Since the warm welcome fans and press gave to their debut album in 2013, fans of metal around the world (including yours truly), have been waiting for what Brazilian band Vandroya would bring us next. This year and for our delight, the band is back with their second album. Beyond the Human Mind by Vandroya is, as I said, a highly anticipated work that I had the pleasure to listen these past weeks. And it is just so bloody good that I had to take my time to catch my breath once again to tell you about it.
Vandroya is a band, formed in 2001 in Brazil by young musicians, fans of heavy metal. They released an EP in 2005, but it wasn’t till 2013 when they released their debut album One under Swedish label Inner Wound Recordings. Formed by vocalist Daísa Munhoz, guitarists Marco Lambert and Rodolfo Pagotto, bassist Giovanni Perlati and drummer Otavio Nuñez, the band was introduced to me as a power metal band with maybe some tiny brush strokes of progressive here and there in their musical canvas, and for a while that’s what I thought. This new album has proved me that the variety of their influences is way bigger than what I believed. Beyond The Human Mind is to me a powerful and mind-blowing display of the many facets this band has, a taste of their solidity, individual talent, passion and great technique. A clever blend between 3 of my personal main metal streams such as heavy, progressive and of course power metal.
The album opens with a greatly orchestrated instrumental track called Columns of Illusion. It is technically an “intro” track due to its length, but it really is way more than an introduction. It has a soul and rich songwriting as well, yet I accept it is indeed great way to prepare our senses for what’s coming. The Path to the Endless Fall it’s a purely power metal song with a slight symphonic vibe, with a very progressive, melodic and intense guitar solo. A song where singer Daísa Munhoz totally kills it, giving us one of her best interpretations, and giving me the goose bumps around 3 minutes and a half into the song with some badass high notes in the most heavy metal way.
Maya starts with sharp progressive guitars. Daísa shows once more her versatility, and there’s even time for some awesome bass magic from Mister Giovanni Perlati. Time After Time brings a clear Symphony X vibe opening with a savage bass and drums combo. A fast song that is dark yet uplifting at the same time, with touching lyrics that hit closer to home than any other. Last Breath came in and I recognized it right away as the ballad I was waiting for. Mainly because there was a power ballad on the previous album which was guilty of unleashed my fever for this band and I was seriously concerned if they could overcome its magnificence. Well the band took a wise decision and went in a whole different direction with this one, which indeed is still a power ballad, but going into a much more fresh, soft and smooth vibe, a light song that can easily be an earworm, maybe the most accessible track of the album, yet same beautiful and heart felted.
I’m Alive breaks in with an absolutely killer pure heavy metal riff, again with a Symphony X vibe all over it, something they also showed in their previous album. Great display of flawless vocal technique and a majestic interpretation of lead guitarist make this track one of my favorites on the album and their first single. You’ll Know My Name takes us once again to the band’s power metal roots, though it sounds darker than usual power, great catchy rhythmic guitar harmonies, and maybe I’m wrong but… Is that a clavichord?
Piano ballad If I Forgive Myself it’s a sweetly intense track, which simplicity make vocals shine harder. Melancholic piano breaks into ardent distortion guitars over the chorus, passing through a bridge where the emotion goes in crescendo and followed by a heartfelt solo. it is true that Daísa’s voice has a special glow in this kind of tracks due to her emotional sweet timbre and face melting technique. Last but not least we have Beyond The Human Mind, the longest track of the album and also the most progressive one, plagued of faltering rhythms and pace changes that will make any prog nerd ( ahem I mean, fan), eargasm. If you’re one of those this is definitely the track that will catch your ear.
If you knew Vandroya, this album it’s the perfect evolution from their debut and will surely not disappoint you, and if you just came across them, well congratulations; you will learn about their sound which is born in the vortex where progressive and power metal meet and I’m sure you will love it to bits. Beyond The Human Mind is an album so rich in influences and creativity that their music shines per se without a need to explain why. Highly recommended for fans of progressive metal, power metal (Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, Helloween); or metal overall, especially bands such as Symphony X, DGM and Dark Moor. The band has blended metal’s best subgenres in a smart and creative way and the final result is an album with the right amount of complexity to make prog fans drool over it, plagued by hide and seek guitar-keyboard interactions, yet still accessible enough for non-trained ears thanks to its catchy melodies and a voice that in my humble opinion is right at the top, among the best females voices in metal scene nowadays. In short, Beyond the Human Mind is a fascinating work by a solid band, delivering a professional top notch interpretation and solid technique. Definitely in my top 5 best releases this year so far.