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AINA

Progressive Metal • Netherlands


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AINA is the reunion of over 30 highly skilled musicians and performers brought together for the sole purpose of making a Metal Opera. The concept belongs to guitar player (HEAVEN'S GATE) / producer (RHAPSODY & KAMELOT) / visionary Sascha Paeth who took charge of the arrangements, guitars and basses and entrusted Amanda Somerville with the story line and lyrics. Robert Hunecke-Rizzo (LUCA TURILLI, RHAPSODY & KAMELOT) also handles basses and guitars plus the drums, and Miro takes care of keyboards, orchestration and various sound effects. The project boasts an extensive cast of famous guest musicians from the Hard Rock and Metal communities, and the singers' roster reads like a Who's Who of the Prog/Metal scene (see complete details in the album's credits).

If this is starting to sound like your typical, overblwon Power Metal production, think again. While the participation of so many artists too often ends up overwhelming the listener, "Aina" manages to attain a rare unity, thanks to Paeth's skillful directing. Another feature also sets "Aina" apart from the rest: far from confining itself to Power Metal, it incorporates a wide variety of symphonic elements that range from progressive to classical music, thus appealing to mainstream, prog and metal audiences alike.

The story line is a fantasy saga about love, hate and sibling rivalry, and the album features a variety of musical themes and atmospheres, ranging from speed metal and solid rock numbers to delicate acoustic parts, aerial, 'maiden' vocals, even a boys' choir. On the technical side, you'll hear some powerful riffs, fancy keyboards, brilliant guitar solos, sonic drumming, overall catchy melodies and first-rate performances from all involved, particularly from vocalist Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH).

AINA's self-titled album comes in 2 cds with a 64-page, beautifully illustrated booklet where disk 1 features the main material and disk 2 contains some single and alternate versions of the same songs plus a few demos. A limited edition of the album contains a 3rd disk: a DVD featuring a documentary on the making of "Aina", a 3D animated clip and some slides and pictures from the album's booklet. The buyer should thus consider the first cd as the main album and the other two as free bonuses.

If you're tired of the usual, run-of-the-mill Metal-Rock theatre, check out AINA for a truly eclectic musical experience.

: : : Lise (Hibou), CANADA : : :

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Buy AINA Music


Days of Rising Doom: Metal OperaDays of Rising Doom: Metal Opera
Box set
The End Records 2004
Audio CD$59.99
$29.99 (used)
Living in a Boy's WorldLiving in a Boy's World
Import
Mtm Music & Publish 2005
Audio CD$10.76
$13.84 (used)
AinaAina
The First Time (TFT) Records 2002
Audio CD$3.89
$0.48 (used)
BipartiteBipartite
Import
2006
Audio CD$150.29
$6.05 (used)
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AINA discography


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AINA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 34 ratings
Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera
2003

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AINA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera by AINA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.25 | 34 ratings

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Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera
AinA Progressive Metal

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars This beast is doomed!

Aina is listed here as being from the Netherlands, but given the large cast of musicians involved this project is truly multi-national. Still, the Dutch are well-known for their cheese, and Days Of Rising Doom is a large portion of Gouda. Not even Arjen Lucassen's Ayreon could match the cheese factor of this. This album has its moments, but also some that are hard to swallow.

I became interested in this "Metal Opera" after reading the list of people involved which includes some favourites of mine. Two brilliant keyboard players in Erik Norlander (Lana Lane, Rocket Scientists) and Jens Johansson (Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force) and the distinctive voice of Damian Wilson (Threshold, Rick Wakeman). Another distinctive voice is that of Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath). And they have Candice Night (the wife of Ritchie Blackmore) raped (she plays the role of Oria on The Rape Of Oria)!

The dominant style involved here is 80's flavoured Heavy Metal and Power Metal (not unlike Judas Priest's conceptual Nostradamus in parts). The album is conceptual in nature and there are Symphonic, Neo -Classical, and even some very discrete folky aspects, but the music is not particularly progressive.

Days Of Rising Doom is not all bad, but its primary audience is those with a special interest in conceptual and mildly progressive Metal. The average Prog fan need not bother.

