|The Aerium - Song For The Dead King
01. Song For The Dead King
03. Queen Of Snows
04. Treasure Hunter
08. On The Pier
When a musical genre becomes trendy, new bands that play this genre face two different directions. Some of them will shamelessly copy and rip-off better bands, and gather a few lost fans from the most successful. These bands are bound to return to dust as soon as the public interest fades away. That's what happened with 90% of death metal bands at the beginning of the 90's, that's what happened with 99% of nu metal bands at the end of the previous century and the beginning of this one, and that's what's happening at the moment with female-fronted symphonic metal bands. At the beginning were good and honest bands, but then came success, and a swarm of horrible opportunist bands suddenly popped in from everywhere in the world. Luckily, some bands are still created for the sake of music, and they manage to keep their honesty, at least at the beginning. Luckily, The Aerium seems to belong to this second category.
Even if this young Russian band turns up a bit late - 'Song For The Dead King' is their first album - they sound fresh and uncorrupted. There is one thing I want to make clear from the beginning: The Aerium is not another Nightwish wannabe, they don't sound at all like Nightwish. If I really have to make a comparison, I can say it sounds a bit like After Forever. I know what you're going to say: it's not original at all, a lot of bands have played symphonic gothic metal before, so why should we even give a damn about The Aerium? Many possible answers to that. First, Veronika, the singer, has a wonderful operatic voice, that can remind sometimes of Sandra Schleret (Dreams Of Sanity). Anyway, these vocals annihilate nearly everything that's been done before. I'm still amazed.
Then, the music, besides being purely gothic and not heavy/power, has a doomy side that makes it quite interesting. The atmospheres of this album are greatly rendered by the sometimes all too present keyboards. This album is sometimes more symphonic than metal ('Wanderer'), as if the heavy guitars were here only to support the other aspects of the music. Unlike all these shit bands that use the keyboards to hide a real lack of creativity - or a lack of talent, in this album the keyboards play an important part. Another good point is that the songs are catchy without being really commercial. I mean that you mostly don't find here the irritating stereotypical poppish choruses. This is catchy like metal can be.
Of course, this is a first album, so there are some flaws: The fact that the guitars are underproduced bothers me a bit at times, for example on the song 'Sentinel', a fast and heavy song that should have received a more metal sound. Also, The Aerium has not avoided the classical ballad ('Treasure Hunter') that sounds like any ballad played by sympho band. Then, there's the cretinous cover with the usual dragon (and an ugly one). It looks quite cliché to me, but I've never liked dragons. Finally, this album becomes quite boring after a few listenings, except the first two songs.
I've always wondered how come shamefully uninspired bands (I won't give names) could meet such commercial success. Now people, if you want to make a good action, drop that kind of miserable bands, and give a try to bands that really have a personality, like The Aerium. I think this is the kind of band we could hear of in the following years.
Highlights: Song For The Dead King, Prayer, Sentinel