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Aria – Blood For Blood


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The year is 1991, there are a lot of things going on in Eastern Europe; the communism is falling down, the countries are splitting up peacefully (USSR, Czechoslovakia), uniting (West and East Germany) or bursting down with war (Yugoslavia). As you see, those were very shaky and uncertain times. In that atmosphere of impending collapse and social bunt, it is time for Aria to release their fifth studio album, Blood For Blood. Luckily, the surrounding didn't affect one bit on Aria, as this is a great follow-up to their 1989's masterpiece Play with Fire. This is one typical heavy metal album with standard song concept: you have several speedy numbers, epic masterpieces and an obligatory ballad. Nothing innovative or new, but it works, and I think that's the only thing that matters in the end. I'd rather have one stereotypical but awesome album, rather than ruthlessly progressive piece of shit. Most of true metalheads would probably agree with me. So Aria compensated lack of uniqueness with pure quality. I must admit, I still think that Play with Fire is slightly better than Blood for Blood, but Aria have improved in many things that would probably make a lot of listeners satisfied. First of all, the production. Although this isn't by any means the best production you could get in 1991 (miles away from The Black Album level), it is way better than any previous Aria's album. Since they recorded all of their albums in their own studio, you have to give them credits for keeping up with the technology's progress. Then there's the band's performance. All of them, except for the drummer Manyakin, are playing some of the best performances in their career. Just listen to powerful and versatile vocals, courtesy of Valeriy Kipelov and intriguing and intelligent bass playing of Vitaliy Dubinin. Amazing. Guitar duo Holstinin/Mavrin is in top shape as well, with some godly solos (the incredible title track). Too bad that this is Mavrin last album with Aria, he later started his solo career and got replaced in Aria with very good Sergey Terentyev. The last, but probably the most important, the originality. Even though Play with Fire was a mind-blowing album, there was present very obvious influence of Maiden in riffs and Priest in solos. I would be a liar if I told you that this is 100% Maiden-free album, but Aria is beginning to develop their own style, and this album solidified their status as Russian metal legends. The best song on here is the mighty title track, which is an instant masterpiece. Unusual, well-thought, epic, you name a commendation. The lyrics tell a story about Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator who condemned Jesus Christ to death, and they are really pro-Christian. Other than lyrics, the music is amazing as well, my favourite part being the mesmerizing, spine-chilling acoustic solo, it is beyond brilliant. This song is a must-hear. Other highlights are eerie Antichrist (which is lyrically the exact opposite of Blood for Blood, almost satanic), excellent speedy closer Follow Me, great ballad All That Was and the crushing opener Farewell, Norfolk. I must say that I wasn't into Farewell, Norfolk at all until I read the lyrics, after that everything just clicked. I thought that the song went nowhere with the second part of chorus, but the lyrics proved me wrong, and now it's one of my favourite songs on this album. The only weaker songs are Zombie and Demons. They aren't dreadful fillers, just not on par with the rest. This album was a critical and crucial task for Aria to release. Their whole career depended on this album, because if Blood for Blood had been bad and unsuccessful, Aria would probably become one of the countless bands who occupied the scene in the 80s, but died out when the musical winds changed. Not only that Aria persisted all the troubles and obstacles, nowadays they are one of the best and most respected bands in Eastern Europe and have the status of legends. This album was one of the most important factors in creating that status, so if you're discovering metal from Eastern Europe, you mustn't skip Blood For Blood, Its highly recommended. Track listing: 1. Farewell Norfolk 2. Zombie 3. Antichrist 4. If You Dont Want- Dont Believe Me 5. Blood For Blood 6. Demons 7. All That Have Been 8. Follow Me

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