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 Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera by AINA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.25 | 34 ratings

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Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera
AinA Progressive Metal

Review by senor_velasco

4 stars "Rock opera" doesn't do it justice.

Aina: Days of Rising Doom is so much more than a concept-based supergroup. Its story is sweeping, its orchestration is rich, its instrumentality is impeccable, its vocals are expressive and its composition is totally solid.

While I'm not terribly familiar with many of the bands associated with the illustrious cast of players, I recognize quite a few voices from other projects, such as Ayreon.

As with any project involving many contributors, it's hard to pin the album down to a couple descriptors. The album is rife with riffs that grab hold and don't let go. The sonic atmosphere ranges from heavy, hard and driving (Flight of Torek, Son of Sorvahr, Rebellion) to ethereal and emotive (Silver Maiden, Rape of Oria, Serendipity), each section an effective complement to the story being told.

The music is quite straightforward. There's nothing very eclectic about any of these songs. Indeed, Aina can be called progressive rock only in its scope and in its use of orchestra and extended solos. That certainly doesn't make it any less enjoyable, however, and many of the arrangements are complex enough to keep the mind entertained on subsequent listens.

I've found that what most rock operas lack are great lyrics - and Aina is no exception. Tim Rice this is not. The words aren't doggerel, but they serve little purpose other than to tell the story and give a framework for the music.

For those who enjoy an easy listen, a rocking escape and an emotion-laden performance, Aina delivers. It's well worth the time spent getting to know it.

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 Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera by AINA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.25 | 34 ratings

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Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera
AinA Progressive Metal

Review by HammerOfPink

4 stars A very interesting album indeed! Just the concept is interesting enough to get someone into it, as well as the number of singers and musicians who participated, who come from all over the world. The project is mostly associated with Rhapsody and Luca Turilli, but it has people from all over, many progressive metal bands, gothic symphonic metal, and even classic rock bands. Just looking at the musicians from their respective bands/projects is interesting. The next thing that will draw you is the fact that it's a Metal Opera.

The Storyline is much like that of a Rhapsody or Kamelot album. It tells the story of the land of Aina, thrown into chaos due to a dramatic love Triangle. I won't bother narrating the story, you can find it somewhere else, but it's very interesting. It reminds you of something like the Lord of the Rings, or other interesting medieval tales.

From beginning to end it keeps you interested. You can seriously just pull up a page with the lyrics on it, and read along as you hear the music play and the singers sing... and at the end, you will emerge satisfied, as if you'd just seen an amazing movie. Fans of Rhapsody, Kamelot and symphonic metal in general would love this... and also anyone who likes Ayreon, particularly "The Final Experiment."

This album is really good, and interesting as well. It's a Metal Opera, and has many guest singers and musicians, and the music is really good too. Well worth it!

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 Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera by AINA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.25 | 34 ratings

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Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera
AinA Progressive Metal

Review by Koskinen

2 stars Looking at this with the eyes of a power/progressive/symphonic metal fan, I must say that on paper Aina is one of the best things ever created by man. You have some pretty decent names from the realm of the above mentioned genres (especially power & symphonic) and overall you'd expect the production to be top notch. Nothing could possibly go wrong, right?

The biggest flaw the album has is the flavourless and bland execution of it all. The instruments are relatively decent, though they still lack emotion far too often. Singing varies, sometimes it's good, sometimes just plain soulless. The songs themselves are also plagued by the horribly radio friendly approach; the longest songs are 6 minutes, while the calculated average length is just below 4 and half minutes. Likewise the song structure is painfully pop-formulated, verse, chorus, verse stuff. Now I do enjoy radio friendly-esque 4 minute chorus driven songs myself as well, heck, most power metal falls into that category. The difference between most other stuff and Aina is that while most other stuff has some soul into it, Aina just comes off as if Britney Spears decided to do a metal album all of a sudden. Yes, it's that calculated & blank (at least that's the impression that it gives me).

