And now for something... completely different! Aonia is the place in Greek mythology where the muses dwell. While this image sounds serene, Aonia's music is anything but: the band dual-wields operatically trained soprano vocalists and this, along with intricate, symphonic keys; a double-edged axe of growling guitars; booming, jazz-inspired basslines and thunderous drumming comprise the 7-headed, 14-legged beast that is Aonia.
"Sunchaser" remembers the NWOBHM roots of the band's first EP Release ("City of Shadows") while dipping its toe further into the waters of the progressive and power metal subgenres. A preview of the album can be found here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f_YyzsJpgc&feature=youtu.be
Aonia is starting to be climb the ladder of the heavy metal scene, supporting touring acts such as Canadian power metallers and Bloodstock veterans Kobra and the Lotus. Most recently, the band has been booked to play the acclaimed ‘Dames of Darkness’ festival in Wolverhampton 9-10 May 2015. Aonia has also organised its own all-day festival, Aoniafest, in association with Feralworld Music and will be supporting the legendary Blaze Bayley. Furthermore, Aonia has booked their first show outside of England – supporting the melodic Alwaid in Belgium in July.
On 25/7/14, Aonia released their second EP, 'Sunchaser', on July 25th, 2014 to critical acclaim –among other praise, most notably, the EP has been nominated for the TBFM ‘Best EP of 2014’ award.
Aonia has changed much in its five years, solidifying their lineup in 2013 with the addition of a second operatic vocalist to the line-up - Jo - to further differentiate the band from other female-fronted bands and to add more complex and interesting melodies. Mel is extremely excited to have a co-vocalist and remarks, "Adding (co-vocalist) Jo to the band has given the music a whole new depth and life and I’m so excited by it. We’ve sung together for years – classically – so we’re really comfortable with each other. Having the opportunities for harmonies and contrasts really adds something special to the music. (Guitarist) James has taken on a more prominent role with backing vocals as well, so having the tenor to balance against keeps the vocals and the music cohesive." Jo and Mel aren't one-trick ponies though - and their styles swing from angelically operatic to powerfully rock.
Furthermore, the addition of Przemek ('Slick') on guitar has added another dimension. In addition to being able to shred like a cheese grater strapped to a chainsaw, his experience in signed progressive metal bands (Hypnos, Liquid Shadow) has further germinated the prog-metal seed within the band and has given James ('Carrot') opportunities for hellacious harmonies and colossal counter-melodies. As for Carrot, his melodies will remain lodged firmly in your brain until you attempt to remove them with a pickaxe. As Slick says, 'Muses fly over that boy's house.'
Also, Tim 'The Machine' Hall has joined the band on keyboards. With hands faster than a card shark in the Old West, Tim has decades of experience performing and recording - in everything from blues bands to a Spinal Tap tribute to a Beautiful South tribute. His keys range from symphonic to visceral and add many vibrant colours to the tapestries of music in the 'Sunchaser' release.
Bassist Gary's progressive and jazz influences can be heard as well - not content to simply follow root chords, Gary's bassline is a constant surprise, spiralling into different dimensions and gluing Tony's drums to the rest of the instruments like 'No More Nails'.
Finally, drummer Tony - what can we say about him? Well, it's best from his own mouth! "My style when creating a drum track for a song is always to play something that suits the song, rather than to show off, so you will detect a range of dynamics within my playing. I have a strong stage persona and love interactions with the audience. I had already made my mark in show-business at the age of two, as I was raised by wolves in Outer Mongolia and then transported to the UK to be put on show at a circus. Caught in a time loop that lasted 15 million years, I finally escaped in 1990 to take up the drums, knowing that eventually Aonia would take over the world in a ‘Bill and Ted’ way. In fact, it was this knowledge that allowed me to pitch the idea for Bill and Ted, but it was stolen by Hollywood executives. I am ambivalent about this; as at least the story is now out there. I am also incapable of writing anything without mixing in half-truths and lies in such a way as to make it almost impossible to discern which is which, but at least you know to watch out for them."
Aonia is a must-listen for fans of Therion, Avantasia, Nightwish, Evanescence, Within Temptation, Epica, ReVamp, Xandria, Iron Maiden, Helloween and Judas Priest.