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Aina - Days Of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.26 | 39 ratings

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4 stars Yes, I know what you think, "not yet another Metal Opera." But this time it's different. It's a concept album with a very good story (if you like fantasy stories like The Lord Of The Rings) and the music is different from other metal operas, as there are a lot of symphonic arrangements on this record. It all started when the German producer, Sascha Paeth (RHAPSODY, KAMELOT, EPICA), got a call from Hans van Vuuren from Transmission Records with the request to make a metal opera. Sascha called the rest of the people you find in the credits above and the creation of AINA was on its way.

The album opens with a classical arrangement "Aina Overture" that alternates with a powermetal theme, by which you already hear that this is not an everyday Metal Opera. "Revelations" starts acoustic, with a very good vocal performance of Michael Kiske, who proves that he can do other things with his voice than we are used from him with HELLOWEEN. In this track you can also already admire the Trinity Schoolboys Choir, which adds a lot to several tracks, when they sing in the Ainea language. Yes, indeed, Amanda invented a special language for this album which adds up to the comparison with the Tolkien saga. This track has heavy and quiet moments, to end with a marvellous but too short performance by Damian Wilson. (And that's his only appearance on this album). In this track, you can also witness the speed and skill of STRATOVARIUS keyboard player Jens Johansson. Also the lyrics of Amanda are outstanding and the "maiden voice" she sings in "Silver Maiden" proves that writing lyrics isn't her only quality. Maybe this track tends a bit too much to a Disney sort of soundtrack.

"The Flight Of Torek" is a speed metal track which could have been an EDGUY or AVANTASIA track but what would you expect when specialist Tobias Sammet does the singing?

In "Naschtok Is Born", evil pops up for the first time and Thomas Rettke has the honour to help this with his voice. And Sascha Paeth is not only the producer and creator but also plays a brilliant guitar solo in this song.

"The Beast Within" is indeed the best choice as first single, but I doubt if it will enter the charts, because of its speed metal ingredients. Although the chorus is melodic enough to stay in your head after a few listenings. The grunt choir (don't be afraid, this is the only "not even real" grunt on this album) also doesn't add up to their chances to convince the mainstream public.

"The Siege Of Aina" is apparently to become the next single with a keyboard from Derek Sherinian. You also hear the first angel sounds of Candice Night at the end of this track.

"Talon's Last Hope" is a track that has a "Still Got The Blues" by Gary Moore feeling (especially the guitar in the beginning). The vocals are done by Glenn Hughes. Amanda said that Glenn sung the tracks in a totally different way as she intended, but that she liked them even more afterwards.

"Rape of Oria" is wonderfully sung by Candice Night and is preceded by piano and some noises that refer to the title of this track. (I wonder if Candice is making those noises too? ;-))

In "Son Of Sorvahr", T.M.Stevens gets a chance to show why he was bass player with Tina Turner and Steve Vai, amongst others.

"Serendipity" makes you wonder why Michael Kiske didn't sing more ballads in the past because his voice is made for this. Amanda gives a demonstration of her self made Ainea language in "Lalae AmÍr". (the translation is in the booklet). And then it's time for a duel between Emppu Vuorinen on guitar and Erik Norlander on keyboard in "Rebellion". I'll let you decide who won it.

For "Oriana's Wrath", a very strong rocking track with a lot of changes, they gave the role of Oriana to Canadian rock star Sass Jordan. Maybe Amanda didn't sound mean enough?

Quite the opposite can be said of the excellent soprano voice of Simone Simons of EPICA on the last track of this album.

That ends a brilliant album and don't forget I forgot to mention a lot of people. Maybe the most important of them all are the creators. One of the most important musicians of this album is certainly Robert Hunecke-Rizzo, who plays all the drums, guitars and bass when it's not otherwise mentioned in the booklet, and I have to say that's quite a lot. I also didn't mention Miro, who plays most of the keyboards.

And that's only the first disc. Don't forget, you get 3 discs, for almost the price of one. But don't get too excited, because disc 2 and 3 are actually extras and bonuses. Disc 2 contains single versions, demos, ainea versions and alternate versions of songs that are already on the first disc. (sometimes with other vocalists) Some are better, some aren't, but that's a matter of taste and that's up to you. The most interesting track on this second disc is "The Story Of Aina". It's a classical piece of music, with a symphonic orchestra, that gives you 15 minutes of wonderful music in which a lot of themes from AINA are used.

Disc 3 is the DVD section. First of all there's a 3D animated clip of "The Beast Within". I imagine it must have been a hell of a job to make this, but I don't really like it. The characters move in a "PC game" way. (you know what I mean: too static, too robotic). The most important part of the DVD is the documentary "The making of Aina" in which you can witness the recording and some interviews with the creators. The rest of the DVD are slides and pictures that are the same as in the booklet, so it's all a bit redundant.

But most important: disc 1 is a masterpiece and you should consider all the rest as bonuses you get for free.

>>> Review by: Danny (8,5/10) <<<

Clayreon | 4/5 |


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