Allos – Spiritual Battle
Allos – Spiritual Battle (2012)
Reviewed by Daniel Millard
If ever there was a non-European country that exemplified a national style of power metal, it would almost certainly be Brazil. Ever since Angra shaped the mould with Angel’s Cry in 1993 and perfected the cast with 2000’s Rebirth, numerous Brazilian power metal bands (including Angra themselves) have followed the formula to a greater or lesser extent. Fast forward 19 years, and the influence is plain as day on Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s Allos and their debut album Spiritual Battle.
Now, a lazier soul than I would simply wave off this album as a “poor Angra clone”, but that’s not really being fair to either of them. The comparison makes for a decent starting point, however, and we’ll go from there. Unlike Angra, Allos drops any overt hints of indigenous South American instrumentation and sounds, and also foregoes the same level of technicality that Loureiro and Bittencourt routinely achieve.
Allos takes a rather straightforward, Christian approach to their lyricism. However, while the words are a bit awkward coming out of Celso Alves’ mouth, they’re not representative of the clumsy approach employed by some Christian bands. Alves himself is a decent singer, and it is painfully obvious that Edu Falaschi has had a strong influence upon the young vocalist. The occasionally forced strain in his voice is one that seems to find its way to a number of Brazilian vocalists, certainly. While Alves is all right, he doesn’t boast an exceptional range, particular energy, or an extraordinary level of charisma.
Despite the glossy layers of keyboards, the occasionally hyperactive bass (definitely a plus), and the fire-spitting guitar solos (see “Power Of Choice”), the rhythm guitar is terribly simplistic at times, and makes for a tremendously basic foundation that Allos never quite grows beyond for the duration of the album. Also, as this is quite purely a power metal album, I find the lack of properly stirring choruses to be a measurable disappointment, with the soft “Everlasting Love” lacking any sort of true melodic hook to redeem itself. This ballad is certainly the least remarkable tune on the album, while I’d class “The Hero” and the self-titled closer as the strongest, with their speed, tasteful keyboard backdrop, and superior guitar and vocal melodies.
Fans of Age Of Artemis and Angra’s own power metal glory days will appreciate Spiritual Battle to varying extents. I myself find the album lacking the sheer memorability of the former, and the effortless, graceful complexity of the latter. However, I’d say that Allos is a band to watch. If they progress beyond their highly formulaic infancy, there is clear talent from every corner that the quintet could capitalize upon with ease.
3.25 // 5