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Shaman: Immortal

Most readers know the beginning of Brazilian power metal band, Shaman: it was formed by Andre Matos, Luis Mariutti and Ricardo Confessori after leaving the legendary Angra. Their first release 'Ritual' displayed the oft necessary pains of a new genesis. The second studio release (third work), 'Reason,' showed the promise of coherence and maturity. It was a pretty good effort. After a successful tour supporting 'Reason,' problems arose and everybody but Confessori bailed on this fledgling band. Shaman was now on life support, but Confessori vowed to continue on.

Welcome another new birth as Shaman has filled the empty slots with Fernando Quesada on bass, Leo Mancini on guitar, and Thiago Bianchi on vocals, all of whom create no blip on the metal radar. But flying under the radar is not necessarily a bad thing, nor does it mean a lack of talent. For instance, Mr. Mancini taught for five years at the Conservatório Musical Souza Lima and played for Jeff Scott Soto when toured Brazil; and Mr. Bianchi formed to bands on his own and has done some producing including a work for Angra. Shaman is the sum of its parts and after listening to 'Immortal,' the whole is even better. 'Immortal' is a very good album.

First, let me say that the production is brilliant on 'Immortal.' As for the style, this is basic power metal with a good dash of progressive metal thrown into the mix. After the very good instrumental intro, 'Renovatti,' we are treated to solid power metal in 'Inside Chains.' When you hit third cut 'Tribal Blood' you hear the power of Mr. Bianchi's vocals and the thrilling riffs of Mr. Mancini's guitar. Confessori opens up the title track with some unique and creative drum work. The song itself is diverse in arrangement proving to be immensely satisfying.

When I reached the midpoint of the album, I found the second best cut on this work, 'One Life.' Here we discover the versatility of Biachi's vocals: he's not just another metal screamer. Confessori is so strong and consistent and with Mr. Quesada on bass, the rhythm section is mesmerizing. And Mancini shows exceptional creative brilliance. The best song on the album is, by far, 'In The Dark,' a true power metal balled (I'm a sucker for this stuff). The arrangement is sweeping in granduer and power. Bianchi is wonderful, strong and soothing in the same moment. I do not miss Mr. Matos. Mancini inspires with his precise acoustic and electric delivery.

As we approach the end, we are subjected to some average power metal with only small glimpses of originality. In a way, we have returned to the growing pains of a band learning to live with itself. However, there some worthy notes to make. Quesada's bass work is fantastic on 'Never Yield.' 'Immortal' ends on a more subdued note with simple vocals and much acoustic guiar on the long 'The Yellow Brick Road.'

Overall, I'm rather impressed with Shaman 2.0. 'Immortal' is a solid effort from a band just beginning to know each other. I expect good things (again) in the future. Recommended!
  - Craig Hartranft

In Short

Overall, I'm rather impressed with Shaman 2.0. 'Immortal' is a solid effort from a band just beginning to know each other. I expect good things (again) in the future. Recommended!

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