|Review: Aria - Armageddon|
Label: Moroz Records
Year released: 2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: March 3, 2009
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Russia's Aria have been quite productive and diversified during their career, and their latest album finds the band far from stagnating. It's unmistakably Aria, but it's different enough that you can't claim that they're just rehashing the same formula - well, at least not all of it. As with most of their previous album, there's an Iron Maiden influence that can be found, although here the material is closer to what Maiden did in Seventh Son of a Seventh Son than with the earlier 80's output. I also found bits Angel of Retribution-era Priest. Where Aria take a different direction is in the "atmosphere", for lack of a better word. Their sound is more positive, more upbeat and definitely nowhere near as dark as that of the aforementioned metal titans. The singer especially has a very melodic voice, and even though this is all sung in Russian, the vocal melodies are so damned memorable that I found myself uttering some gibberish (I don't speak Russian) in my head because those melodies have been stuck there ever since the first time I listened to Armageddon. Catchy enough for you? But then again, catchiness is essentially a guarantee with any Aria album, although I must say this one is near, if not at the top of the pile.
Lots of good songs here, and beside Priest and Maiden one can hear bits of Gamma Ray and also some more generic European Power Metal creeping in here and there, just crunchier, Heavy Metal style. A couple of songs on the other hand sound a bit like déjà vu, feeling a bit dated and barely memorable. They even get a little too "modern" on "Viking", with some opening guitars that reek of "trendy groove metal", but somehow they've managed to not make it suck, and the song is actually pretty cool.
So, no big surprise here - if you liked Aria's previous output, no matter how different, chances are you'll eat this one up as well. For those who might have heard their more "quiet" albums, this one may just pack enough crunch and heaviness to win you over.
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