The long awaited sophomore release from this Floridian tech metal band (Featuring Santiago Dobles, Sean Reinert of Cynic/Death, Alan Goldstein, Diana Serra, Giann Rubio). Produced by Santiago Dobles and Neil Kernon. Also mixed by Neil Kernon (Queensyche, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Judas Priest , Nevermore). This release sets the standard for female fronted metal & Progressive Music.
Aghora is UNBELIEVABLE!!! Come into the light!, December 30, 2006
Reviewer: tacomaboy (tacoma, WA) - See all my reviews
If this music does not set you ablaze with excitement and simultaneously leave you paralyzed; in awe of its majesty - then you have quite possibly been numbed by the mainstream music industry. Open your eyes and ears - behold this work of art because 'Formless' is a masterpiece!
First of all, Santiago Dobles is a legend on the guitar and is also the musical genius/songwriter of Aghora. The style is very technical and atmospheric, yet quite varied in sound and technique. The album contains middle-eastern strings, jazz influence, spanish flamenco (courtesy of Rolando Grooscors), and a plethora of progressive metal riffs. In fact, minus the guest flamenco strings, all the guitar work on this album was performed by Dobles himself! While extremely progressive and innovative, the early thrash influence is evident and composed perfectly. The tone of the rhythm guitar is excellent, the solos are sweeping and melodic - sometimes almost euphoric, and the drumming is superb! The songs are beautifully unpredictable, blending different styles together in the same song, changing from mellow to heavy within the same breath, and full of rad time-signature changes.
Although the vocalist was trained in opera, the vocals on this album do not have a overpowering operatic feel at all - in fact, Dianna's voice blends perfectly into the mood and flow of each song. Much of her singing is done on a lower scale than the vocalist who sang on Aghora's self-titled album, yet she fluctuates her voice quite frequently to accomodate the complexity of the instruments. On songs like 'Moksha' and 'Mahayana' she delivers a powerful middle-eastern vocal arrangement.
Despite a compelling vocal perfomance by Dianna, the majority of the album is done without her singing at all due to the long epic guitar solos and the brilliant instrumental composition entitled 'Dime' - 7 minutes of musical bliss! The production on this album is obviously better than its predecessor, thus creating a clean and balanced sound.
The name Aghora is supposedly a word from ancient Hindu beliefs that referred to fire or light - the band Aghora is like a bright light shining on the sometimes dim and boring music scene, illuminating those who will come out of darkness and into the brilliant light of Aghora.
RECOMMENDATION: Support the band and buy this album
DIFFERENT. BRILLIANT. BETTER., January 5, 2007
Reviewer: Eric J. Lynch "rakeman" (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
For those who loved Aghora's self title, this disc is enough in the same vein of progressive, highly technical, jazz influenced, beautiful, progressive metal to demand your immediate purchase. If, however, you did NOT enjoy the first Aghora, or have not heard it, you must still give this a chance! Read on:
'Formless' has more appeal than the first disc to your average metal fan. The guitars are more in the forefront of the music; it is metal first and jazz etc. second. The riffs have plenty of crunch, the attack of the strings is satisfyingly heavy. The solos are gorgeous and ridiculously impressive - I'm pretty sure Dobles uses sweep-picking.
The rhythm guitar has enough time changes and complexity to interest Meshuggah fans, enough classic/thrash metal riffs and triplets to attract Iced Earth fans, enough progressive speed-metal influence to raise an eyebrow of a Symphony X fan, and enough melody and variation to catch the ear of an Opeth fan (but I'm not saying Aghora sound anything like these bands - there are only elements of similarity. So don't buy this expecting the sound one of your favorite bands - Aghora are unique).
Drums duties on this album are split between Giann Rubio and former drummer Sean Reinert. There is plenty of double bass, cymbal work, jazz-like snare work, and a healthy dose of nicely executed tom fills, with appropriate speed and precision. A very tight rythym section. Don't skip this album just because Sean Malone is not on it!
The vocals are stunning. I don't usually care for female vocals in my metal, but this vocalist is perfect for the job. Much less operatic than the former singer, Diana Serra adds to the music in subtly appropriate ways. She has a very full sound and makes great use of her vocal range. I don't find myself preferring instrumental sections the way I do in some other music with female vox.
In short, the songs are superbly crafted and stunningly cohesive. This album is genius - don't miss out!