AFM [release date: 9.04.21]
Over the 10 years since their debut, Arion have swapped teenage Eurovision notoriety for cutting edge symphonic rock. Like other Power Metal bands, their music is emphatic, and heavy on the drama. They know how to juggle bombast with slick, edgy heavy metal, creating excitement with distinctive, powerful melodies.
But there’s more to this band. And it’s something you can hear developing over the last couple of albums, culminating in Vultures Die Alone. The songs are bold, thrusting, with an underlying sense of threat . . . symphonic metal set in a shadowy, post industrial landscape.
The arangements are often beefed up with the muscle fibre of hip hop and what were once contemporary metal tropes… ‘Break My Chains’ and ‘Bloodline’s passive aggressive vocals and clipped lyrical phrasing, set against surging choral cantatas and growling choruses, nudge at the needle of the genre’s stylistic compass.
And simply by opening with the otherworldy sound of a Russian Orthodox choir, before erupting into a huge piece of intensely delivered music, ‘I Love To Be Your Enemy’ (a duet with Noora Louhimo) declares a desire to be just as different.
As the titles might suggest, the more traditional power metal tracks, ‘Out Of My Life’ and ‘I’m Here To Save You’ carry considerable emotional freight. These two are bursting with melody and invention, structurally tight and lyrically deft, recalling Dynazty’s and Evergrey’s recent recordings.
And as is often the case, it’s the tracks that cut against the grain of the surrounding material that stand out most. The Symphonic pop metal of ‘In The Name Of Love’, a piano driven duet with Finnish pop sensation, Cyan Kicks, is not original, but is radical in the way it is presented, and is a cool piece of marketing.
But the real standout, by a considerable margin, is ‘Ocean Meets The Sky’, a widescreen instrumental track that stretches the band’s musical landscape in many different ways. It’s unusual for a Symphonic/Power Metal band to record a full length instrumental, and you can see why Arion included this one. It plays on the idea of music being a substitute for images. The track’s sumptious cinematic grooves mirror a truly climactic big screen moment, and we are encouraged to buy in. It’s an electrifying, exciting piece of music.
There can be no question, Vultures Die Alone edges this band closer to Champions’ League giants like Avantasia, Kamelot and Stratovarius. ****
Review by Brian McGowan
Josh Taerk’s latest Sunday Session was streamed on Sunday 20 March 2022 at 21:00 GMT (16:00 EST). Josh’s next session is Sunday 22 May.
Check out previous videos here: https://www.facebook.com/getreadytorockradio
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 8 May 2022.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 3 May 2022.
How to Listen Live?
Click the programming image at the top of the page (top right of page if using desktop)
Get Ready to ROCK! Radio is also in iTunes under Internet Radio/Classic Rock
Listen in via the Tunein app and search for “Get Ready to ROCK!” and save as favourite.
More information and links at our radio website where you can listen again to shows via the presenter pages: getreadytorockradio.com
Power Plays w/c 16 May 2022 (Mon-Fri)
FLOYA The Hymn (Arising Empire)
VEXES The Dream Disease (indie)
NEAR DUSK The Way It Goes (Iron Head Records)
IN SEARCH OF SUN Make Me Crazy (indie)
WALLNER VAIN Deceive Her (indie)
FIGHT THE FADE Where You Go I Go (FiXT)
MARATON Non-Euclidean Heart (Indie Recordings)
Featured Albums w/c 16 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 TERRA NOVA Ring That Bell (Lion Music)
12:00-13:00 FOZZY Boombox (Mascot)
14:00-16:00 MICHAEL McDERMOTT St.Paul’s Boulevard (Pauper Sky Records)
Tweets by Get Ready to ROCK!