'Best Reached Horizons' - Angra (5/10)
When a band reaches a certain milestone, it’s traditional for something to be released in celebration. Therion, for example, released a collection of French pop covers for their 25th anniversary. In similar fashion, Angra’s “Best Reached Horizons” commemorates the band’s 20th year as a band. Consisting of two discs representing the band’s career up to this point, the compilation is a strong reflection of Angra’s material as a whole. However, with only a single song (a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”) as material exclusive to this release, “Best Reached Horizons” doesn’t offer much to interest the band’s fans.
When reviewing a compilation, I’m left in a tough position; is it better to review the music showcased, or the release in itself? I’ve been a fan of Angra for some time now, and regard them as one of the most technically impressive and accomplished bands in power metal. However, even if the quality of songs here is generally high, there’s little reason to recommend it over one of the original albums. As a two disc, two hour ordeal, it’s not exactly something that welcomes newcomers to the band. While I can appreciate the use of a ‘best-of’ compilation as an effective summary of a band’s career, for the sake of listening itself, there’s far greater satisfaction to be had in one of their full-lengths; might I suggest “Angel Cry” or “Temple of Shadows”?
Onto the music itself, there’s a fine selection of choice cuts throughout the band’s career. The two discs split material from the two vocalists represented (Andre Matos and his replacement, Edu Falaschi), and while the two are fairly similar in style, it was a cool idea to divide the two so that the band’s chronology might be better navigated. “Carry On”, “Angel’s Cry”, “The Course of Nature” and “Arising Thunder” are all highlights for me. On the low end, their cover of Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” seems like a poor choice, largely due to a contrived vocal performance that tries too hard to reflect the original vocalist’s floaty delivery. The only thing here that should spark the interest of existing Angra fans is their cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”. Itself one of my favourite Zep tracks, Angra do a good job of reinvigorating it with their own style.
“Best Reached Horizons” makes for a fine afternoon of high-quality power metal. As a compilation however, the whole thing feels rather unnecessary. I mean, what newcomer is going to go into a band by picking up a two hour compilation, and what fans- sparing the hardcore completionists- are going to buy something consisting almost entirely of music they’ve already heard. It’s possible that I’m missing the point altogether, but as it stands, there are much better places to start with Angra than this.