It is probably fair to say that the plight and destruction of the Amazon rain forests and those it is life for is not high on the daily agendas of thought and action among much of the opposite side of the world especially in these pandemic gripped time. Brazilian progressive metallers Pentral though are here to shake up that apathy or lack of concern through their new album, What Lies Ahead of Us. It is a concept incitement which drives straight at thought and imagination whilst providing ears with a compelling slab of sound.
Hailing from Belém in northern Brazil, Pentral consists of Victor Lima (vocals, guitars, songwriter, lyrics), Vagner Lima (drums) and Joe Ferri (bass). It appears to be a band fresh in foundation but definitely rich in craft and experience as revealed by their debut album. The trio’s open passion, frustration and ire for the on-going ruin of the Amazon and its occupants fuels the creative fire within What Lies Ahead of Us, a release which inescapably stirs thought. Pentral’s sound is a fusion of progressive, heavy, and melodic metal with a just as potent depth of progressive and alternative rock to it and it made for a growing captivation across, and with continued inspiring unions with, What Lies Ahead of Us.
For the album Pentral, which stands for ‘spirit’ in Latin, linked up with Tim Palmer (Robert Plant, Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie’s Tin Machine, The Mission, HIM, U2, Pearl Jam), who co-produced the release with the threesome, Sergio Fouad and Cesar Bottinha as well as adding additional guitars, percussion and keyboards. With Justin Shturtz (HIM, The Psychedelic Furs, Nancy Wilson, Slipknot, Tin Machine) mastering the release, What Lies Ahead of Us wraps around the central story of a man and a woman who live in one of the Amazon’s forests. Subsequent invasion by mercenaries, death and loss, birth, overwhelming struggle, discrimination and love shape its ten chapters.
The alluring voices of Isabella Trindade and Ivan Teixeira, who provides keys to the album too, set the captivating scene for opener Silent Trees, though soon invasion and destruction is in its midst. Shadows and trespass soon collude in the song’s prowling stance, the vocals of Victor providing provocative power to his lyrical description and suggestion within. Every twist though brings new colour and drama to the encounter as that mix of styles are infectiously woven together; the track a potent and imaginative start to the release.
The following All My Wounds has a far more aggressive edge to its presence and breath, riffs a snarling proposal driven by voraciously swung rhythms. Even so, sonic and melodic enterprise bring greater theatre and adventure to the trespass, Vagner’s rhythms a constant manipulation alongside the equally fertile lines of Joe’s bass. Once more unpredictable twists and imagination stoke its fires, the almost feral infectiousness of its chorus delicious as the song takes things to another level before Disconnected uncages its own striking prowess. It too is a voracious protagonist on ears and thought, stalking and harrying the senses with hungry grooves before flaring up with progressive flair. It is like a trap for ears and the lyrical victims within, a riveting proposal which never leaves a second devoid of fresh incitement and united flavours.
Letters From Nowhere gently strokes ears next, the melodic calm of guitar and throat siren like leading the listener into the song’s emotive contemplation. Melancholy and darkness wrap its heart before thicker and fiercer outpourings give voice to its sonic pyre, one flaring up with greater tempestuousness across the magnetic encounter while the excellent Aiming For The Sun reveals itself a snarling and increasingly esurient beast from its first breath. Again the band’s fusion of varied metal and heavy rock makes for a fascinating tapestry of sound and invention, each moment a powerful incitement and persuasion never allowing a moment to release expectation.
Through the tranquil yet shadowed haunting beauty of A Gift From God and No Real Colour In Souls with its invigorating tribal rhythms and appetite inciting grooves, band and release just tightened its grip on our attention and pleasure, the latter a lively cauldron of textures and flavours, while The Shell I’m Living In stood as tall in enjoyment as its tempest consumed the imagination and ears. Its ever evolving metal bred body and matching kaleidoscope of emotive intensity simply delivered enthralling and gripping drama amidst forceful confrontation.
The final pair of Are You Satisfied? and The Law brings the album to an equally fine close, the first another track which prowls the listener as it invades and incites, once inside casting melodic enticement impossible not to have a sense of greed for. Its successor rises up on a melodic rapture before its more primal and agitated adventure bursts free resulting in a track which with a sense of forcefulness is animated and galvanic manipulation and soon under the skin. As with those before, its landscape is mercurial in adventure and craft, every moment a jungle of imagination and energy keeping us guessing and feasting.
With every listen, What Lies Ahead of Us has drawn us in; into its impressive body and rousing sounds as well as the story and message which equally provokes in potent style. If we have yet to awaken to the tragic reality of many Amazon dwellers and the destruction of the forest itself, Pentral create potent exposure.
What Lies Ahead of Us is out now everywhere digitally, including Apple Music and Spotify, and @ https://pentral.bandcamp.com/album/what-lies-ahead-of-us
Pete RingMaster 25/06/2021
Copyright RingMaster Review