Dewsbury is, to be fair, not the sort of place I would usually find myself on a Sunday evening (or at any other time), but nevertheless that’s exactly where I found myself for a night of metal put on by Gothestro Radio in the company of local band The Chasing Dark and Bloodstock Metal to the Masses finalists Aonia.
The Old Turk is a typical old fashioned rock pub, and it was a nice surprise to see a decent crowd in attendance. Say what you want about big venues, but it’s often these little places where the best of times are had.
Aonia are a band I first heard about when they were announced as finalists for the annual Bloodstock Metal to the Masses competition, and on the basis of tonight’s performance if they win M2TM (which they should) and you’re going to Bloodstock (which you should) then they should be on your “to check out” list.
Now operatic vocals on heavy metal are nothing new, but to hear them delivered with the sheer range and quality that vocalist Mel manages was something of a surprise. “Operatic” can be used to cover a multitude of things metal-vocalist wise but there’s no denying it’s an apt label here.
Of course having the voice is only part of the story, Mel also has an impressive stage presence and the whole band put enough power and passion into the performance to fill an arena, never mind a small-ish pub.
Aonia clearly have a knack for writing proper melodic metal songs, and although Mel’s voice is undoubtedly the aural focal point of their sound it never totally overshadows the rest of the band, with some killer solos, infectious riffs and neat little bass runs continually bubbling to the fore.
Nightwish comparisons are inevitable, but I for one certainly don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. In fact for bands in this genre it’s about the highest compliment that can be paid.
Extra bonus point for the brilliant cover of Tenacious D’s Tribute too. Not entirely what you may expect from a symphonic metal band though Oh, and their Fear Of The Dark was pretty damn good too
Aonia are a band that are all set to step up to a bigger stage, there’s just so much going on here. If you’re a fan of melodic metal and amazing vocals then they are something that you need to check out.
And you can start by getting along to the M2TM final at the Roundhouse in Birmingham.