Brazil’s Almah was originally formed in 2006 by Angra vocalist Edu Falaschi as a solo project. In May of 2012, Falaschi announced his departure from Angra to concentrate on Almah full time. According to the press release for the new album (the bands third), Unfold is a concept album dedicated to such actions and qualities as overcoming, firmness, persistence and capability to transform bad things into something good. The idea expressed by such symbol as the Lotus flower refers to Oriental philosophy. It’s usually born in a swampy river but able to break through dark and dirty surface, to grow up beautiful and full of life and get to fresh air and sunlight
The album starts off with In My Sleep, a quick and thrashy power metal featuring some excellent double bass drum patterns courtesy of drummer Marcelo Moreira, killer guitar riff and solo work from the tandem of Marcelo Barbosa and Gustavo Di Padua. The vocals are what you have come to expect from Edu, melodic with some grit. Beware the Stroke begins deceptively slow with a clean guitar and kicks into a heavy groove with some modern metal production elements. There is some fine guitar work throughout this one and some nice harmony vocals during the pre chorus and a catchy chorus. The Hostage is another heavy tune with a heavy groove with a huge Alice in Chains influence but still keeping a metal edge. If Alice on Chains ever tried to write a power metal song it might sound like this. On Warm Wind the band tries their hand at writing a power ballad with mixed results. Unfortunately there is nothing terribly catchy or memorable here. The music on Raise the Sun, with the use of keyboards and the chorus, reminded me of Finnish band HIM. The chorus is quite catchy and melodic. Cannibals in Suits, as you can guess from the song title, is another heavy song with a lot of groove and some thrashy elements during the verses. The chorus adds the melodic sensibilities but is not overly catchy or memorable. Wings of Revolution is a mid tempo piano tinged rocker that isn’t overly impressive however the guitar solo in the middle section is blistering. Believer starts with a power metal fury of thundering double bass drums and smoldering guitar heroics. This one is probably the closest to Edu’s previous work with Angra. The extended guitar solos are frenzied and blindingly fast, just what you want from a great power metal song. I Do is another song with a mid tempo yet heavy groove. Not overly melodic or memorable. The chorus picks up the pace but aside from a cool breakdown mid song, it never really takes off. You Gotta Stand has a funky guitar groove that reminded me a lot of Boston based band Extreme, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Treasure of the Gods is another song that starts off slowly and quickly picks up and evolves into a power metal anthem with elements of symphonic metal and Edu’s vocals on this one are reminiscent of classic Geoff Tate. The albums final moment, Farewell, is a short lush piano ballad featuring Edu’s emotive vocals.
In my final analysis, Unfold is a good, but not great album that suffers from an identity crisis. The songs don’t have a cohesive feel to them, especially when you consider that this is a concept album. The band doesn’t seem to have an identity. There are some very good moments on the album, just not enough to get them a higher score from yours truly. Fans of Almah and Falaschi will most likely enjoy this one.