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    Історія творчості групи Арія



    - In the middle of the 80s an enormous number of domestic heavy metal bands came to stage. We could say it was the first wave of Russian Heavy

    Metal. What can you say about that time?
    - I just don't know ... I feel nostalgic about those years. Back then we had to constantly be on our toes - we always had some committees or administrators getting in our way. There was this wall that messed with our lives, but our lives were interesting. Right now the wall is gone, and it is not clear what to do next ... All people want nowadays is to make some money and retire ... Some still have their drive, their energy, but life gets more and more difficult. Apathy is everywhere ...

    From a 1992 interview with Valery Kipelov, Aria's vocalist [1]

    Now, in 1999, seven years, two full albums and several independentprojects later, Aria is still going strong, filling up the largest stadiumsand arenas, and selling out practically every concert.

    It all started back in 1984, when Vladimir Holstinin, a lead guitarplayer for a group called ALFA decided that he wanted to play somethingheavier and left the group in search of others who shared his views. Withthe help of Alexandr Granovsky, an old friend and a base player, and alucky meeting with Vladimir Vekshtein who agreed to become their manager, anew group was born. Finding a worthy vocalist was only a matter of time.
    It did not take too long, since the very first candidate won everybody'saffections. It was Valery Kipelov, a former vocalist for a band called
    Leisja Pesnja. With Aleksandr L'vov at the drums and Cyrill Pokrovsky atthe keyboards the fist album named "Megalomania" was recorded in 1985. Thegroup called themselves Aria, which bore a hidden challenge, since themusicians and the fans alike called themselves "arians" - a namedispleasing to the authorities at the time [2]. Despite such a name, thegroup never associated itself with nazi-type outlook on life.

    The communists did not even allow printing posters with the bands 'name, but despite the lack of publicity the first album was a hit. Itshowed the need for heavy metal in the Soviet Union, the unwillingness ofyoung men and women to follow communist propaganda, to listen to thepopular music they were presented with on the radio and TV. They werewilling to risk their futures and freedoms to live the life they wanted.
    The tension around Aria was growing, and it turned into a riot at the veryfirst concert of the band in February of '86, when 40 people ended up injail. But that was only the beginning. At the "Rock-Panorama" festivalsame year someone spilled water on the electrical equipment during theband's performance. The music had to stop for almost an hour, but no onefrom the audience left. Aria was named the winner of the festival, despitelousy sound and lack of special effects due to water damage. «Melodia» --the official recording studio in USSR - later released LPs recorded at thefestival - Aria's performance was not included on the LPs. Due to thatincident, the poets at that time refused to write lyrics for Aria,presuming that none of Aria's future songs would ever be recorded. Inspite of the future looking glum, the band continued touring and gettingenormous audiences everywhere it went.

    At the end of 1986 after recording the next album ( «Whom Are You
    With? ») Disagreements caused the band to split, leaving only Kipelov and
    Holstinin as members of Aria. Alex Granovsky led the others to create aband called Master, which focused on playing trash metal, while Ariacontinued to play the melodic heavy metal of their idol, Iron Maiden. Thealbum was named after one of the songs, but the name also signified thebreak, leaving the fans with a choice to make. [3]

    Despite the loss of the larger part of the band, its spirit was stillstrong. About half a year after the break, the "new" band released afantastic album "Hero of Asphalt". The words for this album were finallywritten by a professional poet, Margarita Pushkina, whose lyrics enhancedand empowered the band's music. The album is still considered one of theirbest, and the songs that comprised it are played at every concert. Unlikethe first two albums, this one was released on an LP rather than on tape.
    The communists finally recognized the band - and LP release was official.
    However, they renamed the album without ever consulting the band (theoriginal album name was same as one of the songs - "Serving Evil Forces")to make it "less offensive". Also, they chose not to pay the musicians adime.

    For two years after the release of "Hero of Asphalt" Aria was ontour, going from city to city in Russia, as well as the satellitecountries. However, when an invitation came in 1988 to go to the Capital
    Radio festival in London, the government informed the festival authoritiesthat the band did not perform live. They were clearly threatened by theeffect the band might have on the opinion of the West, as well as thesatellites, by going to an international music festival.

