Style: Symphonic Metal
Release Date: 15 Jun 2019
When you name your band from a song on Angra's Holy Land album, it ought to be pretty clear what you're going to sound like. I'm not seeing any line-up connection to Angra but Carolina IV hail from the nearby city of Jaú, three and a half hours northwest of Angra's home in São Paulo.
I'm not finding much other information on the band, even on their Facebook page, not when they were founded or why they have a compass built into their logo, just a line-up and a list of influences that includes Angra (shock horror), Dream Theater, Nightwish and Epica. None of these are surprising.
The first track proper, The Great Ones are All Dead, hints at something not entirely traditional, which is odd, because this is a traditional symphonic metal album for the most part. It's just that this track, sedate in nature, alternates between a harsh male voice I can't identify and the lead singer, Vivian Capobianco, who hits a high note five minutes in that underlines why she's the focal point here.
She's really good, but this track doesn't give her much opportunity to prove that. That's Something, a couple of songs later, which is a real showcase for her operatic talents. What stood out to me most with the opener was the care by which it was constructed and a strange instrumental section four minutes in that sounds like vibrato for keyboards. I have no idea what they were doing but I liked it.
The Forge feels like the defining song on this album for Carolina IV. It has a similar tone to its predecessor but gives Capobianco more opportunity and adds some heavier riffs to keeps things interesting. This band can get heavy and they do precisely that with Get Out of the Abyss, which is welcome after the softer Something and before the piano intro to Inside Your Soul.
This track sits in between the others but it has real character in how those operatic vocals are put to use and how the band transition away from them to an irresistable headbanging riff and some more harsh vocals. Everyone seems to get their moment on this song, including swirling keyboards from Diego de Fábio and a nice guitar solo from Vinni Azevedo.
The Great Feeling kind of sums up everything that's gone before, in an epic framework of nine minutes. All the components I've mentioned thus far from earlier tracks show up here too, plus others I haven't like the whispering intro from The Forge. Unfortunately, while it's performed impeccably, it's also overlong and overdone. Fortunately the album as a whole isn't, serving instead as a decent introduction to what this band is about. In the absense of evidence to the contrary, I'm assuming that this is their debut.
Every member of this band is clearly very good at what they do, but I'm not sure that the songs here serve them best. What's needed is a follow up with catchier tracks that add up to a more coherent and consistent release. It's not that the songs are bad and I did enjoyed this album but I think I'd be hard pressed to identify a standout track or define the band on terms other than through comparisons.