The 7-headed, 14-legged creation that is Aonia comprises a dual-wield of ‘sopranos with balls’ as vocalists, along with shredding twin axes, symphonic keys and driving drums and bass – for fans of operatic metal, power metal, progressive metal and NWOBHM. Aonia’s tsunami of sound is a blend of the very old and the very new – a tempered steel in a velvet glove.
Aonia released their second EP, ‘Sunchaser’, on July 25th, 2014. The addition of a second operatically trained vocalist and full, orchestrated, more technical keyboards give more depth and create an intricate tapestry of sound and the band is excited to capture the magic produced live in CD form. In addition, Simon ‘Gimli’ Cliffe’s decades of expertise with mixing and recording have given the EP an arresting and unique sound, full of bombast and drama.
Pagan Hel Reviews has this to say about ‘Sunchaser’: “The rhythms are punchy and bold and pursue an invigorating encounter with plenty of potently addictive hooks and sumptuous keyboard melodies. The vocals are completed to a high precision assault and very diverse, thrusting out a deep elegance and go all out to tempt and fuel the tracks with resounding urgency!”
Building on their successes as 2012 Bloodstock Metal to the Masses finalists, Aonia are currently gigging regularly, securing support slots at more well-known venues and in more high profile festivals. For example, the band has played ‘Metal Rites Festival’ ‘Martin Walkyier’s Viking Funeral’ ‘Whitby Goth Weekend’ and ‘Warhorns Winter Festival’. The band provided main support at Dovestock and headlined the Fringe stage of the Doncaster Live Festival. Most recently, they supported Canadian power metallers and Bloodstock veterans Kobra and the Lotus at the Corporation in Sheffield.
Rising phoenix-like from the ashes of the band ‘Cathexis’, Aonia was formed by drummer Tony Gaskell and vocalist Melissa Adams in 2010. The first step was a name change, forced by an American ‘Cathexis’ being signed. Tony had ‘a book full of interesting words’ and so ‘Aonia’ was chosen for its meaning – loosely, ‘where the muses dwell’. A serene image to be sure – juxtaposed against driving riffs and thundering drums.
James (guitar) joined soon after. Gary (bass) joined the band in January of 2012 and Przemek ‘Slick’ Druzkowski (guitar) joined in February of 2013, after clocking up years of experience in signed bands in Poland. In mid-April of 2013 the band decided to add a second vocalist, Joanne Robinson – another operatically trained colorartura soprano – to the line-up, to further differentiate themselves from the rest of the metal world. And then there were seven: in May of 2013, Tim ‘The Machine’ Hall, with 20 years of gigging experience, joined on keyboards, giving the band a fuller, more epic sound. With seven musicians, the scope has further widened to construct complex compositions and intricate tapestries of sound.
The band has had numerous successes, appearing in Metalhammer magazine, Terrorizer magazine, Alternative Female Voice magazine, Dominator Magazine and Bitchslap Alternative Fanzine. Aonia has been band of the month for Valkyrian Music, The Moshville Times and Alternative Voice, as well as band of the day for Lizard King Music and Ginger Squirrel Music. They have also reached #9 on John’s Rock Show on Birmingham City Radio.
In December 2011, Aonia released its debut EP ‘City of Shadows’ to critical acclaim. They quickly followed this success with the filming of their debut video ‘Gift of the Curse’, which was released in March, 2012.
Aonia has been lucky enough to share the stage with some amazing bands, including The Shiver, Skyclad, Warrior Soul, Northern Oak, Skarlett Riot, Kobra and the Lotus, Ravenage and Stormborn.
Aonia has been compared to artists like Therion, Avantasia, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Epica, ReVamp, After Forever, Leaves Eyes, Delain and Tarja.