The Brazilian band Stormental consist of vocalist Alexei Lećo, his brother Andrei Lećo on bass, guitarist Hique d'Avilla and drummer Marcos Feminella. Their album Perception Of The Other is a real surprise to me! The luxury digipack with a nice cover holds a CD and a DVD, so the first impression is a good one; now let's find out if the music is worthwhile writing about.
After listening once, I realized that this album is one of great interest. The band members combine virtuoso musicality with power metal, alternative rock and heavy metal, but their music also contains a touch of progressive rock. Especially for this album the band cooperated with modern dancer Elke Siedler; together with her the band developed a concept of contemporary dance and metal. This can be seen in full glory on the accompanying DVD, which contains all the recorded songs for the CD played live, together with the modern dancing of Siedler's group. The band's musical performance has been brilliantly filmed. I already had a positive impression of the CD, but after watching the DVD my admiration for this band only grew, and I also positively changed my mind about modern dancing.
But let's return to the CD that starts with an instrumental part called Introspection. This piece immediately grabbed me by the throat: a powerful section segues into a part with a cello followed by a clear guitar solo on top of double base drums. With Infernal I had a rare experience. I just got mad of a few repeating guitar chords! The beauty and the sound of these chords really moved me, because this is what I've missed for a long time: guitars that sound perfectly, a bass played by a real virtuoso musician and a drummer on acid! On top of all this I was really delighted by Alexei Lećo's voice. Double Edged Blade is the next piece in line which again is very powerful; it's another double bass drum monster containing plenty of mood changes. All the individual band members get the opportunity to show their virtuosity in a short solo spot. The singer's vocals slightly tend toward the vocals of Angra, another Brazilian band. By the way, I'm aware of the fact that this album doesn't contain the regular stuff to review for a prog rock website, but hey, this music is really perfect!
In Front Of You starts acoustically but then evolves to a mid-tempo rock song; the vocals tend to be a bit more bombastic which makes this piece rather accessible. It contains a fine and emotional guitar solo as well as impressive, steady sounds in the background. A stunning combination of guitar and bass leads to the song A Miserable Life, which has again that brilliant guitar sound. Nice double bass passages go hand in hand with the amazing bass playing of Andrei Lećo. In the middle-section some Iron Maiden influences with a more alternative feel crossed my mind; again a stunning highlight on an album that seems to consist of sheer highlights! Listen to the instrumental part and you'll find out how great these musicians are. Almost Over enhances the musical mixture of Iron Maiden and Angra. This well-balanced piece has been perfectly produced. All the instruments sound clear and transparent.
Next is Just Breathe a well-chosen title, since breathing through an oxygen mask is not the easiest way to fill your lungs! This interlude brings back the classical feel that I had when the cello was involved. It's a moment of tranquillity between all the powerful pieces. Live! is again powerful containing up-tempo parts showing the skills of the instrumentalists. Concerning the vocals Stormental is magnificent: always melodic and heavy at the same time, but without shouting or screaming. The title track is a long power metal epic, wherein all the pieces fit together. Strong and emotional vocal parts go together with the mighty instrumentalists; unfortunately the last three minutes only contain the sound of the wind and some other noises.
Perception Of The Other belongs to the strongest albums I've heard this year; the DVD adds something special to the music. I realize that the CD doesn't contain what we call progressive rock, but people who are fond of heavy and powerful rock must at least give this album a try. Listen to samples on YouTube and you'll agree that this is a brilliant and virtuoso band! Only the DVD is already good enough for the maximum rating of five stars.
***** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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