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Review: Aria - Play with Fire
Play with Fire

Label: Moroz Records
Year released: 1989
Duration: 39:39
Tracks: 7
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: January 22, 2021
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Play with Fire

Rated 4.43/5 (88.57%) (7 Votes)

As I'm working through Aria's discography, I keep asking myself whether I've ever heard a bad album by them. Can't think of any off the top of my head. Sure thing is, Play With Fire is way up there in the band's discography. There's still a lot of worship of the greats of the time, especially Iron Maiden (duh), with some similar melodies, the occasional Harris bass style and a good number of guitar riffs and, while Hero of Asphalt had a couple of "proto-Seventh Son..." moments, here there are quite a few nods to that great album, coming off more as a tribute rather than just copycatting. Overall, we're increasingly seeing Aria developing their own identity here, despite the obvious nods to their influences. Melodic yet crunchy, razor-sharp heavy metal is their trade, and this album is loaded with that.

As always, the vocals are a major highlight. Let's face it, I'm probably going to repeat this in every review of an Aria album: The vocal melodies are insanely catchy and the vocalist's melodic yet powerful and soaring vocals invite you to sing along pretty much every step of the way. On each and every listen I'm still floored by the vocals and the guy just keeps getting better, and the occasional hiccups that sometimes made things sound a little off on the previous albums are pretty much gone here. The music often gets into kind of an epic vibe—Maiden style, if you want a comparison—but not overly so; overall this is just great upbeat, catchy '80s heavy metal that marries all the ingredients that make this sound that even today still draws in so many people (not just the nostalgic such as yours truly). When this was released, a lot of bands "from the western front" were giving up as more extreme forms of metal were taking over, but Aria were just getting started. Stay tuned.

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