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Pentral – What Lies Ahead of Us Award winner

What Lies Ahead of Us
by Mark Machlay at 08 June 2021, 6:46 AM

PENTRAL is a new Brazilian band that mixes hard rock and progressive metal music and through the two Lima brothers – Victor on vocals and guitar and Vagner on drums. Along with Joe Ferry on bass, they are now ready to release their debut album “What Lies Ahead of Us”. Hailing from Belem in the north of Brazil, the name PENTRAL means spirit in Latin and suitably fits the ethereal, spiritual nature of the band’s sound. The band formed before the pandemic hit but their work on their debut album would begin in earnest throughout 2020. An odd, and strange time to form and work as a new a band but they persevered nonetheless, first introducing themselves in a series of Youtube videos playing covers of classic rock tracks. These covers featured tracks from monsters of rock from the past such as QUEEN, THE BEATLES, and LED ZEPPELIN that are well worth checking out. They were sending a clear message to the world – pay attention, we are coming.

Well, the time has come with their debut full-length album “What Lies Ahead of Us” releasing this past May as we seem to be coming out of the other side of a year dealing with a global crisis. It’s a concept album that tells a clear, narrative structure throughout. It’s a bit of a warning to Brazil in the micro but applies to the entire world and resonates well with our reliance and reverence of the natural world. It begins in a forest with an indigenous couple who live within the forest. The woman gives birth to a child and the trees “talk” to her, imploring her to escape the forest before their home is destroyed by the beast of greed, an allegory for deforestation. They are featured on the exquisite cover artwork by multi-talented artist Heidi Taillefer who was responsible for the artwork for fellow progressive rock contemporaries COHEED AND CAMBRIA on their complementary double album release “The Afterman: Ascension & Descension”. To help illustrate the albums story, the band are releasing a series of music videos on their Youtube channel periodically.

Concept albums are particularly plentiful among the progressive rock/metal genre and oftentimes, they are more miss than hit. PENTRAL took a risk with their introductory album having a concept, but not only is their music captivating, but the universality of their overall story and concept behind “While Lies Ahead Of Us” has a lot of genre-crossing appeal. Opener and lead single “Silent Trees” begins with a peaceful choral part delivered by guest singer Isabella Trinidade overtop tender keyboard playing supplied by Ivan Teixeira before the chugging band kicks in like a crashing tree. It’s a solid progressive rock tune complete with a perfectly placed acoustic slow section while guitar theatrics are kept at a minimum, in the vein of PAIN OF SALVATION with a voice from Victor Lima to match,. Even the trimmed down radio version, while cutting right to the point, still carries the intensity of the original cut. The concept is driven home further with “All My Wounds” commenting on the destructiveness of pollution and deforestation with a more speed/thrash metal intensity. “Disconnected” builds with a driving, chugging guitar riff, excellently sonically placed bass guitar to carry that chug for a grinding, melodic texture. But the ballads are suitable too, with the thoughtful, introspectively soft “A Gift From God”. PENTRAL have laid a really solid progressive rock/metal foundation for their debut album and I look forward to whatever concept they want to tackle next because they have a great formula.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Silent Trees
2. All My Wounds
3. Disconnected
4. Letters from Nowhere
5. Aiming for the Sun
6. A Gift from God
7. No Real Colour in Souls
8. The Shell I’m Living In
9. Are You Satisfied?
10. The Law
11. Silent Trees – Radio Edit
12. Aiming for the Sun – Radio Edit
Victor Lima – Vocals, Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Vagner Lima – Drums
Joe Ferry – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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