    Same year the first music video got filmed for the song "Street of
    Roses ". The filming caused chaos, since instead of having two or threehundred onlookers, about seven thousand people showed up for the filming;as a result the musicians were practically torn to pieces by the adoringfans that wanted to get close to their idols. The musicians and theadministrations learned a lesson in popularity, and the video took thenumber one spot in the rating.

    In the summer of the same year, Aria finally went abroad to Germany,where the musicians got an invitation to the "Days of the Wall" festival,where they surprised everybody with their music and won the sympathy of thepeople.

    Around the same time the band's manager, whose outstanding leadershiptook the band past all the barricades built by communists, suddenly lostinterest in the group. He told the band that their music was loosingpopularity, that they should try to give as many concerts as possible andretire. He insisted that there was no need to work on a new album. Thelack of productivity and the uncertainty of tomorrow took its toll; thedrummer, Maksim Udalov, left for a band called Zenitsa Oka. Aleksandr
    Manjakin took his place. In the fall the band was forced to retire itsmanager, since the musicians were not ready to give up what they have sohard worked for. Their next album titled "Playing with Fire" was releasedthe following spring. Margarita Pushkina became the official writer forthe band, Yury Fishkin became the manager.

    Another long tour followed, with visits to Germany, where the grouplost its guitar and base players to a local band. Their places were takenby Dmitry Gorbatikov and Andrey Bulkin. The tour continued, butprofessionally, the band was going nowhere. Fortunately, the two
    "Traitors" come back, just in time for their fifth anniversary shows in
    October of 1990.

    The next album "Blood for Blood" was released in the fall of 1991.
    The album had a new crisp sound, the band was experimenting with new typesof guitars, but their theme of Good vs. Evil continued [4]. However, Sintez
    Studios where the album was recorded was definitely not equipped to handlethe heavy guitar riffs or the drumbeat the band produced. The recordedversion sounded distorted, but the tour that followed the album releasemade up for that and once again crowds gathered in all parts of the countryto see their idols perform live.

    In 1993 Aria decided to create its own recording studio in order toavoid the problems they faced with their previous albums. In 1994 theysigned a contract with MOROZ Records - one of the largest recordingcompanies that produced for many of the artists that came out of the Sovietera. The studio released compilations entitled "Legends of Russian Rock"with digitally re-mastered sound for such monsters as Alisa, Akvarium,
    Kino, Krematorii and many others. Since then Moroz Records had re-releasedall five of Aria's earlier albums, and published all of their followingprojects.

    In 1994, after their fourth Germany tour, the band came to the brinkof extinction, when the vocalist abandoned Aria for Master several monthsbefore recording their next album. Sergei Mavrin (guitar) becamediscouraged and also left. Fortunately, Sergei Terent'ev, a very talentedguitar player who had just recorded his solo album at Aria Records offeredhis services. After several months of trying to record with Aleksei
    Bulgakov (vocalist from Legion), the band got Kipelov to record the vocalsfor the new album. It took a threat of pressing charges for breach ofcontract from the owner of Moroz Record to get Kipelov to come back [5].

    "Night is Shorter Than the Day" was released at the end of 1995. Thealbum was still Aria style, but the style seemed to be changing; inaddition to their usual crisp, angry, Good vs. Evil songs, there wereseveral mellow songs, more associated with rock than heavy metal. Opinionsabout the album split. Some called it the best to date, while othersattributed it to the death of metal [6].

    The tour following the release of "Night is Shorter Than the Day" wasin the best traditions of the 80's, loud and nerve-wrecking for localgovernments. This could be attributed to the new manager Sergei Zadora,who did a large advertising campaign for the tour. It is on that tour thatthe band celebrated its ten-year anniversary and released a live albumtitled "Made in Russia" as its gift to all the fans.

    In 1997 Moroz Records released the second of its "Legends of Russian
    Rock "series, with Aria being one of the six performers in that series.
    The compilation is a "best of" collection, with digitally re-mastered soundand a detailed band history booklet [7]. It also included the song "Give Me
    Your Hand "previously only released on the tape version of" Hero of
    Asphalt ", a song that was for marketing reasons excluded from the re -mastered CD version of the album re-released in 1994. The song expressedthe musicians 'feelings during the break in 1986 when Master was created.

