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Arion - Life is not Beautiful

Life is not Beautiful
by Kevin Burke at 03 December 2018, 4:08 AM

“Life Is Not Beautiful” is the pessimistic title to the second long-player by Finland’s ARION, this is the long awaited follow-up to the 2014 acclaimed “Last Of Us”.  In that space of time they have acquired a new vocalist in Lassi Vääränen who has quickly become part of the band, on the physical copies of the album ARION have re-recorded three tracks from “Last Of Us”, giving them an updated feel and tagging them on to the end of the album as bonus tracks as a sign of the wealth of a new singer and a new era.

The sound of epic-metal is defined and executed with style, “The End Of The Fall” opens the album, acoustics, string sections and a choral uplift, leading directly into the magnificent “No One Stands In My Way”.  A rich melody-heavy wall of sound develops, slight effects on the vocals give it that extra-slice of urgency, upon the first listen ARION become highly-addictive. The production is first-rate, for a band with this much scope it is crucial that all the elements are in place and breakthrough the mix, the drumming of Topias Kupiainen has to be highly commended, he nails it perfectly working as the engine driving this juggernaut forward.

A duet on “At The Break Of Dawn”, defies romantic notions as they are totally out the window here, this is a break neck ballad, as both Lassi Vääränen and guest vocalist Elize Ryd compliment each others style perfectly, the further you reached within the concept of “Life Is Not Beautiful”, the more you get drawn in by that rich, melodic-driven sound. “Unforgivable” pulses and swings with all the intensity of a band on a mission, the impressive vocals of Vääränen bring the song to life under a kaleidoscope of synthesizers, whereas “Punish You” is a more straightforward guitar and drum affair, hard-pumping showing the versatility of the band as a unit.

The title track “Life Is Not Beautiful” is the standout, a combination of everything that makes this band a force to reckon with, again the drum attack is superb, the guitars chug along with fierce power, the use of synth avoids falling too far into that commercial zone, adding texture rather than foundation to the track. Closing with a complete turning of pace in “Last One Falls”, a reflective piece of piano-work, with soft vocals which you expect to take flight at any moment, but doesn’t.  This comes as a surprise, especially with expectations of a deafening, epic halt to the album, that said  it is a fine track if catching you a little unaware.

“Life Is Not Beautiful” is a solid show of work by ARION, with hopes that the lineup has settled and if so this album acts as a marker for what is to come.

Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. The End of the Fall
2. No One Stands in My Way
3. At the Break of Dawn
4. The Last Sacrifice
5. Through Your Falling Tears
6. Unforgivable
7. Punish You
8. Life is Not Beautiful
9. The Last One Falls
10. Last of Us (2018 Version)
11. Seven (2018 Version)
12. I Am the Storm (2018 Version)
Lassi Vääränen – Vocals
Iivo Kaipainen – Guitars
Gege Velinov – Bass
Arttu Vauhkonen – Keyboards
Topias Kupiainen – Drums
Record Label: AFM Records


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