then in “Maya” there is even a section for the bass guitar. Production and mixing is excellent, drums, bass, and keyboards provide a solid backdrop for the songs but are allowed to come forward from time to time and the guitars that are so good, take center stage when appropriate while melding with the driving rhythms at other times. Best of all, the nine songs on the album occupy 53 minutes, so there is plenty of great music.
As one might expect there are some slower tracks on the album in “Last Breath” and “If I Forgive Myself”. “Last Breath” sounds much like a power ballad that we’re all familiar with and the acoustic guitars do help showcase Daisa’s voice but the song does feel a bit predictable. The piano-driven “If I Forgive Myself” has a decidedly different feel to it in the beginning but again shifts toward the predictable. Then again, maybe I’m just not a fan of ballads on metal albums?
Right after the ballad “Last Breath” is one of the coolest opening riffs in “I’m Alive” and that instantly lets the listener know that slow song time is over and fast metal returns. As in other songs on the album, the interplay between the guitars of Marco and Rodolfo is something that borders on magic and that continues to the harmony leads in the beginning of “You’ll Know My Name” where Daisa ventures close to some rougher vocal stylings mixed in with her smooth and powerful delivery found elsewhere on the album. As with other tracks, the drums are pounding at breakneck speed setting a furious pace.
The album closes with the epic, 11 minute title track, which starts out differently than other songs on the album as its neither fast power metal or slow ballad, but does feature some interesting combinations of piano a fairly dirty, chunky riff. Through the verse section, the piano dominates one piece of the overall sound, while the thumping drums and bass occupy the rest, setting up for the return of that chunky riff. About halfway through the song there is a shift and the speed and melody picks up leading to the inevitable guitar solos worth waiting for.
If you’ve made it this far in the review, you can easily tell that Vandroya has impressed me a great deal. Beyond the Human Mind combines incredible musicianship and vocals with creative songwriting and solid production, resulting in simply a great metal album.
Written by John Jackson
01. Columns Of Illusion
02. The Path To The Endless Fall
04. Time After Time
05. Last Breath
06. I’m Alive
07. You’ll Know My Name
08. If I Forgive Myself
09. Beyond The Human Mind
Daísa Munhoz – Vocals
Marco Lambert – Guitar
Rodolfo Pagotto – Guitar
Giovanni Perlati – Bass
Otávio Nuñez – Drums
“Vandroya” EP, (2005)
“One” (2013) (review)
“Heavenly Oblivion” EP (2016)
“Beyond the Human Mind” (2017)
Record Label: Inner Wound Recordings, April 2017
Lyric Video for ‘I’m Alive’