Uniao - Scream on the Cross


With all the thanks to Mother Mary in the liner notes, I'm assuming this is a Catholic band.  However, when you study the lyrics you'd be hard pressed to find any indication of it.  The band is all about promoting Jesus Christ and salvation through Him alone.  Not to open up a can of worms with a big theological debate, but many Catholics, even some I know, don't believe what this band preaches.


All labels aside, this is a pretty darn good slab of metal.  Uniao plays power metal taking the best of yesteryear with the best of today to create and craft an album that deserves to be heard.  Although the band stays heavy most of the time, they also slow things down very nicely when called for.  For instance, "Travel in Darkness" starts off with a beautiful acoustic intro, which leads into a heavy ballad that comes back to the acoustic occasionally throughout the song.  Then on the song "Stations" it opens with a powerful intro of the sounds of Jesus being crucified.  The pounding of the nails, the screams in pain, the wails of loved ones...very moving.  The opener "Unknown World" is a terrific and passionate song that has plenty of crunch, but also has an emotional piano solo in the middle that fits perfectly.  


Vocally, Irineu Lodi does a very fine job going from pretty, yet powerful, to full on aggression.  He sounds at home doing both, sometimes reminding me of the vocals on the first album by fellow Brazilians, Shining Star.  The band lists their influences as Iced Earth, Blind Guardian, Iron Maiden, and old Metallica.  I can see some slight influences in some of those bands, but this is no clone, so don't expect that at all.


Some metalheads might get bored with the frequent mellow passages on this album, but the talent and emotion should overcome most of the criticism.  Great production and nice artwork round out this quality debut release.  While Uniao will by no means revolutionize the metal scene, they've created a solid base that they can use to reach higher places in the future.  (Review by Matt)