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Arion > Last of Us > Reviews
Arion - Last of Us

Better than any Sonata Arctica after 2008 - 80%

Maeguk, October 23rd, 2017
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Avalon (Japan)

The other day I thought I try to find the OST of Naughty Dogs highly acclaimed game The Last of Us. First try was on Spotify and while I didn’t find the soundtrack the first hit was this album. For me they were an absolute unknown band and since I got intrigued by the album title (also misread the band name for Ayreon, or let’s say didn’t care to read the name properly) I pressed play. And man, what a surprise I got.

The opening intro bursts with symphonic energy, it’s done majesticaly. Nowadays, with the accessability of several high quality orchestral sound libraries it is not so difficult to write one but to write a good one requires skills and tons of inspiration. This album does not ooze with it as massively as f.e. Twilight Force’s Heroes album but it is on a very satisfactory level. During listening a handful of other band names popped up in my head which sort of resemble to this quintet’s work: Symphony X, Kamelot, new era Stratovarius, new era Sonata. The album is however by no means a copy, the guys didn’t reuse any existing material instead they blended their inspiration into something new.

All intruments are professionally handled, especially the solos of Iivo Kaipainen are extremely delicious, it’s a joy to listen to his fingers running up and down the guitar neck. The vocalist Viljam Holopainen (I hold no knowledge whether he’s acquainted to Nightwish’s or Amorphis’ Holopainen, probably not) has a super powerful throat with wide ranged although he wanders to sky-high regions only occasionally. The band tried to enter the Eurovision contest back in 2013 and from the youtube videos it is seen that even though they are sure of their instruments and are well prepared, the stage is a foreign and yet to be conquered place for them. Especially for singer Viljam who didn’t know what to do during instrumental sections, and btw looked like Justin Beaver himself. For reasons unknown (to me) he parted ways with the band in 2015.

The band got assistance from Jani Liimatainen on the lyrics front, and also the brother of drummer Topias, Matias Kupiainen of Stratovarius handled the recording duties. There is no doubt there was a little supportive tailwind from all these superb musicians, thus it’s a no marvel that the album kicks major asses. It’s a pleasure to listen to it in one piece beginning to end. Though the entertainment level slightly decreases by the end of the record for my taste, I would have appreaciated bigger melodies residing there. The highlights in my view are the slower songs: You’re My Melody with an enormously catchy chorus, and Last of Us which carries a gigantic pathos.

Symphonic power metal, nothing new there, the genre has existed for decades. The number of contestants is huge, it’s hard to set foot in such a crowded territory, especially to deliver something which peaks out of the general mass. However, without a single doubt Arion managed to establish themselves as a fresh, inspired and energetic band, exactly what Sonata could have not told about themselves for many-many years.