So while this album may be good production-wise, artistically it's just as if some big record company guy decided to do something that appealed to the masses. Compare with Gamma Ray for example, they do radio friendly (what my ears regard as such, anyway) music that's 4-6 minutes long, yet despite their near banal lyrics they somehow accomplish in achieving that feeling and attitude that makes it all sound so good. I don't know, I'm pretty much Aina's target audience, I'm a sucker for grandiose operatic albums that promise the sun and the moon, the whole fantasy land approach regarding lyrics and an impressive list of guest musicians all wrapped up in some sweet power metal. But despite all the great prospects I'm left with an uninspiring album which could have been something so much better.

If you're looking for (power) metal operas, go and check Avantasia, or just settle for unoperatic power metal bands, there's plenty to choose from. If it's the opera metal you're looking for, Ayreon's always a good choice.

2 stars because while I can't see any reason to buy this lest you can find it dirt cheap, it still retains some production values.

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 Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera by AINA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.25 | 34 ratings

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Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera
AinA Progressive Metal

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Aina - Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera is an cd that leaves a strang feeling. It starts of so good and then it's finishes so bad. But I will discuss the album chronologic.

Aina has a lots of sounds. It has some metalriffs, it has symphonic arangements, powermetal, a fairytail-WaltDisney-ballad and some good vocals.

The first piece, Aina Overture is a good progressive beginning. One will get interested after hearing the complex pianoparts in combinations with the heavy guitars and the symphonic sound.

The next track is the first song Revelations. I wonder how many bands have calles I song Revelations, but OK... it's can happen. In the beginning we are treated with fairytail guitarprogression and a young boys choir. A good opening, very atmospheric! Then the song changes to a progressive orchestrated metalpiece. Nice vocals and I love the speed of this part. Then a finale is reserved for the ending of the track, some kind of opera part. A nice melody sung by a man with an great voice! Again, tasty!

Then the fairytail part began. A fully orchestrated track with the main character singing about his love for this girl. For fantasylovers this is the total experience. For people with sympathy for Walt Disney's lovetunes this might also be an enrichment of live. For me this is track that is a bit funny but I do get carried away with it. So what the heck? It works.

Flight of Torek. This song sounds like a progressive/powermetal anthem. Our favourite singer of all times Tobias Sammet (known from Avantasia and Edguy) sings this song. His influence is all over the place but it's a gentle happy metalsong with an progressive development in the chorus. I loved this stuff when I was 15 years old, now, 4 years later it somehow dissapoints me. It's music where one must get carried away or you will not understand. But overall a good song.

Naschtak is born. Our next step of the menu is a bit more angry song. The bad guy is introduced. It has a very nice guitar riff and the vocals are done very well. Also a strong chorus making this one of the better songs of the album.

The beast within. Another badguys song. Again a good song. Only the main lyric line is bit to simple, but it does serve the song. In the middle of the song we have an strange part, it sound like an a group of martial arts guys are practicing. Yet another good working piece of music.

The siege of Aina. The guitar part on the beginning is my favourite part of the record. It's has a strong vibe. Then the martialart guys again show up and female choir is introduced. What is going to happen now? Al pieces fall in the puzzl when the metal guitars are introduced and you get swapped away by the strong melody introduced. Realy fanatic! Again great vocals here!

Talons's Last Hope. This song is just simply boring. Only drums and a bass line and some vocals just don't entertain me in such a simple way. The song isn't very finished if you asked me. Then the Rape of Orea is a ballad sung by a Dutch lady Simone Simmons. Nice atmospheric fairytail ballad, recorded well.

Son of Sorvahr. A short ok metal song with some nice oldschool organs wich contribute to the overall vybe of this less serious song. Nice solo with a wah-amplified-guitar. Serendipity is another carried away song, this time based on a akoustic guitar progression. A lot of time must have been spent catching this atmosphere on type. Again a great exsample of a hate it or love it song.

Lalae Amer. This song is a eastern Europe influenced song for it sounds a bit Arabic. The vocals are in the style of this song. It actually sounds like it is an worldmusic recording. Little are the metal influences on this song, though the ending gives us some solo's so the song is complete. Well, it works. Rebellion starts of with an typical powermetal part but is actually pretty good. Nice speed, good vocals. Nothing left to say about this song.

