Let us travel to the humid climate of Brazil to witness the master stroke that is 'Unfold'. Album number four by this Progressive Metal quartet showcases all angles and dimensions that make this band all that they are.
The term Progressive Metal might be offputting as ideas of complex musical arrangements set to the punishing backdrop of heavy growls and guitars leaps to mind. Labels are often cumbersome and used inaccurately, but in this case I use it lightly as I consider 'Unfold' by Almah to be essentially a very good Heavy Metal album.
There are moments of fist punching in the air; hooks that latch on to the mind; solid guitar work and pounding rhythms bringing out the inner primitive Metal God from within and at the centre of this Heavy Metal circus are the songs. The opening bruiser called 'In My Sleep” could be mistaken for a quick-fire stab of Iron Maiden, whilst 'Warm Wind' on the other hand sways to the echoes of Helloween in ballad territory.
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You're getting value for money with 'Unfold' as it contains 12 tracks, one of which is an epic clocking in at over nine minutes. I dare you not to agree with me regarding 'Beware The Stroke'; as a strong melody reaches out during the chorus which resembles 'Wicked Game' originally by Chris Isaak, and also given the Hard Rocking treatment by Gothic band H.I.M.
Black Label Society spring to mind whilst listening to 'The Hostage' until a section of the song changes gear and I'm hearing a nod to Alice In Chains. 'Raise The Sun' and 'Wings Of Revolution' both attach a sense of melody to their structures with the latter sharing a huge woah-a-woah hook and the former maintaining an upbeat nature.
The Metal is injected in cutting riffs on 'I Do' and 'Believer' which both retain a strong sense of the melodic. To think that Almah began as a project created by founding member Edu Falaschi in 2006 and now they're a fully fledged band with that comfort and belief in their own self-identity.
It's been a productive and interesting journey for these Brazilian Metal warriors as you hear the top quality musicianship on songs like 'You Gotta Stand', (check out the guitars running rampant from Marcelo Barbosa and Gustavo Di Padua).
'Treasure Of The Gods' is the epic on 'Unfold' which starts out as a slow acoustically strummed song. In the blink of an eye, this musical trip begins to throw us around as drums and a rigid yet topsy-turvy riff knocks us about. Then we're galloping amongst the bombardment of instrumentation before taking in constantly changing scenery. This track is not for the faint of heart let me tell you.
'Unfold' is tidied up with 'Farewell' which in name and mood rounds up this 12 track collection delightfully. It's the shortest in length amongst these nuggets of Metal and whispers a soothing refrain thanks to the piano and atmosphere that is projected. Falaschi adds his sentiment with some suitable vocals as the album comes to a close.
With hints of several well respected Rock acts in the mix throughout, plus some determination to stamp their own identity amongst the maelstrom of ideas captured on 'Unfold', it's an exhausting yet satisfying album. My only criticism of this set of Heavy Metal moments is that perhaps the album is a little too bloated, but this is a minor critique when you can lose yourself in the riffs and arrangements, saluting the realms of Metal as you go.
Crank it up loud and admire the fantastic artwork by Rio de Janeiro-based digital artist Nathália Suellen.
1. In My Sleep
2. Beware The Stroke
3. The Hostage
4. Warm Wind
5. Raise The Sun
6. Cannibals In Suits
7. Wings Of Revolution
9. I Do
10. You Gotta Stand
11. Treasure Of The Gods