AGHORA

Progressive Metal • United States
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Floridian progressive/jazz metal band (Featuring Santiago Dobles, Sean Reinert of Cynic/Death, Alan Goldstein, Diana Serra, Giann Rubio). The band also featured Sean Malone of Cynic/Gordian Knot/OSI on their debut album. Their latest release was Produced by Santiago Dobles and Neil Kernon. Also mixed by Neil Kernon (Queensyche, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Judas Priest , Nevermore). Formless and Aghora set the standard for female fronted Metal Progressive Music.
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AGHORA Discography

AGHORA albums / top albums

AGHORA Aghora album cover 3.70 | 13 ratings
Aghora
Progressive Metal 2000
AGHORA Formless album cover 3.80 | 11 ratings
Formless
Progressive Metal 2006

AGHORA EPs & splits

AGHORA live albums

AGHORA demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

AGHORA Demo 1998 album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Demo 1998
Progressive Metal 1998
AGHORA Demo 1999 album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Demo 1999
Progressive Metal 1999

AGHORA re-issues & compilations

AGHORA Transitions album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Transitions
Progressive Metal 2006

AGHORA singles (0)

AGHORA movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

AGHORA Reviews

AGHORA Aghora

Album · 2000 · Progressive Metal
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UMUR
"Aghora" is the self-titled debut full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Aghora. The album was released Dobles Productions Inc. in october 2000. The label is owned by band founder, main composer and guitarist Santiago Dobles. In addition to Santiago Dobles on lead guitars, Aghora also feature female vocalist Danishta Rivero, rythm guitarist Charlie Ekendahl, Sean Malone on bass and Sean Reinert on drums. The latter two are known for being the rythm section on "Focus (1993)" by Cynic but also for their involvement in other high profile acts like Gordian Knot and Death.

The music style is somewhat in the vein of Cynic but with a latin music touch. That means progressive/technical metal with a strong fusion rythm section. What stands out the most though is lead vocalist Danishta Rivero. It was quite unusual to have a female singer in a technical/progressive metal band in 2000 (and probably still is today) and she really adds a unique element to the band´s sound. Unfortunately her singing style is rather monotone and the melody lines are not very strong or memorable either. It´s quite a shame because she has a beautiful voice. I´ll be honest and say that I would have preferred some Chuck Shuldiner type raw vocals instead or preferably some more memorable melody lines. When that is said the instrumental part of the album is excellent. We are talking high quality technical/fusion metal with progressive twists and turns played by very skilled musicians.

...I´m kinda biased towards this album, as I find the instrumental part of the album irresistably charming while the melody lines and the monotone female vocals leave me cold. I´ll try not to let the latter issue affect my rating too much. I´ve read other reviews that praises the vocals, so I guess it´s an aquired taste. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.

AGHORA Aghora

Album · 2000 · Progressive Metal
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The Angry Scotsman
The Florida death metal scene. It had spawned such great bands as Death, Cynic, Atheist which I note since they also pushed death metal in a technical/progressive direction. Well, one very unknown Florida metal band is Aghora. This is their debut album, and it is a great one! It is a nice merger of metal and jazz. However, unlike Atheist and Cynic before them, this is NOT death metal. While they may have heavy riffs, (and do they!) the music is far from death metal.

Even farther are the vocals. In fact Aghora uses a female vocalist. This adds obvious melodicism but also beauty. Atheist was jazzy metal, but pretty rough on most average people I'd imagine. Perhaps Cynic is better, bet still rooted in death metal somewhat. "Aghora" has some heaviness but that is about it. The vocals really add icing to the cake. The music is brilliant! However, the beautiful, sometimes chilling, vocals just really pull it together.

In terms of music, this debut album album is actually MORE progressive then "Formless" in my opinion. Formless is a lot heavier, with a lot more use of Santiago's crushing riffs. "Aghora" however, is almost more jazzy then metal! Almost, maybe it's about 50/50. Anyway, its a nice blend of jazz and metal. Lot's of melodicism.

Santiago's guitar work is amazing. He can play heavy riffs, jazzy licks, beautiful minimalist pieces, and lots of trippy, (almost eastern sounding) noises, (thanks to Sitar!). He is a wonderful soloist as well. His solo's range from shred metal, to flamenco, as well as melodic.

Sean Malone, of Cynic fame, plays bass on this album and it is glorious! You can hear it much more than there second release, (which is a shame because Alan Goldstein is amazing! I recommend you check out his youtube page!). Anyway, Malone lays down some truly amazing bass. He also plays the piano, which does have some use on the album.

