Song For The Dead King
posted on 3/2005 By:
Russian symphonic metal…can’t say I’ve ever reviewed any of that before. I’m not really familiar with much at all about the Russian metal scene, beyond Forest Stream and Butterfly Temple, so at least I know that Russia can play doom. However, The Aerium are not doom, they are a keyboard/synthesizer-driven band fronted by a female ex-choir singer, so you can expect nothing but operatic vocals.
Veronika’s voice is the most noticeable piece of the puzzle. She sounds much like Tarja of Nightwish, although she doesn’t show much range on this release. Her capable voice couples with the dominating keyboard work of Andrey (who is quite good) to set a somber, tragic mood which projects forth from every song. In essence, Song for the Dead King reminds me of a film soundtrack for something like a subtitled movie set in old Italy about a father dying. It's just mellow, sorrowful music. So if that is their goal, then they’ve succeeded.
I, however, have a couple of issues with this album. First of all, the mixing does no justice to most of the band. The synths are way out in front, so even when a “heavy” guitar riff is being played, it has little of the intended impact, as in “Sentinel”. The bass and drums get equally little respect in the studio. Each instrument sounds fine, but their relative volumes are skewed, as I hear it. The acoustic guitarwork comes through better, but that is because when Kirill is playing acoustic, there isn’t much else being played. My other problem is that The Aerium are quite unaggressive in their songwriting. The songs rarely ever hit any sort of climax, with the exception of maybe “Queen of Snows”. The outlook is not all negative though, as there are some very decent tunes, like “Midnight” and “Queen of Snows”.
Song for the Dead King is an adequate symphonic release that suffers from a questionable production. Because of that, I’ll end up lumping this in with bands like Canaan and Twelfth of Never, as bands that I listen to when I need something calming. However, this is The Aerium’s first album, so I expect natural progression to take them further on their next release.
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