Though widely regarded as some of the most pretentious and elitist assholes in the metal blogosphere, AMG contributors are, behind the scenes, a bunch of goddamn nerds who got lucky enough to find an audience by piggybacking off our founder’s hard work. As such, each of us has a musical vice that threatens to smudge our goggles of objectivity; Steel Druhm idolizes Jørn, Diabolus In Muzaka grows a third (peg) leg for Alestorm, and so on. As for myself, I’m drawn to power metal from specific regions, chiefly Brazil. My beloved Angra has influenced a seemingly endless amount of satisfying tribute acts, and three years ago, Vandroya was the new kid on the block. Representing Angra at their speediest and proggiest, Vandroya also heaped on the Euro-power influence in crafting their impressive (though derivative) debut, One. Four years down the line, their sophomore effort Beyond the Human Mind falls into my lap. Will it pull down my objectivity goggles, exposing the bias shimmering in my eyes?

As anyone who’s already sneaked a peek at the review score (i.e. probably every one of you) could tell you: no, not quite. But make no mistake; I’m quite taken with most of Beyond the Human Mind. Setting an early precedent with the Galneryus-esque melodies (and song title) of opener “The Path to the Endless Fall,” Vandroya ensures that their speediest material is always at the top of its game. The faster tracks are where the band truly plays to their strengths, pairing their excellent rhythm and lead guitar work with Daísa Munhoz’s powerful vocal work to create hooks that are more memorably than those from One. The trade-off is the de-emphasis of Vandroya’s proggier traits, which here take more of a backseat as window dressing for more traditional songwriting, but the new songs are so fun and catchy that I consider it a worthwhile exchange.

It’s a good thing that the majority of BtHM is comprised of Vandroya‘s fastest work, because the remainder is flawed to varying degrees. There are two ballads here out of nine total tracks (including the surprisingly good instrumental intro), and neither of them are a patch on One’s sole ballad, “Why Should We Say Goodbye?” “If I Forgive Myself” is at least passable, a decently catchy if overly long Journey, but “Last Breath” is borderline unbearable. Take it from a guy who’s lived his entire life in the heart of America’s Bible Belt: this thing is one Chevrolet-focused lyric short of being a fucking country song, and it’s a bad one at that. I have no idea what possessed the band to stop their high-energy power metal album dead in its tracks in favor of some Rascal Flatts worship, but it would’ve utterly killed my rating of this record if the bulk of it wasn’t so far up my alley.

The eleven-minute title track isn’t much to write home about, either. It’s one of the more prog influenced tracks of the album and its melodies flow pleasantly, but aside from one lukewarm tempo increase in its latter half, it feels directionless and strangely low-energy. This dispassionate vibe stands in stark contrast against most of the rest of BtHM. “Time after Time” carries an infectious, hard rock groove reminiscent of the best of latter-day Edguy, “Maya” features a breathtaking piano break before its chorus that wonderfully showcases Munhoz’s improved, nuanced vocals, and “You’ll Remember My Name” showcases a unique verse that’s at once playfully bouncy and unexpectedly dark. These songs certainly benefit from the fuller and more “metal” sounding tone than on Vandroya’s debut, although dynamically speaking it’s rather flat and the bass is hardly audible.

While no sophomore slump, Beyond the Human Mind isn’t quite as recommendable as the much more consistent One; BtHM’s peaks in quality are higher, but the valleys are much lower, too. Still, there’s over half an hour of laser-precise riffing and infectious vocal work to dig into, and most of the lesser material isn’t so much bad as merely bland. On the whole, Vandroya has proven once again that they excel at combining the warmth of the Brazilian power metal scene with the cheese and speed of Euro-power, and if they focus on their strengths on every track for round three, they have the potential to produce Brazil’s best album in the genre in years.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6| Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Inner Wound Recordings
Websites: vandroya.com | facebook.com/vandroya
Releases Worldwide: April 28th, 2017

Share →
  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    I can swear on my mum I didn’t look at the score of the review today for reasons that honestly escape me.

    That is, until you said “probably every one of you”. I’m gonna go finish the review now. Been pretty good so far; hard to mess up a review that starts with Jorn and boners.

    • Oddly enough, Jorn and Boners is the name of my new cover band.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Long may you run.

        • AlphaBetaFoxface

          May you plough on, even through hard-ships.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Aiyee.

      • Eldritch Elitist

        Covering my favorite hits from Masterplan and Steel Panther!

      • I love coming up with stupid band name ideas. For a long time, I thought that ‘Keanu and the Reeeve’s’ was a great band name idea. Anything that sounds mildly funny and inventive is a good bandname. I mean we’ve got indie hipster bands calling themsleves ‘Neutral Milk Hotel’ now. It’s like all the obvious and good band names are long since taken, so we’re left with memes and random combinations of words. Anything with any flavor to it at all seems like a good band name now.

        Random band name idea: Cynic Ocean. Sounds like a real band, doesn’t it? It’s 2017 – anything goes, baby!

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Not sure about this, but I do love Angra. I still give Secret Garden regular spins.

    • Eldritch Elitist

      Never got into Secret Garden, but I love pretty much everything else they’ve ever done.

      • I couldn’t get into Secret Garden. I thought it was rather bland compared to some of their previous efforts.

  • Iain Gleasure

    Why is Alestorm always the bridge to far for people here? They’re fun and brilliant live.

    • Could not agree more, Alestorm is a blast and puts on a damn good show. Some people just can’t tolerate their fuckery, which I understand.

    • I think they’re dumb. Sort of fun for a moment, but there’s music out there that plays around in similar musical ballparks without sounding like a meme (Arkona is a good example, and I mean the Russioan Arkona, not that Polish extreme metal band). The vocalist in Alestorm is terrible. Full disclosure: Put on Alestorm or Korpiklaani at a party, and I’m probably going to go along with it, but I’m not fucking going to listen to something that dumb while sober.

  • Kurt Kapferer

    I try not to look at the scores, but I usually see them because I scroll down to play the embedded track while I read the article. Any chance to swap the tracks with the band photos so this doesn’t happen?

    • Eldritch Elitist

      I will not cater to your lack of self control!

      • Kurt Kapferer

        I humbly submit to my old gods.

    • I prefer listening before I know the score. That way, I can listen without prejudice. Post the track links at the top, not the bottom!

  • Thatguy

    I didn’t sneak a look at the score but did sneak a look at the band photo.

    It told me all I needed to know.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Can we have that opening paragraph added to the “About & Contact” section?

    • I think it paints me in an unkind-hearted light.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Oh, you don’t have to go that far, just cut it after “our founder’s hard work”.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    That song “The Path to the Endless Fall” could surely benefit from a subtitle in parentheses: “The Path to the Endless Fall (Is a Slippery One)”

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Awesome vocals, awesome solo work.

  • R.Daneel Olivaw

    female vocals???thanx but no thanx!!

  • Serjien

    I thought Angra was/is the Brazilian Power metal scene!

    Good effort, but these guys are just meh!

  • Tofu muncher

    That first twang from the bass had me sold.

  • I think I’ve heard that chorus about 50 times before from about 50 different power metal bands. Power metal is practically karaoke at this point. There’s nothing really wrong with the embedded track, but it’s hard to get excited about it.

  • This is the sort of thing where I can’t find a single fault with the material or performance, but somehow I’m not sold either. It’s solid, but lacks that magical spice that will convince me to listen to this over the other 2.000 other worthwhile artists out there.