Sound — 7
"Days Of Rising Doom" is an ambitious project by supergroup Aina. Metal Operas have been seen many times in the past, and this album was released shortly after the two-part "Metal Opera" of Tobias Sammet's Avantasia, which as a power metal album it is most comparable to. However, what sets this Metal Opera apart is the wealth of different musicians that contributed to this project. Avantasia pales in comparison to the number and the caliber of contributing musicians to this project. Here is a list (excluding vocalists which will be later listed): Robert Hunecke-Rizzo (Luca Turilli, Rhapsody Of Fire, Kamelot) - drums, guitar, & bass Michael "Miro" Rodenberg (Luca Turilli, Rhapsody Of Fire, Kamelot) - keyboards Olaf Reitmeier (Virgo) - Acoustic guitars on "Revelations" & "Serendipity" Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater) - Keyboard solo on "The Siege Of Aina" Jens Johansson (Stratovarius, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dio) - Keyboard solo on "Revelations" T.M. Stevens (Steve Vai, Tina Turner) - Bass on "Son Of Sorvahr" Axel Naschke (Gamma Ray)- Organ on "Son Of Sorvahr" Erno "Emppu" Vuorinen (Nightwish, Altaria) - Guitar solo on "Rebellion" Thomas Youngblood (Kamelot, Ian Parry) - Guitar solo on "Lalae Amr" Erik Norlander (Ayreon, Ambeon) - Keyboard solo on "Rebellion" "The Music For Aina" was composed by Robert Hunecke-Rizzo. The album has some genuinely brilliant moments and some that are painfully average: 01. "Aina Overture": This is a truly fantastic opening instrumental. Sweeping orchestration and exciting drum and guitar riffs combine in one epic overture that sets up high expectations for the rest of the album. 02. "Revelations": These expectations are not quite fulfilled by this song. The tempo slows down for a soft, clean guitar, which is fitting after the dramatic overture, however the repetitive exchanges between vocalist and boy's choir (yes, a boy's choir) endure for a long 2 minutes, becoming almost irritating eventually. The song speeds up, and instantly becomes far more listenable as the music takes on a progressive edge. This song also features a keyboard solo from Jens Johansson. This song is very much fixated on the storytelling, almost like a recitative from a real opera. 03. "Silver Maiden": Possibly my favourite track from the album. This song is slow, and with no guitars or drums. The music is blissfully soothing and mediaeval sounding with choirs and strings interweaving beautifully as a background for the opening narration and then the verses. Michael Kiske's voice shines on this track, it is pure in tone and simply a joy to listen to, and the lyrics are sublime. A fantastic song and a true highlight of the album. 04. "Flight Of Torek": This is the other contender for my favourite track. This song is full-blown power metal for the most part, and to suit this the Narrator is none other than Avantasia and Edguy mastermind Tobias Sammet, whose vocals on this track are of his usual great standard. The song is a thrilling listen with a great chorus. Later on, the song slows down as Torek finds that his love has been stolen by Talon, played by none other than Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath! The song then speeds up again as it links to the next track. 05. "Naschtok Is Born": This song moves away from power metal into straight-up heavy metal. This song is an enjoyable listen with some excellent guitar riffs throughout. 06. "The Beast Within": A return to power metal, this song is another good listen, but with nothing particularly impressive, it seems just a standard metal song. This song also features the first appearance of the highly irritating chanting of Torek's army, which reappears throughout the album. 07. "The Siege Of Aina": A thoroughly unmemorable song. Again, fairly good to listen to, but nothing particularly special. 08. "Talon's Last Hope": This only purpose of this song seems to be a showcase of Glenn Hughes as the instrumentation for the most part is limited to a painfully repetitive and boring drum beat, which really begins to grate after 6 minutes of relatively little musical change. 09. "Rape Of Oria": Similar to "Silver Maiden", this is a purely orchestral track, showcasing the voice of Candice Night. Although a pleasant listen, it lacks the sublime musicality of "Silver Maiden". 10. "Son Of Sorvahr": One of the few memorable tracks from the album, this is an straight-up rock song with organ grooves running right through it and a catchy chorus. 11. "Serendipity": Another peaceful song with Kiske's vocals stealing the limelight again. Another gentle, peaceful listen, however lacking that special something that "Silver Maiden" had. 12. "Lalae Amer": A rather uninteresting song, consisting of repeated, Eastern-sounding instrumental passages with an odd narration by Amanda Somerville in the fictitious language of Aina. 13. "Rebellion": Another average power metal song that although contains some good guitar riffs, lacks a mind-blowing chorus or some other element that makes a power metal song great. 14. "Oriana's Wrath": This track seems to be the intended epic climax of the album, however it seems too focused on the storytelling to be very musically enjoyable. Besides, any power metal song with a chorus beginning with a painfully stereotypical "today we ride..." is sure to be unmemorable. 15. "Restoration": This closing track brings together everything I found irritating about the album. The repetitive drum beat of "Talon's Last Hope", the dull exchanges between voice and choir of "Revelations" and the irritating chanting. However, the enchanting operatic voice in the fadeout redeems this track slightly.
Lyrics — 10
The story, written by Amanda Somerville can be heard on CD2 on the track "The Story Of Aina" and is actually a good story, for a Metal Opera. The lyrics to every song are also absolutely excellent, and are a refreshing change from some power metal lyrics which are annoyingly predictable (*ahem* Dragonforce *ahem*). The fantastic thing about this group is the wealth of vocal talent acquired for the album: Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath) - Talon Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween) - Narrator Andre Matos (ex-Shaaman, ex-Angra) - Tyran Candice Night (Blackmore's Night) - Oria Sass Jordan - Oriana Tobias Sammet (Edguy, Avantasia) - Narrator Marco Hietala (Nightwish, Tarot, Northern Kings) - Syrius Sebastian Thomson - The Storyteller Damian Wilson (Ayreon, Star One, Landmarq, ex-Threshold) - King Tactius Thomas Rettke (Heaven's Gate) - Torek (Sorvahr) Olaf Hayer (Luca Turilli) - Baktk Cinzia Rizzo (Luca Turilli, Rhapsody, Kamelot) - Opera Voice and Background Vocals Rannveig Sif Sigurdardoffir (Kamelot) - Opera Voice Simone Simons (Epica) - Mezzo-Soprano Voice Oliver Hartmann (At Vance) and Herbie Langhans (Luca Turilli, Seventh Avenue) - The Prophets The Trinity School Boys Choir as the Angelic Ainae Choir The vocals throughout are excellent, particularly from Kiske.
Overall Impression — 7
It is a genuine shame as although the vocals, lyrics and story are excellent, they cannot change the fact that it is music, not literature, and therefore the music must be fantastic also. Although the album has genuinely fantastic moments, they fail to elevate the album to become a truly great power metal album, such as Avantasia's "Metal Operas" or Rhapsody's "Symphony Of Enchanted Lands". The whole album can be listened to and enjoyed, and I cannot deny I enjoyed every song on this album (except "Talon's Last Hope" and "Lalae Amer"), however I simply have never felt the desire to listen to it all the way through again as I have done many times with other Metal Operas. So, sadly, I must rate this album as average.