União - Scream on the Cross (Megahard) 2003
A surprise CD that came as a gift from a friend. This Brazilin band label's themselves "Catholic Metal". In reality, their music is power metal with progressive metal tendencies. I am not sure why the band feels it is neccessary to classify themselves in such a way. For the most part, their lyrics are straight from the Bible, and as I understand it, the member of União are from a movement of the Catholic church called the Charismatic Catholic movement. Unless I am incorrect, I think that this movement of the church steers away from traditions and adheres more closely to the Bible, which certainly is the case with the lyrics on this CD. What we have here is the story of the Lord Jesus Christ set to music. Musically, the band is hard to define. While they play a form most often described as power metal, they also have plenty of tempo and time changes within one song. Just in the first full song, for example, the band starts off in a fairly straight forward, heavy power metal mode, but about halfway through the song a beautiful piano passage breaks way into a melodic, emotional ballad before returning to a heavier, power metal riff. Even this is mixed with some neo-classical keyboards. The presence of keyboards throughout this CD keeps this band from being straight forward power metal. The songwriting is all pretty much like this; epic length songs, complex song structures and plenty of variation within each song. The vocals on this band are clean, but fairly mid-range and have a thick Brazilian accent. While the vocals are not bad, I have a feeling he will get even better on future releases. What I find most compelling about this CD, however, is the emotion that obviously went into these lyrics. There is such a sense that this band really believes what they sing about. Perhaps it is my own Christian faith that gives me such a connection to the lyrics here. Regardless, the emotion is very present. When the band sings of Christ's death in the title track, you really feel the pain and emotion withing the song. That is impressive to me.