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Ignore any criticism, this album rules! - 90%

cyberscreen, June 19th, 2010

I have been a fan of Aria for quite some time now, and listened to all their releases before this one a ton of times, and all were solid, if not great, heavy metal albums that still manage to entertain me after many listens. An accomplishment not many bands have achieved, staying so true to their melodic heavy metal roots but still changing their sound slightly across the way with each album, without EVER losing the songwriting. This album wasn't received too well, but I was pretty convinced that Aria with Kipelov couldn't do any wrong. When I finally checked it out, that turned out to be the truth. This is yet another great album by Aria, despite what anyone else may say. In fact, I'd even rate it as the third best Aria album with Kipelov (I haven't heard anything from the Berkut era as of now). I'm honestly amazed how these guys made so many classic albums in a row as if it's nothing.

The title track opens the album, and like the previous reviewer said, this is an instant classic. As soon as I hit up my car for a ride and turn up this song, I can't help but push the gas pedal like hell. A very speedy opener with lots of melodies, riffs and some amazing soloing, courtesy of Holstinin and Terentyev. Their guitar playing is just awesome and really, the guitar tone does rule here. Perfectly in the mix, loud 'n proud, just what I crave. Another big highlight here is Burning Arrow, with its amazing intro riff and some really good vocals by Valery Kipelov, who has the perfect voice for this kind of music. His vocals combined with the majestic guitar riffs and melodies really give an atmosphere that's not often seen in heavy metal. It's majestic, but at the same time it's also very moody and emotional.

There's also a lot of variation on this album, and yet, I can't stress this enough, the songwriting never suffers a bit. A good example of this is Vampire. It starts off in a very calm way, with a very gloomy melody, which continues in the verses that are sung beautifully by Kipelov. Then, there's even a flute solo section, which is just beautiful and fits the song perfectly. This is a great song, but I guess it's not for the people who only want their metal fast and aggressive. But I love it and I don't give a shit what anyone else says.

There are several rather epic songs on here as well. The last three songs, and possibly also I Haven't Gone Insane, if just for the chorus. The most well known song from this album is Calm, which starts as a ballad and then turns into something pretty epic as well. Another winner, and certainly not the only one on here! In fact, there is not a single song here that can be described as weak. It's all good.

To conclude this review, I just have to say that this is a really underrated album. The classic Aria formula is completely at work here: Epic songs, beautiful melodies, awesome riffs, amazing vocals and the ability to write a good song. If you're hesitating to check out this album because of negative opinions, put aside all of your doubts and get this album!! As usual with an Aria album, it takes just a bit getting into, but after that it all unfurls into a great experience. Highly recommended especially to those who like their metal melodic and classic, and of course to any fan of Aria who hasn't heard it yet.