Label: Inner Wound Recordings
Release date: January 18, 2013
Japan already got their greedy little ears on the debut album from Vandroya earlier this month, but North America and Europe have a few more weeks to wait. The band which hails from Brazil has actually been around for more than a decade, but things didn’t start getting serious until an EP, Within Shadows in 2005. Over the last few years, the band has been hard at work writing the songs that would become, One.
Vandroya features the powerhouse vocals of Soulspell singer, Daisa Munhoz, along with; Marco Lambert (guitar), Rodolfo Pagotto (guitar), Giovanni Perlati (bass), and Otávio Nuñez (drums). Lambert also produced the record.
On the outside we see stunning artwork created by the mind of Felipe Machado Franco (Blind Guardian, Rhapsody of Fire, Iced Earth). On the inside…
The album opens with the ominous tone setting intro “All Becomes One” with wind whipping across the horizon. This segues into a rather melancholy Egyptian atmosphere. It’s sonic cinema setting the stage for “The Last Free Land”. Oddly the intro didn’t seem connected at all to the album’s true opening track which opens with a swell of building guitars. Then the drums kick into rapid fire attack and the guitars hit break-neck propulsion. Munhoz gives us the first taste of her grand eloquent vocal prowess. This is a classic power metal track with soaring vocals and an epic melody. A spoken word breakdown and swirling keyboards bend into neo-classic shredding. This gives us a microcosm of the entire album captured in one track.
“No Oblivion for Eternity” slides back into that Egyptian groove for an opening minute of what feels like a second intro track. More speed-riffing offset by galloping rhythms. The track doesn’t hit as powerfully as its predecessor and at times over the course of six minutes you feel as if only Daisa’s divine vocals and another sweeping solo save it from mediocrity, but that four minute-mark breakdown prior to the solo is phenomenal. This is one of those tracks that has to grow on you to fully appreciate.
“Within Shadows” marks another build-up with guitars, keys, and pounding drums swarming like raging aural spirits. Just when you think you’ve boarded the same-same train, about two minutes in the band shifts gears to an almost jazz inspired interlude that settles into a beautiful bridge back to heavy guitars and mammoth vocals. A very intriguing and surprising melody. Don’t settle in though as the song once again dips into that interlude one more time. Very much a roller-coaster affair which really showcases each members individual skills.
On “Anthem (For the Sun)” there are moments almost thrash-like in the riffage, but it is short-lived as once again the song transports the listener all over the spectrum of melodic metal palette. Conversely, “Why Should We Say Goodbye” is a stunning ballad which showcases another side to Munhoz’s vocal skills. She moves adeptly from powerful roaring to emotive and ethereal subtlety.
A hail of thundering stick work sets the pace for “Change the Tide” and the undercurrent of trilling leads really make the verses come to life. Vocalist Leandro Cacoilo (Denison Fernandes, Seventh Seal, ex-Eterna) makes a very complimentary cameo appearance here. The entire song is awash in dynamic rhythms, glorious soaring vocals and spectacular performances from each member of the band.
“When Heaven Decides To Call” is another power metal beast, while “This World of Yours” packs a serious punch with more driving guitars. This is easily the heaviest and most aggressive track on the record. Munhoz’s vocals never back down.
The album closer, “Solar Night” has more of a progressive feel with its spiraling builds and technical nuances. A rolling piano lines leads the listener into the final journey through the world Vandroya has painted. We are nearly two minutes in before we get Daisa’s vocals. So in essence, yet another intro. The song turns into a burly monolith with crunchy riffs, momentum shifts, and rich harmonies. It makes for an intense and memorable send off.
Vandroya has made a compelling statement with One: Equals parts grandiosity, aggression, energy, and atmosphere, it all comes together in a singularly impressive debut. The production is stellar, the performances top-notch, and Daisa’s vocals are both inspired and inspiring. At 53 minutes in length it gives fans sonic and fiscal value.
There exist a few moments on One where it seems one or two tracks meander a bit, perhaps lose focus, but on the whole this is a sizable auditory manifesto from one of Brazil’s great new exports. One is a win!