Tuesday, September 7, 2010

ARIA - Hero of Asphalt (Ария - Герой асфальта)

This is a fucking Robot Viking Biker.
You do not mess with him.
Aria, or Ария as it is in Russian, is one of those bands who merely was in the wrong place at the right time. Founded in 1985 in Russia, they missed the wave that hit England roughly five years earlier. Hence they lost all chance of commercial recognition.

Their two first albums have a feeling of making it as they learn, but Their third album, Hero of Asphalt sounds quite a bit like Iron Maiden in the mid-eighties, while retaining some personal edge to their music.
The most obvious difference is the vocals. Valeriy Kipelov sings a lot like Bruce Dickinson, and his high soaring vocals can often feel "larger" than Dickinsons. Kipelov does dramatic vocals just as well, if not better than Bruce, but is not quite as varied, with calm or mellow vocals. There is no need for him to go lower, however, as the vocals suit the music at all times. He also has a knack for making catchy vocal lines, that makes you want to sing along, even if you don't know a word Russian. One good example is the song, 1100, where he carries the entire song from being mediocre.

The guitarwork is praiseworthy through all the songs with lots of riffs, galloping and otherwise, through the entire album. The solos are of high quality. While they are not the fastest shredding around, they are highly melodic and varied, always with a sense of direction, Much in the vein of their obvious Maiden idols.

The bass is prominent in the mix, and highly distinguishable at most times. It provides occasional melodic licks under the guitars, and really shines on tracks like Rose Street, where it hardly does simple following of guitars, but always catches your attention with interesting licks and markings.

The drumwork is tight, and does it job at all times, but it is nothing extrordinary. the drummer works in a way that allows the rest of the band to shine.

All in all this is a high quality album in both songwriting, composition and individual performance. It's one major drawback is how it could diversify itself more from its inspiration, the mid-eighties Maiden.

This sums it all up to a total of 8/10
  Aria – Hero of Asphalt
Hero of Asphalt (mediafire)

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