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Arenia - La voluntad de las estrellas - 92%

Edmund Sackbauer, April 9th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, Rock-CD Records

After having spent quite a lot of time catching up with death/black metal stuff it was time to discover what is new on the power metal front. Arenia are a talented band from Spain, consisting of four lads and one lady. Having been formed in 2009 they have released two EPs and three full lengths so far, of which “La voluntad de las estrellas” from 2019 has been their most recent one. The title seems to mean something like “the will of the stars”, so I would say this indicates a pure and glorious representative of the genre. Let’s dive into the music to find out if this turns out to be true.

Euphoric lead harmonies combined with crunchy yet not too heavy chops and a lot of memorable melodies is what is on offer here. The main chords are uplifting and hypnotic, sometimes even having a slightly melancholic touch. This mixture of dramatic moments and catchy pieces is something bands of this particular genre are known for, and Arenia are no exemption to this rule. Guitarist Eduardo has done a great job of presenting some subtle variations of the trademark riffs over the course of the record. Similar themes like the ones presented in prior songs are picked up again and woven into other tracks, giving the whole record a great and coherent flow.

Keyboards are used as well to create an extra portion of epic atmosphere. In some parts the musicians are allowed to show a bit of their technical abilities, but overall the songs are really catchy and easy to enjoy. Some of the solos are impressive, and while some elements like tempo or rhythm changes are used to keep a certain level of freshness, the music never gets too technical. The songwriting as such always stays in the main focus, with the band making sure to keep an eye on presenting competently written tracks.

The band members have a great feeling for creating songs wearing their hooks not so much on the surface, but often presenting subtle melodies that are going to stick with the listener after two or three spins. There are great technical parts as well, but thankfully they never get into the way of the respective song itself. The whole record flies by without a second of boredom, leaving the listener craving for more.

With Eduardo Arenia also got a talented vocalist among their ranks. His soaring voice fits the instrumentation like a glove, and he knows when to add some additional dramatic elements to his delivery and when to go a bit softer. There are some calmer pieces, serving as link between the more uplifting parts. The lyrics are kept in Spanish, so I cannot really speak about the topics covered here.

With an organic yet powerful and crystal clear production job this album is just a great listen from start to finish. The sound is not too synthetic, coming with enough punch and diversity. The cover is as cheesy as one might expect from that kind of music, but don’t get fooled: “La voluntad de las estrellas” is a beefy and rocking little gem.