Like many Latin American countries, Mexico is known for its enthusiastic audience and some interesting metal acts. The significance and the musical qualities of Marcela Bovio (to name just one) are probably beyond question anyway. So dealing with metal from Mexico makes perfect sense. This is where the band Aryem, who will release their second studio album „The Bird’s Assembly“ on October 8th, comes in.
Aryem was founded in 2012 by composer and bassist Diego Heero Maaginen. The line-up includes Karen M-Dozza on lead vocals, Javier Díaz on guitars and Luis A. Echegollen on drums. Their style can be assigned to symphonic metal without doubt; musical comparisons with influential representatives of the genre like Epica or Xandria are not far away. The debut album „Dangerous Paradise“ was released in 2020, and the band gained the attention of media and followers alike, and was skyrocketed in the metal scene of the country, including an online performance with Jinjer.
It also should be mentioned that singer Karen M-Dozza had a two-year vocal training, has sung cover versions of bands like Nightwish and Epica and has worked as a vocalist of a tribute band to symphonic metal. No, this 27-year-old lady is really not a blank sheet of paper, as can also be heard from „The Bird’s Assembly“. In my opinion, it may be called a concept album; the title was inspired by the Persian poem „The Conference of the Birds“ by Attar of Nishapur.
The album offers 11 songs including a short, tension building overture. „Awakened“ then immediately shows the direction the listener can adjust to in the further course, namely melodic, solidly written and arranged symphonic metal with its characteristic elements.
„Come to Me“ can be called a ballad, although the song reminds me a little of Xandria’s „Save My Life“. Unfortunately, Karen’s beautiful voice sounds a bit thin here and there, but there is no doubt that the lady can sing. The a cappella ending sounds great, I’ve probably listened to it a dozen times in a row. Speaking of great: „Forbidden Love“ has been released as a single some days ago. This catchy up-tempo song is my personal peak of the album. Karen shows her vocal range in an impressive way, and the double bass drums ensure a lot of speed alert. A few breaks and tempo changes provide enough variety, but the album doesn’t lack that anyway.
„You Are Insane“ is also one of my faves. The song is about clinical anxiety and depression, so no stuff that is easy to deal with. „It’s the musical representation of those feelings, and what it’s really like to have an anxiety and/or depression attack“, the band declares. The emotional vocal duel between Karen and Javier fits the topic, and is also well crafted. The song reminds me of ReVamp’s „The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: Neurasthenia“, which Floor Jansen sang in a duet with Devin Townsend in 2013. Back then, it also was evidently about dealing with psychological problems that Floor once had to struggle with.
„You Are Insane“ is in spite of its aggressiveness a melodious song that went straight into my ears. In any case, it’s one of the album’s figureheads, which I highly recommend. The ballad „My Love“ with its beautiful piano arrangements and Karen’s fragile appearing voice is also worth listening to. The end of the song convinces with its gentle timpani and keyboard sounds. Definitely a song with depth and wonderful lyrics („And now, I’ll sing my part. Fading slowly in the dark.“). I can recommend the martial „Scepters of War“, as well as the brisk and massively arranged „Reborn“. I also fell in love with the fast-paced „Just One Night“ and its catchy riffs.
The atmospheric finisher „La Asamblea De Las Aves” („The Bird’s Assembly”) is a worthy end to the long player. This 15-minutes giant consists of 5 parts and is musically nicely detailed and staged with dense orchestration, some oriental sounds and beautiful arrangements. In the genre of symphonic metal, finishers with extra length are not uncommon, but this work certainly doesn’t need to fear a comparison with similar works by established bands. This song alone makes the album worth listening to, especially the last part, that truly gave me goosebumps („The gateway has been opened, and there is neither traveller nor guide. Only one who has been reborn.“).
Summarized, all musicians understand their craft, whereby the excellent drumming work struck me as particularly positive. If I can recognize any weakness at all, it is Karen’s voice, which sounds a bit thin in places. But that could also be due to the mastering, maybe her voice should actually be catapulted a little more into the foreground. Everyone should form their own judgement, but it’s really not that bad, rather complaining at a high level. What sticks is definitely a convincing album with solid song material and a rich sound. The few small weaknesses can be fixed, I’m not worried about that at all.
Release Date: October 8, 2021
01. Hoopoe (Overture)
03. You Are Insane
04. Come To Me
05. Forbidden Love
06. My Love
08. Just One Night
09. Broken Scepters Of War
11. La Asamblea de las Aves
Pt. I – Digital Nesting
Pt. 2 – The Bird’s Assembly
Pt. 3 – The Desert
Pt. 4 – The Seven Valleys
Pt. 5 – The Simourgh