ROW Magazine

    By: Alexander Garrett
    Grade: 85%

I had just finished LOTR again when I got this Digipack release sent to me from Swedish label Waerloga Records. Normally when they send me stuff I really like what I hear. This time was no different. After listening to the first few cues I realized this CD is a film! Aardia creates an inner film in the listeners' mind and spark the imagination, a quality sadly lacking in many real films that are out there nowadays!

Conquest of The Ancient Halls leads you on a musical voyage that got all the elements any fan of the fantasy genre would like. First I thought the music felt a bit shallow but when listening to the CD again and again it get better and better. The mix and master is made by a pro, Simon Kolle, and the artwork is a feast for your eyes, really lush and gives a dark glimpse into the fantasy world of the album. Aardia paint you enough picture to get the feel for the music, but then allow you to leave the rest to your imagination.

There are some great cues here like Awakening, The Conquest and Legion of Darkness. Angel of Misfortune is the only cue I don't like all that much. The Prophecy is making me think of Vangelis and his work on 1492 which is great of course.

The music many times comes full circle, complete with crescendo, climax and often a resolution. At times the bass arpeggiation is a bit simple but drums are handled with great care. The beats are very LOTR at times but never in a bad way.

Many cues are driven by piano and Aardia work a lot with chord progressions that are really good. The sound of the strings are at times not the best which is sad. Other than the strings the sound of the instruments are good and with the help of the mix the instruments are woven together in a none classical way but more modern, which I like.

I cannot wait to listen to the next album of this interesting group. I think Aardia is here to stay.