REVIEW: AONIA – “City of Shadows”
Posted by Metal Divas
Hailing from the East Midlands of England, Aonia formed in 2010 and have had quite a few line-up changes until they established a solid cast in the beginning of 2012. Taking their name from a place near Helicon mountain where the muses dwell, Aonia released their debut six track EP entitled “City of Shadows” more than a year ago – at the end of 2011.
This is definitely one of the most honest reviews I have ever written and it’s coming from the heart with every good intention to positively help the band improve their craft, rather than me trying to negatively criticize somebody’s blood, sweat and tears. It’s not in my nature to be rude to artists and therefore I try to put things in prospective before I say anything, but being truthful at the same time.
That being said, “City of Shadows” is an admirable first effort but it lacks a lot of essential features to be something worth noticing. Unfortunately the songs have no real structure and it’s really hard to tell which direction the band is following. It sounds more like two bands fighting each other, on top of a soprano singer. Aonia must decide if they are going to play symphonic, gothic, thrash or power metal because it’s not easy to house all of them under one roof and furthermore have a soprano sing on top of that!
Melissa has a nice voice but she needs to work hard with a vocal coach, if she wants to stand out one day. Her performance has a few shining moments but it’s mostly weak throughout the recording and at times even flat. At this moment in time she doesn’t have the rich, powerful, Wagnerian kind of voice that the band is trying to portray. Still though, it’s a matter of guidance and practice to be exceptional with time.
Aside of Melissa, the band also has a few issues. Timing is important and sadly sometimes the drums are skipping beats but I can’t tell if it’s the drummer or the editing engineer! Also the guitar seems to stay behind in parts during “Liberate Mei” and other songs. Something just doesn’t sound right. The guitar solos are decent but have nothing to offer to the songs and the bass is just plain but well played. Also, I could do without the keyboards. They sound more of a distraction than anything at all.
I can’t find any information about the recordings of the EP, but I can tell you that it could sound a lot better. The guitar for example sounds like it’s been recorded through a computer plug-in and the bass drum is very thin and punchy, missing almost all of the low-end. Perhaps a mixing issue to avoid cluttering with the bass but nevertheless it could have been done better. I understand this is a self-financed album and so I must give the guys credit for what they have accomplished.
Hopefully this review will encourage the band to really pay attention and consider working on their compositions a lot more, to make them strong and memorable. Right now they are missing the energy and “the hook”. I found myself distracted many times while listening to “City Of Shadows“. As a result I had to play the songs over and over again just to be absolute certain I am being 100% objective. As a conclusion, Aonia should take the time to grow and bond as a unit thus bettering their songs while working towards their next release.
RATING: 4.5 / 10
“City of Shadows” – Track list:
01. City Of Shadows
02. Down the Rabbit Hole
03. Gift Of The Curse
04. Liberate Mei
05. Prophecy of the Fallen Kingdom
06. The Song
Melissa – Vocals
Joanne – Vocals
James – Guitar
Slick – Guitar
Gary – Bass
Tim – Keyboards
Tony – Drums