Gonzalo Pozo of Sonic Perspectives conducted an interview with members of Brazilian power metallers ANGRA at this year’s ProgPower USA festival, which was held last weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how ANGRA‘s creative dynamic has changed since lead guitarist and founding member Kiko Loureiro left to join MEGADETH:
Rafael Bittencourt (guitar): “The creative dynamic has changed a lot, but everyone is much aware of what is the concept of the band, of what we’ve brought to the scene, style-wise. So, it was fun, because now we try to capture the best out of everyone individually, but make it all our best to fit into a frame of different styles, a variety of stuff that we’ve been doing. So, it’s fun, because we kind of are recycling our own history.”
On Loureiro‘s replacement, Marcelo Barbosa, who is also with ALMAH, the band featuring former ANGRA vocalist Edu Falaschi:
Felipe Andreoli (bass): “First of all, he’s not a touring guitar player. He’s a full-time member. That’s an important distinction to make. [Kiko is gone] for the time being. He’s in MEGADETH, we’re in ANGRA. We have different paths right now. Kiko will always be part of the family; he’s still involved in the business, somehow, but Marcelo is a full-time guitar player and we do not see the future without him, either way. Actually, I’ve known Marcelo for many years because I have played with him in ALMAH as well and I actually was a big part of picking him for ALMAH at the time. We became such good friends. He’s my best man. We are very good friends and I think the chemistry works on and off stage, which I think is very important.”
On the 2014 departure of drummer Ricardo Confessori, who originally left ANGRA in 2000 (along with vocalist André Matos), but rejoined in 2009:
Rafael: “We brought Ricardo to also regain a little bit of the Brazilian rhythms and some of the atmosphere we had in the beginning. But, there was some style conflicts because when we were to play Aquiles [Priester, drums 2001-2008] songs, Ricardo was too different from Aquiles. So, we had to find a drummer that could combine those styles and also bring some freshness, some new elements and that’s when [current drummer] Bruno [Valverde] appeared. The thing is, he unified the two styles and also brought in, he’s playing the traditional grip, which is different in metal and in prog metal. He plays with a ‘pencil grip’ [style], but the thing is that we started also to build, as we also mentioned, a new dynamic and one entity. It’s very important to have a good dynamic among all the personnel, so we have to build one unified entity, that’s what we have now.”
On expanding their sound on their new “Ømni” studio album:
Rafael: “Felipe started to write more songs. When Kiko left, I thought, ‘Oh no, now I need more partners.’ I was writing songs with Felipe for quite a while, but this time, even more. He’s an awesome guitar player, too. He’s a drummer. He brought lots of his influences, which are based on thrash metal riffs and bands.”
On the guest appearance from ARCH ENEMY vocalist Alissa White-Gluz on “Black Widow’s Web”:
Felipe: “We got a hold of her, fortunately, but it almost didn’t happen. We were at the 70000 Tons Of Metal [cruise] last January, in 2017. We were watching ARCH ENEMY. We were all just amazed how great she is live as a singer and performer. We immediately thought, ‘Just imagine if she would record a song with us.’ Just with that thought alone, we started writing the song and thinking about her and how she would sound on it and thinking about parts for her. Fabio [Lione, vocals] knew her from the KAMELOT tour and he made it happen. He got in touch with her and she said yes, which was very cool. But her schedule was very tight, so in the end, we got her files two days before the master had to be delivered. But, we wrote the song for her, which is pretty cool.”
On the 2012 addition of Lione:
Rafael: “It all started kind of with an accident because we were invited to play 70000 Tons Of Metal, the ship. We didn’t have a singer. Then, the people said, ‘We want ANGRA. We want the songs from ANGRA. We have the dearest friend from the production here, which is Fabio Lione. We think he would sound great.’ So, we did it as a test. We had a rehearsal, we played on the 70000 Tons Of Metal. Many people here, never heard of ANGRA. They had their first impression right here, at the boat. They were, like, ‘Oh, your band is great. Your singer is great. How long have you been together?’ It was our first time with him. Everyone was impressed with this and we too. Fabio had two or three other projects, plus RHAPSODY, so we tried to rapture him as much as we could, to kidnap him as much as we could, but there wasn’t a real contract or anything. The whole thing has been six years now. The whole thing was very natural because he was like more and more into the band. He quit RHAPSODY because he wanted to stay with us in ANGRA, so that was a confirmation of having him as a singer. Now I think we probably are on our best moment. I can speak for the 27 years of the band, we had great moments of success, of some good dynamics in between us, but altogether, it’s a good dynamic inside of the band. It’s very creative and productive. The business side is also very good. I mean, the overall thing, the overall picture, is the best that we have. ‘Ømni’ is a good picture of the point, this peak, the highest peak that we’ve reached.”
“Ømni” was released on February 16 via earMUSIC. The follow-up to “Secret Garden” was once again recorded in Sweden with producer Jens Bogren. Many musicians were involved in creating the album, ranging from the percussion sound of Bahia to European orchestral arrangement — all of which give the album its outstanding variety.