I enjoyed last year’s Dreamwars. This was a curiously individual release, blending emotive modern progressive/alternative metal with a dreamy strain of post-metal. It’s an album that is striking upon first listen, but properly unveils its charms upon subsequent spins. Imagine my surprise when I discover that the band have a new album coming out already.
There’s been some lineup changes for this new record it seems, including the introduction of a new singer. This is one of the reasons that, overall, Endesires features a wider sonic palette than Dreamwars. On their latest album the band have obviously spent considerable effort and care in the crafting of these new tracks, and this emphasis on strong and nuanced songwriting has mostly paid off.
The band continue to meld together aspects of modern/alternative metal with progressive/post-rock/metal. A djent influence can be heard here and there; enough to be noticeable, but not enough to be annoying. The band’s technical and atmospheric aspects are both wielded surgically, depending on the needs of the individual song. Arya are a band that are just as fully capable of rocking out as they are of producing thoughtful, soft ambient moments.
In my review of the band’s unconventional second album I said “If you imagine a band like Madder Mortem mixed with a bit of Periphery’s musical complexity, a splash of The Great Discord’s soulful metal, and a flavour of Midas Fall’s emotive post-rock, then that’s a start for sure.” This remains a good description, which is why I’ve reproduced it here, but it’s also true that overall this is an album that has more variety and scope than Dreamwars. The songs spread out over a wider distance, from complete ambient softness, to aggression metallic heaviness. Lots of ground is covered and explored on Endesires, and with a 58-minute running time the band have produced a lot of material.
The new singer’s vocals are clear and strong, and she does well to help pull the many disparate elements of the music together into one focused direction. Of course, the rest of the band have a hand in this too, but she provides a more than capable focal point of her own. She has a voice that shows not only ability, but also character and range.
The production of an album like this could so easily have ended up over-polished and on the sterile/plastic side, but this is not actually really the case with Endesires. Instead, the music is given the chance to breathe and exist with warmth.
Arya remain an unconventional band in many ways. Their songs, while relatable and not stand off-ish, are still atypical and unusually structured in some aspects of their delivery. This is one of the reasons that you need to spend some proper time with Arya’s work. On the first couple of listens although it’s obvious that Arya know what they’re doing, their music can seem slightly ‘off’ in places; it can take time for their style to fully gel with you. However, after repeated exposures it really does, and there are many rewards to be had as the structuring and flow becomes familiar to you and the atmospheric and emotive aspects of the songs really take control.
Endesires is the sound of a band continuing to experiment and push their sound. Arya are both stronger and more esoteric than ever. Spend some time with this band and get to know their secrets.