Almah – The Commanding VoiceFriday, 20th December 2013
One of the few singers able to step into a successful band and not incur a pile-on of “The old guy was better” backlash, Edu Falaschi’s joining of Angra in 2001 achieved its intended purpose: It successfully moved the band into the post-Andre Matos years. But even as Angra continued their reign as Brazil’s top power metal band throughout the 00’s (2004’s Temple of Shadows is pick of that bunch), Falaschi was starting to feel the effects of being miscast in a gig that many would hack off their right arm to get. Eventually, the singer left Angra in early 2012 to focus on the band in question, Almah.
“It wasn’t that easy since I was in the band since 2001 and Angra is an important band,” Falaschi begins from his home in Brazil. “But in certain moments, I started thinking: What is more important: Status or my own health and happiness? So I decided to quit. That was scaring in the very beginning, but after some time I realized it was the best thing I did professionally and personally in that moment.”
A primary takeaway from Falaschi’s departure from Angra was that he admitted to constantly singing out of his range during his run with the band. Even though there were no obvious signs of wear and tear on Falaschi’s voice via his last album with Angra, 2010’s Aqua, the singer very open to the fact that his voice wasn’t able to hit the highs they were ten years prior, and that it was wearing him down.
“I was singing super-high notes during 10 years, and this was quite bad for me,” he relays. “Cause I’m a Baritone singer and the songs weren’t fitting to my voice anymore, and when I joined the band, I was younger. It was quite easy [at first], after several years that became a pain in the ass, I started feeling like I was singing like Mickey Mouse.” [laughs]
Of course, Almah doesn’t require Mickey Mouse vocals of any kind. The band’s new Unfold album (their fourth overall) packs a modern, but melodic punch, perhaps an end-around from straightforward power metal, just without some of those overdone core elements. According to Falaschi, avoiding the predictable was one of the key ingredients when composing songs for the new platter.
“For me, it’s unacceptable to compose a 100% power metal song nowadays. It’s too old fashioned, no way, especially about high vocal notes, fast double kicks, etc. Sometimes it’s okay, but always…no, I won’t do it anymore. I just let the ideas [keep] pumping in. Sometimes on the piano, or acoustic guitars, or anyway…then I just took the ideas and formatted it to the Almah’s style, which is groovy, heavy, aggressive, but modern, melodic and catchy.”
Falaschi admits to Unfold’s title as being in semi-reference to his departure from Angra (“It’s a very positive album”). Additionally, the singer found lyrical inspiration from the Lotus Flower Story from Japanese philosophy for the song “Cannibals in Suits,” which opened a new thread, one that carried across the album.
“All is very positive, even this song [“Cannibals in Suits”] notes Falaschi. “It’s like, ‘Hey, open your eyes and take you life control back! It’s yours! Be positive and believe in yourself, don’t be controlled by the commercial cannibalism that domain the capitalist world.’
“The start of this flowers life is not as beautiful as one might imagine,” he continues. “It’s unlike many other flowers. When the lotus first begins to sprout, it is under water surrounded by mud and muck and insects. Despite these conditions, the lotus flower remains strong and pushes aside each of these dirty obstacles as it makes its way to clearer surfaces. So I decided to use this story as a metaphor for my new life! As a new beginning! The blood in the flower represents the scars and wisdom from an entire life full of difficulties, battles loss and victories!”
The band recently wrapped a run of dates with Italian prog/power metallers Secret Sphere, in addition to playing the prestigious Rock in Rio Festival, a happening bestowed upon a select few bands. While this wasn’t Falaschi’s first Rock in Rio (he performed the festival with Angra), it was a prime opportunity to show their wares. “That was crazy!” exclaims the singer. “Seventy-thousand people screaming and jumping during the whole concert! I will never forget it!”
On an even more grand stage, the 2014 World Cup is slated to take place in Falaschi’s Brazilian homeland. Thus far, the tournament has embroiled in scandal over workers’ wages, potential security issues, and the economic imbalance that has seen the country seemingly devote more of its energy to soccer (er, “football”) than the problems of its people. Falaschi sounds concerned as to how it will unfold. (Pun intended!)
“I love soccer, so it will be nice for me and the soccer lovers, but I’m sure for the country economy it will be a chaos!” he finishes. “The politicians will make more money with it and the cities will have lots of problems after the World Cup, like less money for culture, schools, hospitals, public transports, etc.”