Biography of Aria
Aria is a domestic heavy metal band, the flagship of this genre in the USSR. Many well-known musicians went through the crucible of the collective, subsequently launching their own projects or joining existing ones: Kipelov, Master, Mavrin, Arteria, Artur Berkut.
History of creation
The founders of “Aria” have been going to this project for a long time, simultaneously engaging in musical activities with other groups. Vladimir Kholstinin and Vitaly Dubinin met while studying at the university. MPEI students founded their own rock group “Magic Twilight”, where they invited Artur Berkut as a soloist. But in 1982, Dubinin, absorbed in his studies, left Twilight, followed by Berkut, who accepted an invitation from the Autograph group. “Magic Twilight” ceased to exist. Kholstinin began playing the guitar in the Alfa group, where he met bassist Alik Granovsky. It is these two musicians who are considered the founders of Aria.
In the photo: Vladimir Kholstinin and Vitaly Dubinin
The beginning of the 80s was overshadowed by the struggle of the authorities with “illegal” musical groups. To avoid problems, the musicians had to look for work in the “approved” VIA. So fate brought together Dubinin, Granovsky, Kholstinin, as well as a member of the collapsed VIA Leysya Song (it is curious that Nikolai Rastorguev started his career there) Valery Kipelov in the Singing Hearts ensemble. Viktor Vekshtein, director of Singing Hearts, wanted to create a team that would better meet the needs of the time. He looked through many aspiring artists, giving them the opportunity to express themselves, allowing them to show their individuality.
The first composition of “Aria”: Molchanov, Bolshakov, Pokrovsky, Granovsky, Kholstinin, Kipelov
Although the future members of the Aria were formally assigned to the Singing Hearts, since 1985 the musicians have been working on an alternative direction, recording songs in the new heavy metal style for the USSR. The name was invented by choosing from favorite words that are easy to pronounce and remember. We needed brevity and sonority without any subtext. Granovsky and Kholstinin supplemented the line-up with colleagues, closing the gaps in each of the positions: Igor Molchanov sat down at the drums, and then retrained as a sound engineer, Kirill Pokrovsky was responsible for keyboards and backing vocals, and Valery Kipelov established himself as a soloist. Vekshtein became the artistic director of the group.
The main stages of creativity
The end of October 1985 – the final formation of the group and the final recording of the debut album “Megalomania”. This was the start of the history of “Aria”. Unusual sound quickly attracted attention to the team. They began to be invited to festivals and group concerts: the musicians performed at Rock Panorama-86 and Lituanika-86. The team also expanded: the help of a second guitarist was needed, which became Andrey Bolshakov. In this composition, the musicians recorded the next disc “Who are you with?” (1986).
Members of the Aria group in their youth (1987)
However, soon, due to a conflict with Vekshtein, all the musicians left Aria, except for Kipelov and Kholstinin (who left, they founded their own group, Master). Also, Alexander Elin, who wrote the lyrics, stopped cooperation. But the desire to participate in the project was expressed by Dubinin, who has not parted with the team since then – since 1987 he plays bass, sings along and writes music for Aria. Also at this time, drummer Maxim Udalov and Sergey Mavrin, a talented self-taught man who mastered the guitar and keyboards without special education, joined the group.
Mavrin took part in the recording of three albums, which, according to fans, represent the golden period of Aria: Asphalt Hero, Playing with Fire and Blood for Blood.
In 1988, the third album “Hero of Asphalt” was released. Firm “Melody” released more than a million copies of the disc. The lyrics in the album were written by journalist and poetess Margarita Pushkina.
During this period, the group begins to tour a lot, gaining a fan base. He went on a tour of the USSR, as well as an outdoor performance in Berlin at the Days of the Wall festival in 1988. At this time, Vekshtein was replaced by Yuri Fishkin: under his leadership, the following albums “Playing with Fire” (1990), released with a circulation of 850 thousand records, and “Blood for Blood” (1991) were recorded. After the departure of Vekshtein, Udalov also left Aria; Alexander Manyakin became the new drummer.
In the photo: Alexander Manyakin
Shortly after the release of the album “Blood for Blood”, the USSR collapsed. This could not affect the circulation – only 40 thousand copies were sold in Russia. It was not possible to earn a living with music in the homeland; Mavrin and Dubinin signed a contract with the German group “Lion Heart” and went abroad, Kipelov got a job as a watchman, Kholstinin began to taxi.
In November 1994, the band seemed to be getting out of the dark: they signed a contract with the independent rock label Moroz Records and went on a tour of Germany. But due to the mistake of the organizers, the commercial benefit from the tour turned out to be zero. Perhaps this affected the deterioration of the atmosphere in the group. So, Valery Kipelov stopped appearing at the rehearsals of Aria and began performing with the Master group, citing a lack of money. In early 1995, Mavrin left after him, saying that he did not want to play in a group without Kipelov. Subsequently, Kipelov and Mavrin recorded a joint album “Troubled Times”, which included the famous composition “I’m Free”.
