Having just been completely won over by a triumphant set on the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock Festival 2018, I now get the pleasure to look back at one of the previous releases from symphonic metal power house, Aonia, starting with the 2017 release of the single, Violet Hours.
Aonia will surely go down as one of Bloodstock Festivals, New Blood, greatest success stories. One of those moments in time where you saw a band completely come in to their own, wowing a crowd and winning hundreds of dedicated new fans. In years to come you are likely to see Aonia on bigger stages, higher up on bills but for a small number, you will always be able to say that you were there at what should surely be a turning point in the band’s ascending career.
GBHBL were lucky enough to grab a few minutes with the band at Bloodstock so check out that interview below –
Aonia come from the North Midlands/South Yorkshire area of the UK and stand seven members strong. Wielding two female sopranos in Melissa and Joanne Robinson, Aonia have real firepower and passion on the vocal front. On guitars we have Przemek Druzkowski (Slick) and James offering a mix of punchy rifffs, catchy hooks and soaring solos, as well as backing vocals from James. The drum rhythms are pounded out by David Byrne and the important symphonic elements are added by the melodic skills of Tim Hall (The Machine) on the keyboard. Last but by no means least, laying a powerful grooving foundation that makes everything else tick is Matt Black on the bass guitar.
Released in November, 2017, Violet Hours is a real showcase of all that is good, not just in Aonia, but in symphonic metal. The 6 minute long song leans very heavily on the powerful, beautiful and sorrowful singing skills of charismatic frontwomen, Jo and Mel. Their ability to harmonise their vocals perfectly in both timing and pitch is mesmerising. Listening to them drop the power down for a gentler intro is a treat for the ears. As the song progresses and both release their full force, it becomes an adrenaline rush for the soul. The great thing about Aonia is that as well as the special vocal talent they have in the band, there is so much more on offer. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.
The gloriously catchy intro riff on Violet Hours, with just the right amount of symphonic backing, is impossible not to headbang to. The drums are slow and steady but have a bit of meat to them. They are helped tremendously by the strength and thump of the bass. There is a sumptuous melodic guitar and delicate keyboard melody adding a solid layer for Jo and Mel to lean upon during the verses. The song is split nicely down the middle by an insanely catchy guitar solo that moves through a few different phases and speeds. It is one of those soaring solos that really make you want to grab for the guitar and learn how to play it. At least dust off the air guitar.
The solo leads back into the crunching, fist pumping riff from the intro, again with a strong bass and keyboard line. The vocals come back in for another powerful harmonic section which fades gently as the song nears its close. It ends with softly sung, almost melancholy vocals closing a passionately impressive song.
While symphonic metal is not always to everyone’s taste, only a fool would listen to Aonia and not be awestruck by the vast array of talent they have in the band. I do like symphonic metal and I love this track. It brings back warm and fuzzy memories of listening to old school Nightwish. Tracks from the likes of Angels Fall First and Oceanborn. The singing is immense, the musicianship, equally so. What really stands out though is how it all gels together so well. Violet Hours is a rocking track packed full of power and passion and one I urge everyone to check this out. If, of course, you haven’t already.
You can grab a copy of Violet Hours and their previous EP called Sunchaser at all the usual streaming services, like Apple Music and Spotify. You can also pick up digital or physical copies of the single and EP, as well as some really neat merch at the band’s website, here. Finally find out more about Aonia, and keep up to date with releases by checking out their website, Facebook and Twitter.
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Violet Hours by Aonia (Self Released)
The Final Score - 9/10