Oriana's Wrath is a progmetal epic. More characters have their part. Nice choir arrangements have to compete with the great guitar en keyboard parts. I'm glad the powermetal drums were left for just a few songs like this giving it power without bringing overkill to the whole record. Impressive creation of music.

Then came Restoration. Our last thing on the menu begins with some psychedelic sounds. This, I like. But then a steady one chord slow metal part is introduced. Over this part a lot of themes of other songs are mixed. Together with Talon's Last Hope this is the least interesting song of the album. It's just sounds like a remix of someone who fellt bored. No real effort was put into this. They could have replace the steady one chord riff with guitars that supported the introduced themes. This makes te ending of the record bad. A pitty, cause most of the songs are good. A bad ending for an opera is the worst thing that can happen, it leaves me with an feeling of not being satisfied. Like the story wasn't finished. It's a Pitty. The record would have been better if they exclused Talons last hope and Restoration.

So a bit of an dissapointment in the end makes this a three stars album. It's good at it's moments, but sometimes it just doesn't work. For fantasy fanatics this is still a nice album to pic! You migh actually like it very much as I did in the beginning. The period before I listened to prog.

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 Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera by AINA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.25 | 34 ratings

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Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera
AinA Progressive Metal

Review by Disturbed_Fan696969

5 stars I thought the skill for this piece of musical inspiration was on the higher side. they incorperated so much into this CD it was unbelievable. there's one song that starts with an arpeggio and it sounds awesome. Everything for this group of magnificent musicans was well thought out and well produced. I hope something else is made in the future at the same quality level. This also helped me find a group named Angra. Another awesome group of musicans.

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 Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera by AINA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.25 | 34 ratings

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Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera
AinA Progressive Metal

Review by 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 Krakhôn, 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

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 Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera by AINA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.25 | 34 ratings

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Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera
AinA Progressive Metal

Review by mshuizenga

2 stars There's a lot of metal operas these days. Even the so-called 'gothic' bands, you name it... take some guitars, what keyboards, a grunter (typically a man), a soprano and off we go... In Holland we have the group Epica, who took the title of the last cd of the much- appraised Kamelot as their name. They did a semi-live performance, just in the studio, but better than off the record. They have excellent talent! One of the background vocalists is the brain of this opera. She invented for this a new language, a bit like the LOTR language and made up a story. The first 3 - 4 tracks are fresh and good. Then, to my opinion, there is a major mistake: to take Glenn Hughes as a main vocalist. An old rocker with a childish voice, they could better take a better one. If you leave out the parts of Glenn, the music is majestic.

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 Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera by AINA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.25 | 34 ratings

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Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera
AinA Progressive Metal

Review by Tristan Mulders
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Aina - Days of rising Doom: The metal Opera

After already hearing quite a few metal concept albums before, I was somewhat curious whether or not Aina was equally good...

Sadly, it was a somewhat disappointing experience.

Although there are some good, progressive parts on this CD, most of it has already been done so many times before, leaving it to be sounding like a copy of the more successful metal opera's (I name but a few: the later AYREON albums and AVANTASIA: The Metal Opera by Edguy's TOBIAS SAMMET).

Yes, the guest list is a bit impressive; we have Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE), Tobias Sammet (EDGUY, AVANTASIA, hey why didn't you stick to that one instead?), Damian Wilson (formerly of THRESHOLD, AYREON) and Simone Simons (EPICA). But a star list doesn't automatically mean that the album is great! As said, There are parts of genius (I did like the parts where the rhythmic section was jamming and a choir was singing on top of that, and of course the brilliant Aina Overture) but most isn't progressive at all, maybe it's better to call it regressive metal?

Overal an average metal album, that can entertain, but will not enlighten you!

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 Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera by AINA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.25 | 34 ratings

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Days of Rising Doom - The Metal Opera
AinA Progressive Metal

Review by ---Progman---

5 stars Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. If I may advise the ones who buy this album: read the introduction in the booklet (with beautiful images) first, so you know what the story is about. Then put the cd in your player and let yourself drift off to another world. The story may be a cliche, but who cares about that when the music is ashtonishing? It's very symphonic and the voices are great. I love this album!

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Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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