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Almah: Fragile Equality

Almah: Fragile Equality

Power/Heavy Metal
Rating: 4.25/5.0

Almah began in 2006 as solo project by then Angra lead vocalist Edu Falaschi. His premier disc featured some notable heavyweights from the metal industry in the studio including Emppu Vuorinen (Nightwish), Lauri Porra (Stratovarius) and Casey Grillo (Kamelot). With the need to perform live and also follow up with a new work, Falaschi needed to create a working band. Almah now adds Felipe Andreoli (Angra) on bass, the Berklee grad Marcelo Barbosa (guitar), Paulo Schroeber (guitar) and Marcelo Moreira (drums). With this crew in tow, Falaschi entered the studio to record 'Fragile Equality,' an early Angra era form of power metal with doses of symphonic, thrash, and melodic speed metal. Additionally, 'Fragile Equality' is a concept album about the balance between all the elements of the universe and developed from a book which Falashi helped write. (The manga style book will be released in the future as Fragile Equality - Equinox-Book 1.)

So you don't have any doubt of Almah's roots or direction, 'Fragile Equality' begins with a straight, very fast, power metal number in 'Birds Of Prey.' It's pretty average stuff. Yet, things get better with the next cut, 'Beyond Tomorrow' which blends the power metal with some more melodic metal elements including symphonic keyboards. I liked it and I'm starting to get impressed. However, I'm still feeling like something's missing and I've heard this all before. Let's move on ...

'Magic Flame' and 'All I Am' definitely captured my interest. The former is power metal with a stronger vocal arrangement and heavy metal overtones in the fret work. The latter is less power metal and more melodic heavy metal beginning with an awesome acoustic opening which progresses to epic form to the end. With these songs spinning in my mind, I've realized that there is more to Almah than meets the ear. More than a single listen is necessary. From here expect more power metal with tricks and change ups including some thrash (ala Metallica) on 'Fragile Equality,' some subtle progressive elements ('You'll Understand'), pure melodic metal ('Invisible Cage') and the near ballad like in 'Shade Of My Soul.' The last two are the best songs on the album.

The only noticeable downside for me was that too often the guitar solos lean more towards squiggly, wiggly fret virtuosity, then heavy metal. Often the styles coexist in the same song as in 'Torn,' for example. Yet this did not diminish my enjoyment.

If given only a cursory listen, then Almah's second work 'Fragile Equality' could easily be passed over as well worn power metal. However, I would suggest that this work must be listened to carefully and unwrapped for its genuine creativity and excellent musicianship. 'Fragile Equality' is a better than expect sophomore effort from Falaschi and Almah. Very recommended!

In Short

If given only a cursory listen, then Almah's second work 'Fragile Equality' could easily be passed over as well worn power metal. However, I would suggest that this work must be listened to carefully and unwrapped for its genuine creativity and excellent musicianship. 'Fragile Equality' is a better than expect sophomore effort from Falaschi and Almah.

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