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Aria - Khimera (8,5/10) - Russia - 2001

Genre: Heavy Metal
Label: Moroz
Playing time: 57:26
Band homepage: Aria

Tracklist:

  1. Khimera
  2. Nebo Meba Naydem
  3. Ya Ne Soshel S Uma
  4. Vampir
  5. Goryashchaya Smryela
  6. Shmil
  7. Pum V Nikuda
  8. Voron
  9. Oskolok Lda
  10. Tebe Dadum Znak
Aria - Khimera
ARIA's brand new eight album is entitled "Khimera". As I didn't like "Generator Zlya" that much, my hopes were, that the five Russians would be back on the track.

The title-track lets my expectations rise immediately, a very driving and dynamic song and the usual great voice of the terrific Valeri Kipelov make this a very promising beginning. "Nebo Meba Naydem" gives us powerful mid-tempo, more Rock than Metal, but this side of ARIA sounds quite as good as the opening track and it looks like as if Mr. Kipelov, Mr Kholstinin, Mr Dubinin, Mr Terentyev and Mr Manyakin made good for the relatively weak "generator Zlya". This is underscored by the following "Ya Ne Soshel S Uma" which is slow, but not like a ballad with great melody lines, although I wish the guitars would have had a little more crunch, but I shouldn't complain…

Then follows another tranquil song which again isn't really a ballad. The title "Vampir" is a little misleading and it reminds me more on the last album than the first three songs did, it's missing the drive and the dynamic element and doesn't really convince me…. In contrast to the following song "Goryashchaya Smryela" which sounds more like their heydays. Driving mid-tempo with a great bass and melodies that sound a little like MAIDEN, this is what we want! "Shmil" is a ballad beginning with acoustic guitar, bass drums and voice, with an electric guitar joining in later. Valeri Kipelov's characteristic voice is again brilliant although the song is not as catchy towards the end.

"Pum V Nikuda" is the next mid-tempo song and it's quite ok although nothing spectacular, nonetheless makes the dragging mid-tempo rocker "Voron" even less interesting since nothing really happens or stands out in this songs. Let's see: "Oskolok Lda" can be viewed as a ballad and it has everything a great song needs, great melodies and structure, the right atmosphere and sensitive vocals, thumbs up!

Which means that there is only "Tebe Dadum Znak" left, an epic on it's own with it's nine minutes. Again with rather moderate heaviness (although there are some ripping guitars in it), this song is pretty convincing with it's logic structure and arrangements, a great song, period!

Otherwise everything's fine, too. Great cover, very good production, everything fits together and doesn't have to fear comparisons with western acts. Definitely a step forward, but still not as good as those great feats "Igra S Ognem", "Krow Za Krow" or "Notch Korotche Dnya". I don't want to blame their age, but somehow that brightness and freshness that ARIA always stood for is lacking. They are obviously great songwriters and prove it more than once, but having produced such classics as mentioned above it's somehow a little to less… Anyhow, still way better than most of today's releases!

Available at Metalglory.

Alexander Melzer



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