Aria (1985-present): a NWOBHM band from Russia.
eing one of Russia's most popular metal bands for over two decades, Aria formed while Russia was still the Soviet Union in 1985 and managed to outlive their former country by still going strong in the present. Due to their singing only in Russia they have met little notice or tour opportunities outside of their homeland, while musically their style is very similar to Iron Maiden, especially that act's mid period work, indeed almost cloning them, the exception being vocalist Valery Kipelov who is not a wailer like Dickinson. Their line-up that started their career was Alik Granovsky (bass), Kiril Pokrovsky (keyboards),Alexander Lvov (drums) and Vladimir Holstinin (guitar) debuting with their first album, Megalomania (1985), and Andrey Bolshakov taking over a new guitar slot and Pokrovsky laving the keyboard spot vacant for the follow-up Whom Are You With? (1986). Their line-up then remained remarkably stable for the following albums of Hero Of Asphalt (1987), Play With Fire (1989) and Blood For Blood (1991) with Vitaly Dubinin (bass), Maxim Udalov (drums) and Sergey Mavrin (guitar) before Marvin left to be replaced by Sergey Terentyev for Night Is Shorter Than Day (1995), Made In Russia (2-CD live; 1996), Russian rock Legends (1997) "best of..." compilation, Generator Of Evil (1998), Tribute To Harley-Davidson EP (1998), Best Songs (2-CD compilation; 1999) and 2000 And One Night (live; 2000).
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Kipelov then left before the release of the Grand Collection (2000) "best of..." compilation and Rig N' Roll (2001) before returning for Chimera (2001), The Calm (2002) and Searching For A New Sacrifice (2-CD live; 2003).
Baptism By Fire (2003) saw the first line-up in a while with Sergey Popov replacing Terentyev, and Maxim Udalov replacing Manyakin.
Over the years, several of the members of the band left to join Master (Russia), another Russian band that grew to prominence. The list of members included Andrey Bolshakov, Alik Granovsky, Kiril Pokrovsky and Igor Molchanov. Another interesting note was that during the publishing of the 1999 EP Tribuite To Harley-Davidson the act was directly sponsored (and maybe still) by Motorcycle Company Harley-Davidson. It was a rare move by a band to be directly sponsored by a private company, and occurred in a time in Russia when private sponsorship was all the rage after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the economy with it, to the point where the Russian space program was actually selling seats on space craft to wealthy people to take rides to the space stations; such activities would no doubt hurt the band internationally where such direct sponsorship is usually frowned on. Indeed, their 2001 release of Rig N' Roll was nothing more than a soundtrack they had recorded for a video game of the same name, a promotional activity that was in fairness not out of the norm.
In November 2002 a new line-up of Aria was announced. Sergey Popov from Master (Russia) became the second guitarist, Arthur Berkut (ex-Autograph) was invited to be the new vocalist, while Max Udalov (drums) returned to the band. December that year would see the single Coliseum followed by the album Baptism by Fire. Although the album and viudeo for Coliseum made it to 1 on the rock charts locally, though many fans criticized it, arguing that Berkut's voice did not fit Aria's music.
2006 would see the release of Armageddon.
On 3 April 2008, Kipelov and Mavrin had a brief re-union with Aria for the tour.
In 2011, Berkut announced his departure; he would be replaced by Mikhail Zhitnyakov (ex-Grand Courage). That same year Phoenix would arrive, with Through All Times following it up in 2014.
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