|Power Metal, Progressive Metal
Steamhammer / SPV Records
October 29th, 2012
Release length: 1:57:51
First of all, nothing here has been remastered, so the sound from each album and era is just as it was. This causes disc one to carry more of the empty audio quality to the material at the start, similar to what you might expect from a mid-eighties recording, to the crisp modern quality of their later efforts towards the end of the disc, as well as on disc two. While having some remastering done on the songs from the first two albums would have really been great to hear, it definitely would contradict the point of this release, so hoping for those albums to get that specific treatment later on, if not already done, is something to still hope for.
Some of the best, as well as most unique from their first three albums and EPs, are all well represented on disc one. The first era of Angra is represented quite well, though its sad not more was chosen. “Carry On” is still a catchy and widely melodic track that does stand the test of time well, introducing fans to what the group initially sounded like. “Angels Cry” is immediate proof of the different compositions the group had, showing off the range in the vocals, but in a far more fantastic manner, pushing the Progressive Metal sense into more of an operatic world of softer vocals without the epic bite or symphonies. The same goes for the intriguing “Holy Lands” and the more Progressive Rock approach to the music that takes a bit of a Caribbean stance on the performance. Come the addicting “Freedom Call,” the powerful ballad “Lisbon,” and the infectious “Metal Icarus,” you really start to sense the change in music within the group, and what probably led to the seperation in the band following Fireworks, which is a shame considering these are some of the more enjoyable tracks from the band’s early years. However, the randomly inserted live version of “Carolina IV” shows off the group’s live potential and how different the pergformance can sound in person versus what you would hear on the studio recordings. It honestly is like night and day, and any fan who hasn’t seen or heard Angra live in the past will more than likely want to seek out a performance after hearing how powerful and majestic this thirteen minute plus song can be.
Once disc two starts up, you can tell the direction had changed rather drastically. Gone are the heavily Progressive influences, and the push to stronger Power Metal material does come to light. “Nova Era” kicks this disc off with some muffled audio quality, but the song still sounds great. The double bass kicks really stick out, and the heavier distortion on the guitars really gives it a nice edge. The only fault is that this does start to bring in an air of more traditional foundations, losing much of the unique touch the first three albums had defined, but not being completely absent. The band’s Brazilian heritage does appear now and again in their music, as well as this disc. “Hunters and Prey” is a six and a half minute song with a laid back atmosphere that does continue to build in a Progressive Rock sense similar to their earlier days to make one of the more unique experiences on this half. “Waiting Silence” is a fairly heavy song as well, and shows a little more promise in the compositions with a truly powerful performance littered with strong Progressive Rock/Metal touches, such as with the guitar solo that strikes, and some of the atmospheres that shine trough, and grow stronger as you near the more recent material, such as “Salvation Suicide” and “Lease of Life,” though nowhere not quite as majestic as the early releases.
While all of that is good and well, Angra fans may be a bit put off by this compilation since they have all the songs, or close to it. But, there are two reasons to pick up Best Reached Horizons at some point. The first is a cover version of the Led Zeppelin song, “Kashmir.” The track is actually really enjoyable, finding the band bringing in some of the Brazilian Progressive Rock sounds that really defined who they are as more of a background atmosphere and beat against the track’s signature riffs, making this rendition their own, as well as a must hear for fans of either band. Aside that, there’s also the fact that all the songs were hand chosen by guitarist Kiko Loureiro, one of the longest remaining band members (the other being Rafael Bittencourt). In a way, this is a personal insight into his musical tastes as far as the band and it’s evolution/de-evolution goes. This aspect also includes extensive liner notes to give a better understanding of the group, why the song was chosen, and possibly what it means to Kiko (since I don’t have a physical copy to actually read the notes, those three statement are simply assumptions).
Best Reached Horizons is something well worth looking into, despite whether you own all the Angra records the tracks come from or not. It’s sad that there is still time left on both discs that wasn’t used, which shouldn’t be much of a problem considering Steamhammer/SPV Records have been the band’s home since their very first album, opening up the possibilities of any song from any recording. But, even with that, you get an exclusive cover song that is simply fantastic, some rarer tracks you might not be able to get too easily pending where you live or how much money you make, and a crash course in the band’s evolution in the form music, as well as text. This is one of those compilations that are handled very well and actually become an intricate piece to the die-hard fan’s collection. While not every song may speak to every single listener, there’s enough to speak of the groups maturing, and how they bounced back from the literal split that occured after their third album.
01. Carry On – 5:03 (Angels Cry)
02. Angels Cry – 6:49 (Angels Cry)
03. Wuthering Heights – 4:38 (Angels Cry)
04. Evil Warning – 6:41 (Angels Cry)
05. Nothing To Say – 6:20 (Holy Land)
06. Holy Land – 6:26 (Holy Land)
07. Carolina IV (live) – 13:13 (Holy Live EP)
08. Freedom Call – 5:04 (Freedom Call EP)
09. Lisbon – 5:12 (Fireworks)
10. Metal Icarus – 6:23 (Fireworks)
|Overall Score: 8.5/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by Steamhammer / SPV Records via Freeman Promotions.