    Also in 1997, the musicians decided to realize their differences inmusic without jeopardizing the band; they recorded individual projects.
    Valery Kipelov, along with his old friends Alex Granovsky, Sergei Mavrin,and Pavel Chinjakov recorded a pure hard rock compilation that is full ofpatriotic and cultural themes of Russia. At the same time Vitaly Dubinin,
    Vladimir Hosltinin, and Alexandr Manjakin recorded a "hits re-mixed" albumtitled "Accident", where old hits were given a new life when played in amellow soft-rock style. The album was somewhat comical, which wasreflected in the album title, and even in the caricature portrayal of themusicians on the cover. Nevertheless it was not to be taken lightly - ittook a lot of work, and it contained two new songs.

    In 1998 the band released another masterpiece for its fans. Thequality of their work was getting better and better, which was possible dueto fewer disagreements among the musicians and less shuffling between otherbands.and the old ones settling their ranks. One way or another "Generator of
    Evil "once again topped the charts and brought the band's fans together foryet another tour. The songs in this album still followed the Good vs. Eviltheme, but they were more down to earth, creating more realistic imagesthan those of Pontius Pilate as does "Blood for Blood", or Queen Zhanna of
    France as does "Street of Roses". The songs convey the messages that weretoo dangerous during the communist reign. Being a decade too late withtheir messages was the price they paid for freedom to perform for the pastfifteen years.
    In 1999 the first part of the long anticipated "best of" album wasreleased. It contained hits from 1985 to 1989 and brought new popularityfor old songs. The album was meant to be a taste of what the future holds,with the next album anticipated early in the year 2000. The times thatwere chosen to separate the "best of" album were meant to divide the musicinto pre-and post-communist periods.

    Aria is unique in many ways. No other band in Russia has known somuch popularity for so long, no band has been able to attract generationafter generation of fans for fifteen years [8]. Not too many bands duringsoviet time were able to perform their music so close to what they wantedit to be; almost none were known to be as much trouble for the governmentand were still kept around. Aria started out as "Russian Iron Maiden".
    Many still say they are. However, you will never hear Maiden address thethemes encountered in Aria's songs - love, loneliness, as well as the usualthemes in Heavy Metal - Good vs. Evil, tales of things from long ago, andmystical heroes. Very few bands outside USSR ever had cope with censorshipin music and lyrics in order to play. In Russian Rock, emphasis is placedon lyrics, people sing to express themselves, Aria expresses everythingthrough music, perhaps because lyrics were off limits for a long time.
    Very few bands went through so many changes and still stayed together.
    Aria is inherent to Russia - its 'success anywhere in the world is highlydoubtful.
    To address the extract from a 1992 interview with Valery Kipelov in thevery beginning, the future is not as dark as it seemed back then. A newgeneration of "arians" is born every year - and as long as the group existsthey will find all the motivation they may ever want in the eyes of afifteen-year-old coming to an Aria concert for the first time in his or herlife ...


    1. Who is Who in Soviet Rock, Alekseev, Aleksandr, "Ostankino", Moscow

    Back in the USSR, Troitsky, Artemy, "Omnibus Press", Great Britain, 1987 < p> 2. Legends of Russian Rock 2, "Moroz", Moscow 1997

    3. Moskovky Komsomolets newspaper, various issues 1990-1995

    4. FUZZ magazine, July 1998, April 1999
    Rock City magazine, 1991-1992
    Argumenty i Fakty Kuban ', 1996
    Muzykal'noe OBOZrenie, 1996
    Moja Gazeta, 1995

    5. Album inserts, Internet information, private accounts

    (conversations with fans).



    FALL 1999
    -----------------------< br>[1] "Rock City", Vol. 2, 1992
    [2] "Argumenti i Facty Kuban '", Vol. 10, 1996.
    [3] "Muzykal'noe OBOZrenie", April 19, 1996
    [4] "Rok Citi", vol. 2, 1992
    [5] "Moja Gazeta", May 4, 1995
    [6] "Muzykal'nyi Olimp" - quote found in Cyrill and Methodius knowlegdebase www.km.ru
    [7] "Legendy Russkogo Roka 2"
    [8] "FUZZ", April 1999

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