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KiaRa – Archangel Award winner

by Thomas Kumke at 14 November 2022, 12:34 AM

KIARA is the project of IMPERIAL AGE vocalist Anna “KiaRa” Moiseeva. It was formed in 2019. The Russian symphonic Metal outfit, which includes elements of symphonic Black Metal and modern Metal, released their debut album in 2020 and followed-up with a live album one year later. “Archangel” was recorded and mixed by Ruslan Maslennikov at Mindcrusher Labs Studio. It has an impressive length of 65 minutes and is an independent release.

The album starts with a dark symphonic intro, which transitions into a powerful and heavy mid-tempo track. “God Of War” introduces sound elements of different genres: the grim blackened sound by the guitars and orchestra, the operatic vocals of Anna Moiseeva, the Death Metal blast-beats as well as a growling vocal support. The song structure is complex with a lot of changes in pace and rhythm. The vocals are likewise versatile, ranging from Rock-oriented to the soprano vocals. “God Of War” is a dark and strong opening song. “By The Grace Of The Lord” is more of a traditional symphonic Metal song with clean song textures, a good mixture of guitars, bass, drums and orchestral arrangements, and the overarching vocals which lead the line. The melodic framework sounds a bit more optimistic, but with some gloominess at its core. The orchestra is dominated by the piano, which introduces the leading melody, and the brass.

Жена Князя” is the first of three songs of Anna Moiseeva’s native language Russian. It is a slow song at a measured tempo and the melodies are grim and melancholic with powerful guitar riffing. Despite all the doom and gloom, the melodies have still a certain catchiness. “Requiem For The Immortality” is another blackened song driven forward by heavy guitar riffing and a dark orchestral sound. Anna Moiseeva has again growling vocal support as well as spoken word support. The melodic framework is well composed and there is an equal contribution between the guitars and the orchestra. After the instrumental “Black Sun”, which is driven by the piano and the strings, “Nostalgia” is a ballad where the melodies are led by the piano, the strings, and the vocals. Anna Moiseeva’s shows her enormous vocal range, her power, and her ability to transport emotions. It is mainly a song by the orchestra, but it includes a very contributing lead guitar solo. “Nostalgia” is one of the album highlights with a very impressive vocal performance.

Hope” is a mid-tempo song and one of those with catchy melodies provided by the piano and a powerful guitar riffing as the background. Besides the piano, the vocals are the focal point of the track, and the vocal lines go with the melodies. “Hope” has a simple verse/chorus/break song structure with another contributing lead guitar solo. In terms of the mood, “Hope” is probably the most optimistic song on the album. “Last Goodbye” starts with a string driven part, where the vocals join in shortly afterwards. Guitar riffing, bass lines, drumming, and piano do not join the track before the first verse/chorus sequence is completed. The break opens with the orchestra, followed by a short lead guitar solo. The song is a bit slower than mid-tempo, and especially after the break, the song gets more and more voluminous with all the instruments contributing and the vocals being again the overarching element. “Last Goodbye” is the official video release, and the YouTube link is given below.

Heart Of Life” starts with the guitars joined by the vocals, where Anna Moiseeva mainly uses deeper notes. It is a song at a measured tempo and the main feature is that as the song goes on, more and more instruments join in. The guitar riffing and the piano melody drive the track forward, guided by the vocals. Highlight of the track is another fine lead guitar solo. “We Are The Stardust” starts with synthesizers and powerful guitar riffing with a few RAMMSTEIN inspirations. The heaviness of the track fades off slightly with the introduction of the piano. It is a mid-tempo song with relatively little orchestral contribution. Anna Moiseeva uses her Rock voice with a lot of versatility, ranging from deeper to higher pitched notes. The title song has a playful start of the instruments, before it transitions into the traditional verse/chorus structure. The melodies are, opposite to most of the songs, very positive and almost joyful with orchestra, Metal instruments, and vocals equally contributing to the finale of the album. The remaining five songs are bonus tracks. “We Are The Stardust” and “Archangel” come with Russian vocals, while “God Of War”, “By The Grace Of The Lord”, and “Archangel” are orchestral versions.

Archangel” is a very good modern symphonic Metal album. It draws its inspirations from symphonic Metal, symphonic Death Metal, and symphonic Black Metal. The melodic framework is grim with only very few exceptions. The album has a good mixture between Metal instruments and orchestral contribution, with the vocals guiding excellently through the songs. The vocals are clearly the highlight of the album, Anna Moiseeva’s vocal range, her power, and her capability to keep the music together and to lead from the front is very impressive. The compositions are highly sophisticated showing a mature songwriting. The album is very well produced. “Archangel” is an album for the collection of symphonic Metal fans who also love darkness and gloom.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. God Of War
2. By The Grace Of The Lord
3. Жена Князя
4. Requiem For The Immortality
5. Black Sun
6. Nostalgia
7. Hope
8. Last Goodbye
9. Heart Of Life
10. We Are The Stardust
11. Archangel
12. Мы - Звездная Пыль
13. Архангел
14. By The Grace Of The Lord (Orchestral Version)
15. God Of War (Orchestral Version)
16. Archangel (Orchestral Version)
Anna “KiaRa” Moiseeva – Vocals
Pavel Vredes – Guitars
Max Talion – Drums
Dimitry Basanov – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 03 December 2022

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