Guest From The Shadow Kingdom



Aria are a heavy metal band from Russia, forming in 1985, releasing their debut album the same year. In a career spanning thirty five years, Aria have released thirteen studio albums, eight live albums, more than fifteen compilations and a mammoth ten album box set, released in 2015.    
With such longevity, and an impressive back catalogue to rival some of the worldwide superstars of metal, superstars such as Iron Maiden, Helloween, Kreator, Metallica and even the mighty Slayer - Aria are megastars in their home country and Eastern Europe, yet virtually unknown to the rest of the world...until the release of their latest album, 2018's 'Curse Of The Seas', which brought the band the kind of worldwide recognition they should have enjoyed many years earlier. Riding the crest of the wave created by 'Curse Of The Seas', Aria performed their biggest show ever, in the arena of the VTB Ice Stadium in Moscow, in April 2019. This colossal show was filmed and recorded, and released as a "DVD plus double CD" set. The show features eighteen songs across two hours, a unique three level stage, high resolution nine metre high LED screens, a backdrop decorated with a large screen measuring six hundred square metres, and a unique flying system over the crowd especially designed for this show. 'Curse Of The Seas' is a big album and deserves a big show, and that is exactly what you get with this live performance DVD.    

Six songs feature from 'Curse Of The Seas', the rest are taken from the bands extensive back catalogue. The show opens in a blaze of pyrotechnics and flashing lights, with opening song 'Race For Glory' setting the arena alight. The atmosphere the band generate is electric, the crowd are going wild, and everyone is head banging and raising their fists high in the air. There are plenty of crowd shots throughout the DVD, and you can clearly see that everyone is singing along to every song, with the majority of the crowd also wearing Aria tee shirts... There's also a shot of a woman holding a young girl of about six, maybe seven years old! Surely that's gotta be one of the youngest concert goers ever! And when you see the age range of the audience, there is old, there is young and all the ages in between. But then, heavy metal music doesn't have an age limit, minimum or maximum, appealing to fans of all ages.    

The colossal stage set, the atmosphere the band generate, and the frenzied excitement of the crowd reminds me so much of the monumental shows Iron Maiden put on during their massive World Slavery tour of 1984 through to 1985. In fact, Aria may have actually put on a bigger show than those - with ever changing backdrops, a multitude of wardrobe changes by the bands singer Mikhail Zhitnyakov, and one of the highlights of the show, is Mikhail hoisted high in the air, suspended by wires, and flying across the crowd. And okay, okay, I know he isn't the first to have done this feat, but it's such a phenomenal sight to see, as he sings an entire song from his lofty position high above the crowd. Another highlight, hell the entire show is one massive highlight, is the title song from 'Curse Of The Seas', a gloriously epic twelve minutes of atmospheric and cinematic delivery, matching 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner' (from the aforementioned Iron Maiden tour of the mid eighties). A massive show like this takes a lot of planning, a lot of money, and a lot of rehearsing, as for one night only, the band has to get it right, and boy do they get it right... Aria deliver a fantastic performance, maintaining the crowds excitement from start to finish, and will also keep you excited too, as you watch the DVD, or listen to the audio CD.    
Overall, an exhilarating show by one of the worlds biggest metal bands, 'Guest From The Shadow Kingdom' is an amazing and exciting performance.    
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
Other Reviews    

Curse Of The Seas      
"a fantastic journey through melodic heavy metal and hard rock, 'Curse Of The Seas' is an infectious and catchy listen" Read Review