Having been a huge Power Metal fan since I first began listening to Metal, it has become an unfortunate fact that, as of late, my tolerance and attention span for this very genre has grown shorter and shorter with each new band I discover attempting to cash in on the craze. However, all is not lost, for as my tolerance decreases, my ability to notice worthwhile talent among the crowd increases. Enter the Russians ARIDA VORTEX to rekindle my desire for this now saturated genre.
Rather than become slaves to the almighty keyboard, ARIDA VORTEX deliver an album that has more in common with the traditional Power Metal bands of the 80s than the neo-classical Power Metal bands that we have become more than accustomed to. Now don't get me wrong, I am a huge supporter of synthesizers, but what I find refreshing about this release is the fact that the reduced presence of keyboards allow the guitars to take a commanding role, leaving us with songs full of catchy hooks, riffs and superb solos that work as a reminder as to why we adore this style of Metal so much.
After a brief, but suitable intro, the album gets under way with "Vortex", a most enjoyable track that sees guitarists Roman and Ivan Guryev deliver the goods I aluded to earlier. While each member displays their skills throughout the album, I was most relieved to hear that Andy Lobashev's vocal style and delivery were greatly enjoyable, while fitting the music very well. Though I'm sure he will improve with each subsequent release, he has definitely established what he is capable of on "Evil Sorcery".
Another positive aspect of this album can be found in the variety of material, for unlike their peers POWER QUEST (who are also new to the scene), ARIDA VORTEX are not slaves to speed. Though there are speedy tracks to be found on this release ("Vortex", "Prison For My Soul", "When Tomorrow Comes"), the band balances them out with some mid-paced tracks ("Break The Fetters", "Revolution Time", "Imagination" as well as the title track) and some ballads ("Autumn" and the bonus track "Fly Away" which is sung completely in Russian). With such variety, you won't find yourself becoming bored while listening to this album from beginning to end, a serious problem with most debut Power Metal releases.
So if you consider yourself to be a fan of the powerful aspect of Metal (performed in a more traditional vein), give this band the time and effort I believe they deserve.
Available at www.metal-cd.ru! (Online October 19, 2003)