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Aria – Night Is Shorter Than Day


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Many things happened to Aria after the release of their very successful Blood for Blood album in 1991. Due to serious crisis in Russia in early 90s, Aria didn't play nearly as much concerts as they did before, and the vocalist Valeriy Kipelov for the financial purposes started playing with Russian thrash act Master. This forced other Aria members to find another vocalist; first they tried with Alexey Nelidov and later with Legions frontman Alexey Bulgakov, with whom they recorded a demo that contained several new songs. After that the guitarist Sergey Mavrin left the band, claiming that the band isn't the same without Kipelov. He was replaced with Sergey Terentyev. Eventually, after many peripetias, Kipelov returned and stayed in Aria and they recorded Aria's sixth full-length album, Night Is Shorter Than Day. I believe that all these big turbulences in band caused that this album did not turn out to be a masterpiece such as Play with Fire or the predecessor Blood for Blood, as Aria's members struggled hard to keep the band active and obviously writing of new songs wasn't the main issue at that point. But first things first. Night Is Shorter Than Day is an album that deserves serious amount of listenings to be fully understood. Why? Because after first few listens, one might dismiss this album as Maiden-clone and average hard 'n' heavy fare. This is partly true, since the influence of Maiden's Fear of the Dark is plain obvious in some songs, especially in the opening riffs and melodies. The comparisons are: Slavery of Illusions to Childhood's End, Paranoia to Afraid to Shoot Strangers, Angel Dust to Wasting Love, Beast to The Apparition. As you see, there are quite a few songs that have some parts that are undoubtedly pure Maiden, and this is one significant flaw of this record – for a band that's been accused by malicious persons to be Maiden copycat, this album (seemingly) did nothing to prove them wrong. Yes, the Maiden touch is obvious, but, if you pay closer attention, you'll see that in most of the cases Aria's songs apart from intro riffs actually have nothing in common with the aforementioned Maiden songs and album. Aria used generic Maidenesque melodies to create and develop their own style and story, and guess what, almost all of that song proved out to be way better than the Maiden ones. At this point of their career, Aria finally began developing their own unique style of heavy metal, even though you probably wouldn't notice it at first. With that in mind, I'll say that Slavery of Illusions is an unusual and unconventional opener that heavily relies on melody rather than on speed and aggression. It is probably the most mellow opening song on an Aria album ever, but it sets the mood for the rest perfectly. Paranoia is a very good melodic track as well, while Angel Dust is an amazing ballad, way better than humdrum Wasting Love, with great emotional Kipelov's singing and great solo. This song later became the staple of Aria's live shows, the crowd just adores it. Beast, on the other hand, is just Aria's interpretation of The Apparition, and while still being better than that song, it won't get any points for originality or uniqueness from me. Now, the rest. Most of that songs are in hard 'n' heavy fashion, with the exceptions being the skip able ballad Take My Heart and the mighty epic title track. Among many great things Aria shares with Maiden, one of the best things is the ability to write mind-blowing epic tracks. This one is incredible as well, it starts with majestic symphonic melodies that later develop in a stunning, triumphant, poignant epic heavy metal classic. How they manage to write songs with son much win is beyond me. Interesting fact about this song: the lyrics are very similar to immortal Maiden's classic Hallowed Be Thy Name, as they tell a story about a prisoner who spends his final hours in a cell, waiting for the dawn to be executed. Total Maiden homage, these lyrics are. Almost forgot to say few words about the rest of the songs, they are solid tracks, with some strong '80s hard 'n' heavy flavour, but unfortunately, none of that songs is a brilliant or on par with the title track, Angel Dust or Slavery of Illusions. Leave and Don't Return is passable, Spirit of War is probably the most generic song Aria have ever written, both musically and lyrically, and King of the Road is very good, very catchy and very enjoyable, but it lacks something. Anyway, it's a rocking tune, and you'll probably love it, it is definitely right behind the awesome trio on this album. All in all, Aria kinda disappointed me with this album, as I expected another ass-kicking masterpiece in the vein of Blood for Blood. But, I strongly suggest, don't fall into the trap and ditch Night Is Shorter Than Day as a Maiden clone without originality, because that would be dead wrong. Starting with this album, Aria irreversibly left Maiden style for good, and started making their own recognisable legacy. This is the reason why in the end Night Is Shorter Than Day isn't a failure, but more like a solid (not awesome) transitional effort for Aria. This experimentation phase would culminate on their great 1998's masterpiece Generator of Evil, but that's another story. Track listing: 1. Slavery Of Illusions 2. Paranoia 3. Angel Dust 4. Go Away And Dont Return 5. Road King 6. Take My Heart 7. Beast 8. Spirit Of War 9. Night Is Shorter Than Day

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