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AinA - Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera CD (album) cover

DAYS OF RISING DOOM - THE METAL OPERA

AinA

 

Progressive Metal

3.25 | 34 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

semismart
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Hmmmmm, what do we have here? Isn't this something? This CD enclosure is actually a little book. Fancy, Fancy! I'll bet it cost the record companies a bundle. Let's see, 72 pages if you count the covers. Ahhh, here's the story of the rock opera. Brothers - two princes, love the same beautiful woman, Oria, she picks one, Talon, other brother, Torek, leaves in a huff, sets up shop as King in evil neighboring land, Naschtok, becomes an obsessive, vengeful King, attacks Aina, Captures Oria ......... Hummmph, kind of weak. I could have done better myself.

Okay, what other goodies are in here, some nice art work, song lyrics of the fifteen songs on disc one, a list of the songs on disc two, hmmmm, mostly repeats and a list of the features on the DVD, could be interesting. What else, ahhh, photos of "The Creators", Sascha Paeth, Robert Hunecke-Rizzo, Miro, Amanda Somerville (hot), I wonder why she was there? Oh, she wrote the corny story among other things, hmmmm never heard of them. Next is "The Voices", fifteen all totaled, then "the Choirs", "The Prophets", "The Guest Musicians" and or course the Credits and several pages on Behind the Scenes which looks like the story of how Aina, The Metal Opera, came about.

Boy, this container is something, wait til I show this to Jordan (he's my 21 yr old, wanna be actor son). Let's see how it looks in my CD case. Hmmmmm, it's too fat. I wonder if the record company realized that. Well, it is like a book maybe they thought it should go in a book case. Darn, it's too short. Looks like midget. Oh well, I can leave it on a coffee table. It would be a great conversation piece. I wonder if the music as good as this six star packaging?

AINA

It was supposed to be a monumental achievement. An epochal event in the annals of Rock/Metal Operas or any musical endeavor. It was supposed to compare favorably with the mega hit, blockbuster rock operas of the seventies. With a cast of dozens of big name musicians and singers it was bound to succeed. If I may paraphrase the immortal words of George Tenet, it should have been "a slam dunk"

Aina is a highly touted, long awaited production. It has, as a rule, been getting very positive reviews but I think some of those reviews were based on hype and expectations. I think, based on expectations, one could fool themselves into liking something more. I'm sure You and I have probably done it.

However, before I continue, let me straighten out a misconception I may have given you. Aina is not a piece of crap. It really is a pretty good album. That's why I gave it three stars. Some of you may listen to Aina and think whats his problem and give it five stars. So therefore let me explain my train of thought.

I'm not disappointed that it's not good. I'm disappointed that it's not better, that it's not fabulous, amazing, incomparable. The fact is, it doesn't truly match up to it's ostentatious packaging.(which, admittedly is a challenge) The trouble is, when what's inside doesn't match or exceed what's outside, it seems pretentious. Does that make sense?

Ok, now that you know that I think the packaging is top shelf, let's talk about the things that aren't. But first a little background on the project with some pertinent observations.

From what I can determine, Aina was the brainchild of an unnamed executive at Dutch record company, Transmission Records. Apparently this executive decided to engage well known producer/musician Sascha Paeth (to others, not me) to write, organize, produce and perform the Metal Opera of the ages. No expense was to be spared.

One should note that at one time Transmission Records had under contract the master of Metal Operas, Arjen Anthony Lucassen, a Dutchman who has perfected the art of producing Metal Operas and has seven successful operas under his belt with the eighth to be released shortly but now under the Inside Out label. I can't help but wonder if Lucassen's leaving precipitated this no holds barred project, a sort of see what you're missing to Lucassen.

Perhaps, if you couldn't have Lucassen, Sascha Paeth was a good choice. After all he did recruit several artists who had previously worked with Lucassen and the list of participants is impressive but I can't help but wonder about the method of creating this composition was a little backward. To me, it smacks of Hey let's create a Boy Band, we'll call them Backstreet Boys. Any idea who we can get? only substitute Rock/Metal Opera for boy band.

Call me old fashioned but it seems to me that the inspiration should be in the music not the idea. Shouldn't the artist get an epiphany and go into seclusion for two or three months like a prophet and return with an inspirational masterpiece? This is what Tchort did for Light of Days, Days of Darkness and it is sensational.

Now Paeth, who is well reputed as a producer having produced albums for Angra, Rhapsody, Epica and America's own Kamelot, did not have an epiphany. He did not even have an idea(it was somebody else's), he had an instruction, so he called in three assistants, his "Creators" for ideas. Their idea, which seems backward to me though I'm not a musician, was to write the lyrics first. Of course with an Opera you had to tell a story, so Amanda Sommerville wrote a story. Not great mind you but as good as many of the cheesy Power Metal stories. Then they collaborated on the lyrics and lastly the music. Under the circumstances it is a wonder the music turned out as good as it is.

Highlight Songs

"Aina Overature" a two minute intro Overture, nicely done but on a rock opera if you can't do a great intro, you better hang it up.

"Naschtok is Born", straight forward rock, but with a great guitar solo, courtesy of Robert Hunecke-Rizzo. Vocals are from the perspective of Torek, who is portrayed by Thomas Rettke (Heavens Gate)

"The Beast Within", is the last part of a little trilogy where Torek's alter ego Sorvahr is actually overtaking his former self. Musically this is once again Iron Maiden territory, with catchy choruses that strongly echo the work of Queen. This song is also chosen as a single release from the album.

"The Siege Of Aina", has a great build-up with two choirs portraying the two lands before the war. The evil KrakhĂ´n, whose battle call sounds not unlike a Maori Haka, answered by an angelic boys' choir singing in Ainae language. These two different musical styles mesh extremely well, as they build up to another powerful rock song, with indeed a genuine metal feel and great orchestral arrangements and the musical- style choruses.

"Oriana's Wrath", here we're getting back in genuine rock opera mode, which more than echoes the massive finales of Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair - only heavier. Oriana's Warth is great stuff, really, with two separate choirs battling out the war.

Conclusion

To say that this production is merely ambitious does not do it justice. However, to say it succeeds is an overstatement. It succeeds on some levels but not overall. Am I impressed? Not really. Am I disappointed? A little. Could it be worse? Of course, It's actually pretty good. Could it have been better? You bet, I said pretty good, not magnificent. It is to a great masterpiece like the movie Dragonslayer is to The Lord of The Rings.

In all fairness my observations of Aina's music may have been slightly skewed because of my fondness for two less elaborate but truly wonderful Rock/Metal Operas, that I purchased in the last three or four months. They are Once and Future King by Gary Hughes and Missa Mercuria

semismart | 3/5 |

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