KNAC Magazine KNAC ON-AIR TALENT KNAC Downloads KNAC Contests KNAC Store

ARIA Guest From The Shadow Kingdom

By Daniel Höhr, European Correspondent
Thursday, October 3, 2019 @ 11:06 AM

- advertisement -
Guest from the Shadow Kingdom
(Live DVD + 2CD)
M2BA, 2019

Russian metal veterans ARIA have played many a large-scale show since the band was founded in Moscow well over three decades ago. Legends in their home country, the five-piece have gained little more than underground status in the Western world, which is partly due to the fact that the band never really bothered to gain a following outside Russia and other countries in Eastern Europe. Another reason is probably that the band‘s lyrics are in Russian and not as widely understood as if they were in English. On the other hand, the Russian language definitely gives ARIA‘s songs an exotic feel and adds to the experiece of the music, even if you don‘t understand much.

However, after the release of the band‘s 13th full-length studio album, Proklyatiye Morey (Curse of the Seas, produced by Roy Z) in 2018, ARIA finally hit the review sections of Western media. Also thanks to the hard work put into the promotion of the album in the West (kudos to Trond Nicolaisen!), the album received more than just favourable reviews from metal outlets around the world. ARIA themselves demonstrated their legendary live qualities at the Keep It True festival in Germany earlier this year and more recently at the Pyrenean Warriors Open Air in France.

Now ARIA have released a live DVD (including two audio CDs) of a colossal show they played at the VTB Ice Statium in Moscow, Russia on 30 April this year. As I said above, the band has played many a huge show in the last 30+ years but Guest From The Shadow Kingdom is a larger-than-live effort. The stage has three levels, a special device lets the musicians sort of float over the audience, there are huge high-resolution LED screens and the scenery, which keeps changing during the show, is dictated by the seafaring theme of the last album Curse of the Seas. In their two-hour set, singer Mikhail Zhitnyakov, guitarists Vladimir Holstinin and Sergey Popov, bassist Vitaly Dubinin and drummer Maxim Udalov fill this enormous space with their music, which ever so often seems to be too large for this world: elaborate melodic heavy metal with a frequent dash of prog elements, an occasional dose of folk and overall undeniable Russianness – and that not just because of the lyrics but also because of the melodies. With 13 full length albums under their belt, decisions concering the set list can‘t have been easy and sacrifices had to be made of course, but on this DVD ARIA take us on an adventurous voyage through all periods of their history. Amongst the 18 songs on Guest From The Shadow Kingdom, there is definitely something for everybody: highlights from the new album as well as classics such as “Hero of Asphalt“, the gloomy “Antichrist“ and “Night Is Shorter Than Day“. Three ballades occupy the middle section of the set: the heart-wrenching “Point of No Return“, “So Be It“ from the new album and the folky “The Calm“ from the 2001 album Chimera. And, of course, the ultimate classics “Torero“ and “Street of Roses“ come at the end. With changing sceneries to match and to illustrate the themes of the songs and the musicians changing their outfits accordingly, the visual representation on the music becomes quite dramatic and is both exciting and fun to watch. The camera work is excellent, capturing musicians and fans alike and throwing the viewer right into the crowd. Check out the live video for "Curse Of The Seas" on KNAC.COM HERE.

Sonically and musically, Guest From The Shadow Kingdom is a feast as well. ARIA are seasoned musicians, each and every band member plays his distinctive role in the band and, thanks to the mighty but well-balanced and crystal clear sound, cuts nicely through the mix and can always be heard. I have indeed come across live productions by major bands with a much inferior sound. Vitaly Dubinin‘s pumping bass locks in perfectly with Maxim Udalov‘s elaborate drumming, and the axemen Sergej Popov and Vladimir Holstinin leave no doubt that they actually are among the best guitar duos in heavy metal, always serving the songs, always in harmony with each other and with the rhythm section, always supporting and complementing singer Mikhail Zhitnyakov, who is always spot-on and performs with passion and utmost expression.

Of ARIA‘s live DVDs in my collection – having been a fan of the band since 1990, there are quite a few – Guest From The Shadow Kingdom is hands down the best one. The show is simply stunning, the musical performance masterful, the audio brilliant. This is definitely ARIA at their very best but also one of the best and most opulent heavy metal shows I have ever seen. Guest From The Shadow Kingdom is musically and visually impressive and if you think you‘ve seen and heard it all, this release will leave you stunned and breathless.

5.0 Out Of 5.0

Guest From The Shadow Kingdom can be ordered through the band‘s webshop ARIASHOP

Please log in to view RANTS

If you don't have a username, click here to create an account!




 Recent Reviews
DEATH DEALER Conquered Lands
ARMORED SAINT Punching The Sky
ARMORED SAINT Album Release Party Livestream
LAMB OF GOD Double Livestream Review
LEAVES' EYES The Last Viking
RAVEN Metal City
In Memory: A Fellow Guitarist Remembers The Impact Of EDDIE VAN HALEN
NECROPHOBIC Dawn of The Damned
DEVILDRIVER Dealing With Demons I
CARACH ANGREN Frankensteina Strataemontanus
FINNTROLL Vredesvävd
SIX FEET UNDER Nightmares Of The Decomposed
INCANTATION Sect Of Vile Divinities
CJSS Praise The Loud Reissue
ALICE IN CHAINS Tribute Dirt Redux
NAPALM DEATH Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism
PHIL LEWIS In Houston, TX With Photos!
SKELETAL REMAINS The Entombment Of Chaos
DEAD LORD Surrender


©2020 KNAC.COM. All Rights Reserved.    Link to us    Advertise with us    Privacy policy
 Latest News