Brazilian Power Metal

Vente Forte Stauros - Vento Forte (independent) 1995

1.   Vento Forte (4:19)
2.   NaS Mãos Da Manha (5:43)
3.   Teorias (4:02)
4.   Sinal Vermelho (4:14)
5.   Canção De Nick (2:59)
6.   O Último Sacrifício [instrumental] (4:36)
7.   To Everyone Who Believes (4:12)
8.   Disfarces (3:32)
9.   Sobre As Nuvens (4:30)
10. Raça Humana (3:50)
11. Kairos (4:27)

Stauros are a Brazilian heavy metal band and "Vento Forte" is their debut full-length album. Though they are generally known as a power metal band, "Vento Forte" is humble beginnings for this band. It is a mostly mellow and melodic affair. The title track offers hope that this album will be a fairly heavy and technically proficient album. However, follow-up tracks are far less on the heavy side and tend towards the mellow and ballad-y terrain. A few songs, such as "Sinal Vermelho" and album closer "Kairos" are straight-forward, mid-paced heavy metal, though neither can be described as power metal.  Other tracks like "Canção De Nick", " NaS Mãos Da Manha", "Teorias" and "Raça Humana" can only be described as ballads led by keyboards and acoustic guitars. For most fans of heavy metal, including myself, there are just far too many ballads on this album. 

As might be expected from an independent band without a producer or budge, the production is raw, but it's certainly not terrible either. I would have liked to have heard a little less keyboards and a little more guitar, but that is a minor complaint. The vocals are mostly clean split between a male and female singer, who often sing together. 

Stauros are a Christian band, but with the lyrics all sung in Portuguese they could be singing about puppy dogs and bull frogs for all I know.  

Stauros - O Sentido da Vida (independent) 1997

  1. "Guerra Final" (4:22)
  2. "Multidão" (5:29)
  3. "Portais Eternos" (4:21)
  4. "Viagem pro Céu" (4:15)
  5. "Novo Dia" (3:09)
  6. "Pacto com Deus" (5:46)
  7. "Toda Dor" (5:32)
  8. "The Moment" (2:07)
  9. "Preço da Liberdade" (5:34)
  10. "Eternal Fountain" (4:45)
  11. "Via Escarlate" (5:43)

Sophomore release from Starous, "O Sentido da Vida" was the first album I had heard from them. Their sound is pure heavy metal bordering on power metal. Crunchy guitars, proficient guitar solos and mostly melodic songwriting, "O Sentido da Vida" is solid on most levels. Where they tend to lose me is in the vocals. Though the vocalist has a good tone and sound, the Portuguese lyrics sound odd and foreign to me. Unfortunately it doesn't quite hold my interest, though I did think the band was good enough to look into future releases, which did have lyrics sung in English.

Stauros - Seaquake (independent) 2000

  1. "Seaquake" (6:42)
  2. "Rusty Machine" (4:17)
  3. "The First Mile" (4:43)
  4. "The Second Mile" (4:15)
  5. "Victory Act" (2:51)
  6. "Without Truces" (5:18)
  7. "Vital Blood" (4:34)
  8. "Love in Vain" (3:04)
  9. "Friendly Hand" (4:38)
  10. "Dance of the Seeds" (4:17)
  11. "Every Pain II" (6:53)
  12. "Inside of the Eyes" (5:50)
  13. "Faith in the Arena" (7:02)
    I. Arena of Lions
    II. Winner Face
    III. Momentary Darkness
    IV. The Great Preaching

Man, Brazil is just exploding with Christian metal bands right now. Stauros apparently is one of the more well known in their homeland. In the U.S. they are relatively unknown, but are slowly getting some exposure through mail order companies like RadRockers. In anycase, Stauros play power metal with some progressive metal influences, sort of like Fates Warning's 'No Exit' although I am not saying they sound alike. The musicianship on this disc is quite good, as are the guitar solos, but for some reason the vocals melodies don't bowl me over. Carlos Cesar Oliveira has a solid voice but the song writing doesn't have a whole lot of hook that would make me want to spin this disc over and over. However, having heard the growth from their last album ('O Sentido da Vida') to this album, I can only imagine that if these guys stick it out they will be a force to be reckoned with. Will have to give this disc a few more spins as it may just be one of those bands that grows on me with each listen.

Stauros - Adrift (independent) 2002

  1. "Adrift" (4:50)
  2. "Sacred Blow" (6:00)
  3. "Our Scream" (4:47)
  4. "Running Again" (3:31)
  5. "Images Away" (3:55)
  6. "Defibulator" (4:47)
  7. "Mercy" [instrumental] (2:02)
  8. "BullFighter" (4:51)
  9. "A New Chance" (4:19)

Stauros return in 2001 with their fourth disc, and as with each past disc, show some growth from the disc before. Musically the band continues in a straight forward power metal mode, only this time adding a bit more groove and even some ocassional thrash riffs (ie. 'Our Scream'). A few songs even remind me of Barren Cross or mid-90's Metal Church. The instrumental "Mercy" is a guitar solo that reminds me of something Rex Carroll may have done on some of the better Whitecross albums. And what would a Christian power metal band be without at least one ballad? Stauros include an acoustic ballad called 'Running Wild' that is actually quite pleasant and a powerful ballad at the conclusion of the disc called "A New Chance." The production is good with the guitars out front and the vocals mixed at the right levels. However, my problem with their past discs still remains on this disc with the vocal melodies and word enunciation sounding a bit odd to me. I suppose this is more a problem of the differences in culture between the U.S. and Brazil. I have this same problem with Loudness, although this has never stopped me from listening to and enjoying their discs.

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