Groups “Aria” and “Master” on the same stage
To work on the album “Night is shorter than day” (1995), the producers of “Aria” invited the soloist of “Legion” Alexei Bulgakov. But the management of Moroz Records did not like the new vocalist. Kipelov was persuaded to return to record a record (more precisely, the CD is the first album of Aria released on this medium), but Mavrin’s place was taken by Sergey Terentev, who turned out to be not only a good guitarist, but also a poet. Several of his compositions were included in the album “Generator of Evil” (“Devil’s Heat”, “Dirt”).
1995: updated “Aria” with Sergei Terentiev (second from left)
During the concert tour in support of the Generator of Evil, Maxim Udalov again took the place behind the drums (Manyakin broke his arm).
The release of the album “Chimera” (2001) took place in a nervous atmosphere. The relationship between the band members was cracking at the seams. The conflict led to the fact that the musicians recorded their songs and parts to them separately (with the exception of the song “Chimera”, written by Kipelov and Kholstinin in collaboration). In the spring of 2002, Kipelov announced his resignation. On August 31, the musicians played a farewell concert at Luzhniki, then Valery, Terentyev and Manyakin left the Aria.
In 2002, Kipelov (center) left the “Aria”
“Veterans” Kholstinin and Dubinin began to look for new musicians. So new-old faces appeared in the line-up: Artur Berkut was now the soloist instead of Kipelov, and Maxim Udalov returned to drums. Sergey Popov became the guitarist.
In 2003, the album “Baptism by Fire” was released, in addition, “Aria” celebrated the long-awaited victory in the “Chart Dozen” with the song “Coliseum”, the first single after the breakup of the group. The video for the song was clearly inspired by the film “Gladiator”, but ironically at the present: well-fed patricians were compared with the owners of record labels, and the spitting and raging crowd – with the audience. Kholstinin admitted that the composition and video are largely autobiographical:
We faced the betrayal of our friends and fans, at the same time with support. In general, we had a difficult period, so this is a rather autobiographical story.
In general, the new album, which was dominated by military themes, appealed to both fans of the band and critics.
Two significant events took place in 2006: the new album “Armagdeddon”, which continued the “military” line, and the 20th anniversary of “Aria”. All former Aria musicians, except for Valery Kipelov, took part in the large-scale anniversary tour. As a gift, fellow rockers in the person of Vadim and Gleb Samoilov, Konstantin Kinchev, Yuri Shevchuk and Vyacheslav Butusov recorded a cover of the song “Will and Reason”.
In 2011, the album “Phoenix” was released. Instead of the usual vocals of Artur Berkut, the fans heard a new voice. Mikhail Zhitnyakov, the new soloist of Aria, was not presented to the public for a long time.
Mikhail Zhitnyakov, new soloist of “Aria”
In an interview, Berkut admitted that he himself did not know the reasons for his departure – he was simply put before a fact. And the remaining “Aryans” said the following during a press conference: “We simply explained to Arthur that we see no reason to continue working in the style Arthur wants to move in. I’m not saying it’s bad, he’s a great vocalist, but we need something different.” Berkut founded his own group “Artur Berkut”.
After the album “Through All Times” (2014), “Aria” focused on the celebration of the anniversary of the group, as well as collaborative and experimental projects, for example, they performed with a symphony orchestra on a tour called “Symphonic Aria” (2016).
Aria quite often changes its line-up, and former musicians leave the band, but not from the stage. They continue to perform the group’s songs, which is not liked by their colleagues and causes controversy, both public and private, as well as legal. For example, in 2013, representatives of Aria filed a lawsuit against Artur Berkut for using the compositions Paradise Lost, Will or Reason, Rose Street and others at their concerts, demanding 840 thousand rubles from him.
- “Megalomania” (1985)
- “With whom you are?” (1986)
- “Hero of Asphalt” (1988)
- “Playing with Fire” (1990)
- “Blood for Blood” (1991)
- “Night is shorter than day” (1995)
- “Day Maker” (1998)
- “Chimera” (2001)
- “Baptism by Fire” (2003)
- “Armageddon” (2006)
- “Phoenix” (2011)
- “Through All Times” (2014)
Aria group now
In 2018, the group performed at the Invasion festival, which they missed for five years for various reasons. The musicians not only performed new and old songs, but also staged a real pyrotechnic show on the stage. For November, the group announced the release of a new, thirteenth album, Curse of the Seas.
Aria keeps rocking