Ardarith – Home

8/10

Ardarith is the brainchild of German composer and multi-instrumentalist Max Pfaffinger and his special brand of progressive metal is very well suited to adopt the Rockopera format. Coming from a somewhat different background musicwise (the hardcore band Q.E.D), Mr Pfaffinger started Ardarith as a reaction to the terrible war in Syria with 100 000’s of innocent people had to flee for their lives, leaving everything behind. That lead him to the burning question at hand: what is it like to be a refugee of war, what does it encompass other than physically being separated from the home you once knew?

It is nearly impossible to write this review without at least mentioning Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Ayreon as the two projects share so many similar trademarks. But do not get me wrong, Ardarith is by no means a cheap Ayreon knock-off and especially lyrically they’re worlds apart.

Without going into detail, “Home” centers around one single individual but is divided into different aspects of that person’s phyche. So Rob Lundgren (Reveal) does the “Me”-part, Alina Lesnik (Once) carries the task of singing the role of “Hope”, Daniel de Jongh (Textures) is “Despair”, Swedish powerhouse Liv Jagrell (Liv Sin, ex-Sister Sin) tackles the part of “Guilt”, Alexander Göns (Dante) is “Memory” and last but not least we’re treated to Menna Youssef’s beautiful voice as “Mother”.

Laying the foundation for the singers is a stellar cast of utterly competent musicians like Marco Schuler (Shift Inc) on guitars, Daniel Unzner (Dislocated Theory) on bass, Maxx Hertweck (Aeneas) wields the drumsticks and formidably so while Ben Eifert (Aeneas) tickles the ivories and also taking care of arrangements. The listener is also treated to audio delight courtesy of Lisa Hellmich (Haggard) on violin and Rowan Hamwood on flute. And when we add the tremendous production from Markus Maichel, masterfully mastered by Maor Appelbaum and sonically this metal opera is tasty treat indeed.

So far, so good then. But how about the songs then, you might ask?! Well, “Home” was one of those records that I needed to listen repeatedly for it to really engage and lock in with me. The heavy riffs and intricate playing got me going from first spin like the intense “The Key” that has some cool Shadow Gallery-like riffage and features some great vocals from Liv Sin. Album closer, the progressive epic 10 minute “Disclosure” quickly became my favourite song on the album and here Jagrell and Lundgren really shines with some incredible vocal performances.

I really like that this a very vocally oriented record and I’m quite certain that it will grow on me even more as time passes. While not being an instant classic, “Home” is a very good, solid album that should be of interest for everyone that likes bands like Threshold, Ayreon and Symphony X but also heavier stuff like Trivium’s more progressive material. Can’t wait to see to which musical heights Mr Pfaffinger will rise to with his next album.

Highly recommended!

Artist: Ardarith
Title: Home
Rating: 8/10
Label: Independent release
Release date: September 9th 2022
Standout tracks: Enter The Void, The Key, Disclosure

www.ardarith.com ardarith_official

 

 

 

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Ardarith – Home

November 7, 2022

"Home" is a very good, solid album that should be of interest for everyone that likes bands like Threshold, Ayreon and Symphony X"

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