1. Prelude 2. This Night Has Opened My Eyes And I Will Never Sleep Again 3. My Genesis, My Judas 4. The Natural Evolution Toward Tragedy And Dissolution 5. A Gift Of Dead Flowers For My Dying Beauty 6. Crippled By The Weight Of Another Day 7. As If Forever Really Exists 8. Tragoedie2002 Tribunal Records
Upon reading Aria's song titles, "This night has opened my eyes and I will never sleep again" and "The natural evolution toward tragedy and dissolution," I expected to hear yet another nauseating emo-metal album void of any creative appeal to the seasoned metal and hardcore listener. While the listening experience that followed did not prove my expectations to be entirely off-key, specifically with regards to the occasional soft introduction and mellow interlude, Aria know how to pull off some surprisingly authentic and melodic heavy metal in the most chaotic sense of the word. Most of Paul Genet's vocals are delivered in a low, throaty scream, much like Dave Walker bestowed upon us on Harvest's "Living With A God Complex." The rest are conveyed either in a God Forbid-like yell or in growling monotone fashion which has obvious death metal implications; imagine 7 Angels 7 Plagues' Matt Mixon's vocals a couple of notches lower and much more drawn out. During breakdowns, these two styles are sometimes overlapped, an approach intended (and surprisingly succeeding) to induce mayhem. For the purists, there is no hint of singing on this record. While song structure is clearly important to this band seeing as each song has at least ten different components, there are few choruses and little repetition, putting all eyes on the components rather than the end result. Remembering Never can meet these requirementswith their eyes closed, but could Aria Not nearly as creative in their doing so, but with memorable Euro-metal riffs ("A gift of dead flowers, for my dying beauty" and "Crippled by the weight of another day"), precise blast beats, endless double-bass and many crunchy Chimaira-inspired breakdowns, valid reasons exists for this album to be checked out. The production is superb, having been recorded with Jaime King at The Basement in Rural Hall, NC. It truly brings out the subtleties that beg to be heard on this album with a final mix that sounds identical to Piecemeal's album on Wonderdrug Records. Many quality albums get swept under the rug due to their weak production value, but this will not happen in Aria's case, to their benefit. The music is left to speak for itself and it speaks well. Bottom Line: To call "As If Forever Really Exists" a metalcore album would be depriving it of the title it rightly deserves: A heavy metal album. The Euro-metal may be there to conceal a lack of originality, but these guys are so tight that I give credit where it's due. The chaotic reference I made early on implies more God Forbid than Converge, which only further solidifies their heavy metal association. Aria doesn't hide their weak elements behind a low instrumental and high vocal mix; they instead boldly lay all of their cards out on the table, a ballsy move for a heavy metal band attempting to rise up in a scene saturated with popular metalcore.
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