So hey y’all, I’m really digging this band ARION and their sophomore effort Life Is Not Beautiful (out now, AFM Records). Some people will label them Symphonic Metal, others might lean towards more of a Power Metal direction. Me, I think they fit perfectly in either genre, but at the same time they pack a serious punch. Heavy guitars go hand in hand with majestic keyboards while drums and bass provide the glue that holds many of these tracks together. This is evident right away with opener “No One Stands In My Way”, and album standout “At the Break of Dawn” featuring a duet with Elize Ryd from AMARANTHE. She is incredible as a performer, and here she totally shines.
Guitar-wise, this record has all the good stuff courtesy of Iivo Kaipainen hitting the mark on tunes like “The Last Sacrifice” and “Unforgivable”, while “Punish You” is the album’s heaviest track. On the other side of that coin, “Through Your Falling Tears” is an exceptional ballad and one of the album’s best cuts. Vocalist Lassi Vääränen really conveys some serious emotion on this song. Title track “Life Is Not Beautiful” is pure Heavy Metal greatness from start to finish, the band firing on all cylinders while shouting the hook from the mountaintops. Truer words were never said as far as I’m concerned.
“Last One Falls” closes out the album proper on a quieter note before we’re treated to a triumvirate of re-recorded songs from the band’s 2013 debut Last of Us, starting with the title track. Next up is “Seven”, a Power Metal fan’s dream, followed by all-out asskicker “I Am the Storm.” Once again this sees the band going to town riff-wise and on the hooks. Plus you’ve got the best guitar solo on the whole disc right here! Hey, at the end of the day I really knew nothing about ARION before I decided to press PLAY on this album. But I’m sure glad I did. If you’re looking for a killer Symphonic Power Metal release then look no further than Life Is Not Beautiful.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “At the Break of Dawn”, “Through Your Falling Tears”, “The Last Sacrifice”, “Life Is Not Beautiful”