Friday, May 23, 2014

Aris • Twilight Revival

Aris Ziagos photo Aris_Ziagos850_zpsd0fe80b9.jpg

Just over a month ago, I got an email suggesting I check out the music of Aris from Jeff Dorta of Project Publicity. He also sent along a couple of MP3s, and before you could blink your eyes, I had another artists I wanted to check and and hear more from. And not just because it was impossible to ignore the fact Aris is a strikingly handsome man. I listened to those files sent to me, and they clicked with me. I loved those five songs so much, I went out and purchased the album 'Twilight Revival', where they were found.

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When listening to Aris, I can't help but think he is the lovechild of Patti Smith and Chris Cornell, with a supercharged growl of a voice. But then again, I can hear the edge and grit of Pink in his performance, as well as the strength of Kelly Clarkson. The Brooklyn native writes songs that are energetic and evocative, using a base of Rock and Electronica as a base before launching off to make music that is smart and effortlessly cool. 'Twilight Revival', released last fall, is a 17-track collection, with 14 new tracks, and two additional acoustic versions, and one remix of the songs. The album kicks off with "Twilight", a song that has great energy, and would have me running to the dance floor back in the day, dancing with a clenched fist thrust in the air. This is Aris with the official music video for "Twilight".

If that didn't get your juices flowing, urgency of "Blessed Be" might just be what you need. The drive is is bold, and the lyrics thoughtful. "Let Me In" cranks the energy back up to 12 with a forceful pleading that had me ready to give it up and let Aris in. Just when I feared I had to listen to another cover of the Leonard Cohen song, Aris brings out his own original song "Hallelujah", a bluesy spiritual that grabbed me hard. This is the psychedelic official music video for "Hallelujah".

There is a beautiful opening for "Higher", just before the Pop/Rock heart comes beating through. there is nothing like love to make us believe our lives can be lifted to a higher place. Next up, we have "Pray for Change", which features Kalyn Hemphill, Nina Zeitlin and Jimmy Jenkins in support of the man behind the music, Aris. We find the spiritual center and the heart of a man looking answers in a crazy world. This is the music video for "Pray For Change".

I first heard a snippet of "Astral Symphony" on the official website, so I was interested in hearing the full version. I just have to say, I was not disappointed. Far from it, in fact. There is a depth to the song, and it allows Aris a chance to deliver a deliciously nuanced performance. As he continues his search for answers, Aris shares "Savior" with us. what begins as an acoustic introspective prayer builds to an insistent call for hope. You don't have to be "Deaf, Dumb and Blind" to hear the retro feel to the song, like it was written in the Brill Building. I am surprised by how well it suits his voice, and the innocence it offers. With a throbbing beat and his voice driven by loss, it is not innocence that is found in "Anchor". There is a welcome joy at the top of "Light to Dark". It is palpable in the track, as well as in the music video for "Light to Dark".

There is such warmth found in the love song "Fallen Blind", a ballad with some bombastic qualities that would make Jim Steinman proud, and enough catharsis to move me. "Deliver Me" begins with a simple sound of guitar chords, and a soft feel of Aris' voice. There is something hypnotic about this one. The last new cut, "Revival", starts out with a call and response, bridging Gospel and Pop, before allowing the Pop side to flourish a bit more. We are left with a feeling of new life, new growth, just what we wanted. Both "Blessed Be" and "Light to Dark" are given acoustic versions, while "Twilight" has the Dancehaus Remix to complete 'Twilight Revival'. There is such a grit in his voice, it is hard to listen and not growl back just a little. Aris shows us Rock, Pop, Gospel, Blues, and even a Folky side on the album, leading me to wonder if there is anything he can't do. He writes songs with stories that involved feelings straight from the heart, sometimes with a soft caress, and other times with a pumping fist. I just can't get enough. 'Twilight Revival' is available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon. To discover more about Aris, visit his official website. You can also 'follow' him on Twitter, and 'like' him on Facebook.


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