On drums we have Sean Reinert, from Death and Cynic, (crazy, two big names in the Florida metal scene appear on this album yet it is still so obscure). Anyway, Sean's drumming is amazing. It is jazzy, tasteful, technical and complex and he can lay down some nice double bass! His drumming on this album, (as well as Formless) is almost never thrashy, (at least not too thrashy) which again separates Aghora from it's tech/jazzy death metal counterparts.

Every song on this album is great, and there are never slow/boring parts. I am captivated from beginning to end. This is one of those rare jewels. A real musical journey, maybe it's not experimental enough for some proggers, but I never got that. I mean how much music is different EVERY song, and personally this album is quite varied. Each song takes you through different pieces and frankly, the music ranges from cool to melodic, from nice to downright beautiful.

While you can't go wrong with any song, I will say the second half of "Frames" is truly beautiful. The type where if I was lying down, with music quiet, totally dark I could almost go to a different place in my mind. Any fan of prog-metal, metal, jazz fusion, harder prog MUST check out this album. I guess if you have no tolerance for heavy guitar then this may not be right for you, but please give it a listen. Superb progressive metal work.

Five Stars

AGHORA Formless

Album · 2006 · Progressive Metal
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The Angry Scotsman
My younger brother introduced me to Aghora. I remember a time when it used to be the other way around... Regardless, I am glad he did! Aghora, and their album Formless, are truly wonderful! Formless is one of my favorite Prog-Metal albums. It has heavy, crushing riffs, blistering double bass, and wonderful guitar solos. However, this is no standard metal album. Virtually every song has several musical interludes featuring clean, jazzy guitar, melodic solos, and very jazz inspired drumming. Then it shifts back to it's crushing riffs, double bass drumming, and metal solo's.

Santiago Dobles lays down some amazing riffs, some of my favorite ones of ANY metal band. However, he shows his ability for melody and technicality, and it often sounds beautiful. Diana Serra on vocals is just amazing. Her voice is simply beautiful, and very soothing. While it fits perfectly for the slower, melodic sections it sounds just as good over the metal riffs as well. As a drummer, I always appreciate an album with great drumming, and this one sure has it! Sean Reinert, (formerly from Death, and Cynic) is brilliant. While he can lay down some good double bass, he has some superb jazz beats, solos, and overall...he just lays down some great sounding beats. My favorite aspect of the album for sure!

The first and last tracks, (Lotus and Purification) are very Eastern/Tribal sounding. Perhaps the way to describe it is "World Music". My personal favorite songs are Atmas Heave and Dime, (an instrumental). 1316 has an especially heavy beginning, while Moksha has a wonderful heavy, yet groovy, riff through most of the song. Open Close the Book has a great phaser/trippy intro before it plunges into the riff.

However, few albums are perfect. While every songs sounds good, none really standout. That is this album's only flaw in my opinion. All the songs do sound a bit the same, and can be predictable. While they all do sound nice, and of course each song is different, they all have a pattern.

Amazing album. Highly recommended, though a bit samey. A bit more variation would have made this five stars.

Four and a Half Stars

AGHORA Formless

Album · 2006 · Progressive Metal
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Negoba
Good, but could have been so much more.

I got this group on various internet radio Prog Metal mixes and became addicted to the song "Fade." This track included some jazzy clean guitar along with a nice tech-metal crunch. With Sean Reinert on drums, I was hoping for a great jazz / tech metal feast. But the album doesn't live up to what it could have been. Clearly this album is the child of the guitarist Santiago Dobles, and for the most part everyone else is challenged to hop aboard the train if they can. Reinert succeeds but everyone else seems to either be simply in lock step or holding on for dear life.

Certainly, the jazz chording puts this album into a pretty narrow group of bands. Middle Eastern influences are also found here and there on the album, most prominently on the sadly brief intro and outro tracks. I was hoping for more of that ethnic feel incorporated into the music, but for the most part this is pretty straight female-fronted technical metal. In that sense it suffers from what many of these acts do, which is lack of melodic sense. Which is not to say the singer doesn't have a good voice, but the vocals seemed tacked on the top of songs that were already composed.

The technical chops of the Dobles are quite impressive. The jazziness of the leads add a very good flavor, and I like the leads here as much as Symphony X. The riffs are fine, though nothing outstanding, and the guitar tone is typical for genre but not my favorite. The rhythm section is solid.

Overall there are some good songs, but a sameness to the album that I've only listened all the way through once. I do have "Fade" on several playlists and enjoy the more exotic tracks. Also, as a guitar player, it's always cool to find a new shredder who's actually got something interesting to say.

Good, but non-essential describes it well.

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