Shaman is a power metal band from Brazil, originally formed when Andre Matos left Angra and took the rhythm section with him. Today, only Ricardo Confessori remains from that original Angra formula, and he even rejoined Angra on their latest album. Origins is the fourth album, and the second since the departure of Andre Matos and the Mariutti brothers.
All things considered, this starts as a surprisingly good album. It opens with two heart pounding, high energy, fast works of power metal at its best. Lethal Awakening, and the particularly dramatic Inferno Veil. The album then moves into the Ego suite, which given its combined track length of about 7 minutes, feels a bit unnecessary to have split in two. Ego Pt II is a triumphant, anthemi song full of great choral work and soaring vocals. Finally Home wears the Angra influences perhaps a bit too heavily on its sleeves, but is forgivable for having an excellent chorus. I can never fault power metal for being catchy, and Finally Home is one catchy song.
Rising up to Life, while certainly not the most emotive or beautiful ballad in the history of metal, is at least earnest enough to not feel like it was thrown on out of obligation or a misguided idea about how awesome excessive balladry is. Shaman has at least spared us the stripped down acoustic sobfest in favor of something much more full.
Unfortunately, the end of the album does not end on quite as awesome of a note as the beginning. The last three tracks are completely forgettable filler. They don’t really provide the listener with anything to distinguish themselves other than some general dramatic flair that fails to take hold, and some world music influences that we’ve heard hundreds of times before in other south American power metal.
Pulling off a first half with as much excellence as Origins is a praiseworthy feat, and perhaps the biggest mistake Shaman made with this much filler is cramming them all together at the end. There are plenty of albums in my collection, even ones that I really enjoy, that have a few too many boring songs, and Origins joins that list. It’s worth a listen, but maybe not an award.
Dagg’s rating: 3 out of 5