It’s hard to believe, but “The seven” is actually the debut album from Aonia. The band have released EPs in the past (“Sunchaser” and “City of shadows”), dating back to 2011 and 2014, but until now have not released a full length album. It’s certainly a big year for them – not only are they releasing their debut album, but they played Bloodstock festival for the first time (where they went down well with both fans and reviewers) and put on their own 10 band mini-festival in Sheffield to act as an album launch party (Aoniafest II – which was a fantastic day).
With seven members Aonia isn’t your typical band. Knowing they feature operatic vocals some might think they’re just another symphonic metal band but while they do have similarities to bands like Nightwish or Epica they are more progressive metal and also differ in having two female operatic singers. Most bands featuring female operatic vocals have a single female vocalist and a male to do the growls, so the two female vocalists here add an extra dimension to the sound. Having the two female vocalists works really well – there’s stuff that just wouldn’t work with a single female vocalist, and it also helps differentiate them from other bands. It’s not just great vocals on the album – the whole band do an excellent job and the overall sound has plenty of power, yet in songs such as “If you dare” they show they can do a gentler sound when the song calls for it.
It’s been well produced – they’ve done things right in that respect and in getting quality album artwork produced too. The artwork may seem like a trivial detail but when you’ve got a cheap and nasty looking album cover then people will assume the album was low-budget – first impressions count. The production really is excellent and that is where an album can be made or broken – get it right and you make sure the finished result has power where it’s needed and there’s a nice clear clean sound which is what you get here.
Having heard some of the songs here played live at the album launch show, I can say that the songs sound great both live and on the album
This is an excellent debut album that’s well worth a listen.
1. Sold my soul
2. Violet hours
3. Wake up, Lucretia!
4. Still, I rise
5. Sirens lament
6. Eye of the storm
8. At the masquerade
9. If you dare
10. Hyde and seek