Aghora - Aghora (1999)

Aghora is the self-titled debut album by progressive metal band Aghora, released on March 24, 2000.
Jazz-metal” Is another style commonly associated with this band.

Origin: USA (Florida – Miami)
Aghora was put together by Berklee trained guitar virtuoso Santiago Dobles along with ex-Cynic members Sean Reinert on drums and Sean Malone on bass. They combine the enchanting female vocals of Santiago’s sister, Danishta Rivero, with some very technical progressive metal. The vocal timbre is a bit reminiscent of The Gathering’s Anneke Van Giersbergen arranged very atmospherically and accompanied by music that would be most accurately described as tech-metal in the style of Cynic (no surprise there), Watchtower, or Spiral Architect.

This is not an easy album to get into. It is, by nature very complex and seems a little ‘drawn out’ upon the first few listens. Even at this stage in the digestion of this album, however, the immense talent present on this album is apparent. The guitar work is very ambitious, creative, and inventive. More importantly it’s actually exciting and fun to listen to without being overtly pretentious. The lyrics are rather average, in my opinion, and regarding the singing, though its uniqueness is certainly welcomed, at times I found myself wishing for something a little closer to standard. Nevertheless, after the album begins to sink in, you can add a general enjoyment to the already wonderful experience of listening to this work. To those who are even greater fans of technical metal than myself (I’ve just recently started to get into it),

 I highly recommend this album. The instrumentation on this album is too good to pass up.*************************************************************************************

5.0 out of 5 stars Progmetal for Cynic fans...or progmetal cynics. November 17, 2005
By The Wickerman
If you're like me, and you consider about 99% of progmetal to be way too boring and formulaic, then Aghora is just what you need. With the incredible rhythm section of the immortal Sean Reinert and Sean Malone, and the hauntingly beautiful vocals of Daneishta Rivero, this album is quite a unique and thrilling experience.

Aghora combine many different styles effortlessly, and frequently shift from one to the other in the blink of an eye. From the opening metal assault of "Immortal Bliss", to the funk-flavored "Transfigurations", to the epic, jazzy, "Frames", to the Hindu-inspired "Anugraha", there is a surprise around every corner. "Mind's Reality" moves easily between insane complexity and Daneishta's amazing vocals. "Jivatma" is a huge, atmospheric instrumental, whose 11 minutes go by startlingly fast. The songwriting is incredibly tight, and there is plenty of melody to go along with the wild crazy proggy stuff.

Ok, I must talk up Daneishta a little bit more. When it comes to progmetal vocals, or just any kind of rock vocals in general (but mostly progmetal vocals), this lovely woman is difficult to top. She is a classically trained singer, but unlike other female metal singers with opera training that I could name (like ones in, say, Nightwish), she has a great deal of subtlety and delicate beauty. None of that over-the-top, uber-vibrato stuff, that to me is just tasteless and, well, kinda goofy. But Daneishta is great. Perfect, haunting tone, and sort of exotic. She almost reminds me of a traditional Japanese singer (although she's not Japanese).

Anyway, this is, quite simply, one of the most accomplished progmetal albums you can hope to hear. All those lame Dream Theater wannabe bands could take some serious lessons here. A must-have for all fans of creative, technical music. 

1. “Immortal Bliss” – 4:34
2. “Satya” – 5:55
3. “Transfiguration” – 5:14
4. “Frames” – 7:09
5. “Mind’s Reality” – 4:22
6. “Kali Yuga” – 5:37
7. “Jivatma” – 11:17
8. “Existence” – 6:28
9. “Anugraha” – 4:41


* Danishta Rivero — vocals
* Santiago Dobles — lead guitar, coral sitar, programming
* Charlie Ekendahl — rhythm guitar
* Sean Malone — bass guitar, piano, stick loop
* Sean Reinert — drums, tabla, percussion

No comments: