Power metal vocalist Andre Matos (1971-2019) remembered
Brazilian vocalist, pianist and composer Andre Matos died on June 8th following a heart attack. Having become an international name through his time fronting Angra, Matos was also associated with Viper, Virgo, Shaaman, Symfonia and Avantasia. Since 2006, Matos had been dedicating his time primarily to his solo band. His instruments of choice were always the piano and keyboards but he also turned out to be a great vocalist in addition to his physical resemblence to Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. Matos would later also take part in the contest to replace Dickinson, ending up among the top three but eventually losing out to Blaze Bayley.
André Coelho Matos was born September 14th 1971 in São Paulo, the most populous city in Brazil. Matos began his musical education at the age of ten, receiving a piano from his parents. He soon joined the band Viper, performing his first show with them in 1985 when he was just thirteen years old. Following the demo “The Killera Sword” (1985), two full lenght albums by Viper followed in “Soldiers of Sunrise” (1987) and “Theatre of Fate” (1989). The latter featured “Living for the Night”, granting them fame in Japan where it outsold the likes of Nirvana and Van Halen. Based on Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”, Matos wrote the lyrics for the final track, “Moonlight”. By this point, Matos had become interested in classical music and felt that his musical vision had begun to diverge from the other band members who wanted to focus on heavier music.
Following Matos leaving the band, their main composer Pit Passarel would take over the vocals and lead the band more in the direction of thrash and punk, releasing more albums. After leaving Viper, Andre went back to school and finished his education in music, specializing in orchestral conducting and music composition. The documentary “20 Years Living For the Night” was released in 2005. Andre Matos would join up with Viper again in 2012 for a new Brazilian tour, celebrating the 25th anniversary of their debut album. The first two albums were both performed in full, resulting in the release of the live DVD “To Live Again – Ao Vivo Em São Paulo”.
Formed in 1988, São Paulo metal band Skyscraper also recorded with Matos, eventually resulting in the 1992 demo “Captain Frog”.
Angra was formed in 1991. Following the 1992 demo “Reaching Horizons”, international fame was reached with their 1993 debut album “Angels Cry”. Recorded in Gamma Ray frontman Kai Hansen’s studio in Hamburg, the album also included a guest performance by Heavens Gate guitarist Sascha Paeth.
This one featured their epic cover of the Kate Bush classic “Wuthering Heights”, with Matos showing off his vocal range in spectacular fashion. Matos wrote most of the other songs on the album, sometimes together with guitarist Rafael Bittencourt. The album also featured arrangements borrowed from Schubert, Paganini and Vivaldi.
“Holy Land” (1996) and “Fireworks” (1998) followed with Angra’s style evolving from Helloween-inspired melodic speed metal to a unique blend of heavy metal, classical music and traditional Brazilian influences. Co-produced by Sascha Paeth, “Holy Land” featured the Matos composition “The Shaman”. Following his eventual departure from Angra, Shaman (and eventually Shaaman) would be his next band.
Produced by Chris Tsangarides, “Fireworks” focused more on neo-classical metal and lacked the Brazilian rhythms of “Holy Land”. It also featured less material by Matos, though he did contribute “Wings of Reality” and “Lisbon” on his own.
During his time in Angra, they also released a couple of singles and EP’s, including “Holy Live” (1997) and the 1996 release “Freedom Call” (containing a cover of Judas Priest’s “Painkiller”), a name later borrowed by a German power metal band formed in 1998, a band who would also make their live debut as opening act for Angra and Edguy.
With his band Edguy having toured with Angra in 1998, Tobias Sammet began to outline his ideas for a metal opera concept album featuring guest musicians. Andre Matos would end up playing the part of “Elderane the Elf”, also taking part in Avantasia’s first world tour in 2008. Matos features on the Avantasia albums “The Metal Opera” (2001 – on “Inside”, “Sign of the Cross”, “The Tower”), “The Metal Opera Part II” (2002 – “The Seven Angels”, “No Return”, “Chalice of Agony”) and “The Wicked Symphony” (2010), singing on the song “Blizzard On a Broken Mirror”. Matos also featured on the 2011 DVD “The Flying Opera”, featuring live performances from Wacken Open Air 2008 and Masters of Rock Festival 2008. Matos sings on “Prelude/Reach Out for the Light”, “Inside”, “No Return”, “Shelter from the Rain” and “Sign of the Cross/The Seven Angels (Medley)”.
Also, in 1999 three ex-members of German progressive metal band Sieges Even took on the name Looking-Glass-Self, recording a demo EP with Matos on vocals. After the demo, Matos left the band who then continued as Val’Paraiso. Markus Steffen later formed Subsignal while the Holzwarth brothers would play with Blind Guardian before ending up in Rhapsody of Fire.
During mid-2000 Angra split with Matos taking bassist Luis Mariutti and drummer Ricardo Confessori with him. To this day, Rafael Bittencourt has continued releasing Angra albums. Recruiting Luis’ brother Hugo Mariutti on guitar, the former Angra trio next formed the band Shaman. However, before the new band got around to releasing their first album, Matos and Sascha Paeth got together for a self-titled album as “Virgo” in 2001.
Mixing heavy metal, classical music and world music, the Sascha Paeth-produced Shaman debut album “Ritual” was released in 2002. The song “Fairy Tale” was heard in the Brazilian Soap Opera “Beijo do Vampiro” and the album sold over 200.000 copies worldwide in the first year of release.
Following a tour with 150 concerts around the world and the live DVD “RituAlive” (2004), they were forced to change their name to Shaaman (for legal reasons) for the release of their second album, “Reason” (2005). The single “Innocence” was successful. The band was discontinued in 2006, though Confessori would go on making further releases as Shaman. Shaman eventually re-united their original lineup for a tour in 2018.
After leaving Shaaman along with the Mariutti brothers, Hugo and Luis, Matos released his first solo record “Time To Be Free” in 2007. Produced by Roy Z, this most symphonic album was written by guitarist Hugo Mariutti along with Matos and Pit Passarel of Viper, who also a guested on this album. Around this time, Matos also recorded a cover of the Journey classic “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)”. Two further solo albums followed in “Mentalize” (2009) and “The Turn of the Lights” (2012).
After moving to Sweden, Matos joined Symfonia in 2010, a power metal supergroup formed by Stratovarius main man Timo Tolkki and German drummer Uli Kusch (Helloween, Gamma Ray, Masterplan, Holy Moses etc.) along with Jari Kainulainen and Mikko Härkin. Their first and only album “In Paradisum” was released in 2011. The album was written by Matos and Tolkki, with the former focusing on lyrics and the latter focusing on the music but both having some input on each other’s parts.
Throughout the years, Matos also guested on several albums by other artists. This included but is not limited to the list seen below, including albums by Luca Turilli, AINA (the Sascha Paeth project also featuring Glenn Hughes, Michael Kiske and Candice Night), Epica and Soulspell, a Brazilian metal opera project conceived by drummer Heleno Vale. Matos can be heard in the role of “The White Lion of Goldah” on the latter’s 2017 album “The Second Big Bang”, a record also featuring Blaze Bayley, Tim “Ripper” Owens, Timo Kotipelto, Ralf Scheepers and Arjen Anthony Lucassen.
With that, I now have Nothing To Say except Rest In Peace.
I wish you, André, a safe journey to the Holy Land. Smooth sailing!
Andre Matos discography:
1987 – Viper – Soldiers of Sunrise
1989 – Viper – Theatre of Fate – 1989
1993 – Angra – Angels Cry
1994 – Angra – Evil Warning (EP)
1996 – Angra – Freedom Call (EP)
1996 – Angra – Holy Land
1998 – Angra – Holy Live (live)
1998 – Angra – Fireworks
2001 – Virgo – Virgo
2002 – Shaman – Ritual
2003 – Shaman – RituAlive (Live)
2005 – Shaaman – Reason
2007 – Andre Matos – Time to Be Free
2009 – Andre Matos – Mentalize
2011 – Symfonia – In Paradisum
2012 – Andre Matos – The Turn of the Lights
2015 – Viper – To Live Again – Ao Vivo Em São Paulo (Live)
Andre Matos also features on the following releases:
Vodu – Seeds Of Destruction (1988)
Skyscraper – Captain Frog (demo) (1992)
Henceforth – The Last Day (demo) (1996)
Nepal – Manifiesto – 1996
Rodrigo Alves – Suddenly (1997)
Looking-Glass-Self – Equinox – 1998
Superior – Younique – 1998
Time Machine – Secret Oceans Part II – 1998
Sagrado Coração da Terra – Ao Oeste do Sol, Oeste da Lua – 2000
Rodrigo Alves – Suddenly – 2000
Hamlet – William Shakespeare’s Hamlet – 2001
Holy Sagga – Planetude – 2001
Karma – Into the Eyes – 2001
Henceforth – I.Q.U. – 2001
Avantasia – (The Metal Opera) Parts I & II – 2001 / 2002
Avalanch – Los Poetas Han Muerto – 2002
Luca Turilli – Prophet of the Last Eclipse – 2002
Dr. Sin – Ten Years Live – 2003
AINA – Days of Rising Doom – 2004
Thalion – Another Sun – 2004
Epica – Consign to Oblivion – 2005
Eyes of Shiva – Deep – 2006
Viper – All My Life – 2007
Clairvoyants – Word to the Wise – 2008
HDK – System Overload – 2009
Corciolli – Lightwalk – 2009
Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony – 2010
Avantasia – The Flying Opera (live album) – 2011
My Alley – Hope – 2011
Empürios – Cyclings – 2013
Art X – The Redemption Of Cain – 2016
Soulspell – The Second Big Bang – 2017