After enlisting the help of Grammy award-winning producer Neil Kernon,
(Hall and Oats, Queensryche, Nevermore),
Aesma Daeva released their fourth album, titled Dawn of the New Athens. World instruments such as the bawu,
a Chinese flute-like instrument, are blended with a symphonic rock backdrop bringing a wealth of musical cultures together.
"Upon the lake, upon the windless water,
swim down to me, beautiful bird.
Mercy, stay not forever out of reach.
I hear, I hear your evening song, strange alien song."
-- "The Loon"
With accomplished musicians working in the symphonic terrain, Aesma Daeva draws from a rich background of 20th century music, world music, and rock instincts. As you listen, imagine and move.
Most audiences were introduced to A.D. with the songs "Stay" and "Introit II," both of which appear on several European compilations, including Orkus Magazine: Best of and Diva X Machina.
Following the band's first release, A.D. played Festival Obscuro in Mexico City, opening for H.I.M. and Tristania. They've also shared the stage with Nightwish, Kamelot and Therion. This fall, the band will reunite with Therion to tour the U.S. and Canada.
A.D.'s current lineup came to together in 2005, with Lori Lewis's versatile, classically trained voice at the forefront, Chris Quinn on bass, John Prassas on guitar, Earl Root on guitar, and Tim Klatt on drums. With this power lineup, A.D. was ready to record a new album but needed to reach a new level compared with the first release. A.D. was vigilant and stayed true to this goal. After enlisting Grammy award-winning producer Neil Kernon, the album Dawn of the New Athens was completed.
Dawn of the New Athens is a symphonic poem that journeys across the globe and the temporal realm, from the Tisza River in Hungary to a dark and timely Orwellian world.
"The meek and low christen the kingdom's coming,
building the great machines of war.
Men feed machines this century of dark
coming of the hour of the kingdom of night."
--"Since the Machine"
World instruments such as the bawu (a Chinese wind instrument) are blended with a symphonic metal backdrop, bringing a wealth of musical cultures together. Songs like "Artemis" showcase the bawu in its melancholic sound, emphasizing the lyrics of independence.
"In your name, cruel sacrifice,
embrace my art. Love let me go.
In your name, cruel goddess touch,
embrace this song, the wind, thy womb.
I don't need anyone.
I don't love anyone.
Embrace the art of letting go."
The idyllic beauty of nature provides inspiration for both "Tisza's Child" and the lament cried by the woman who has lost her lifelong mate in "The Loon." The seasons are particularly influential for the band: "The colors of fall are inspiring, and I find myself re-creating those colors in the music," says Prassas, original founder of the group.
"Bluish Shade" was inspired by the struggle that is very much
part of a musician's life and the idea that "music chooses you."
"I once read 'Our destinies are self-fulfilling prophecies; the energy
you transmit via your music will be returned to you amplified," says
Prassas. "However, the ability to control the course of our specific
destiny is questionable. The entire band agrees that we really would have
liked a different course at times."
"D'Oreste d'Ajace," an adaptation of an aria originally composed by Mozart for the often-censored opera Idomenio, reminds us that music of the past is still new and relevant.
Aesma Daeva's growing body of work reflects musical maturity and an unremitting desire to move forward, coupled with an appreciation for its past. A.D. is like a phoenix rising from its own ashes.
Aesma Daeva formed out of the early collaboration of Nick Copernicus (production) and John Prassas (guitars, composition) in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, circa 1998. They worked together on a remix of an original work, "Darkness", for COP International compilation disc Diva-X-Machina II. As their project began taking shape, a second new track "Stay," caught the eye of Adrian Hates (Diary Of Dreams) at Accession records Germany, who published their first full length album: "Here Lies One Whose Name Is Written In Water.
At this point, Aesma Daeva, the operatic, symphonic, metal band, took official shape. Rebecca Cords performed the operatic vocals, John Prassas composed and performed all guitar parts, and N Copernicus helped with production and sampling.
After the release of their first album, Rebecca Cords departed from the band and Melissa Ferlaak (along with two other female vocalists) began recording with Aesma Daeva for their second album, The Eros of Frigid Beauty, which was released in 2002 on Root of All Evil records. After the release of this album, demand for live music soon compelled John Prassas to find musicians capable of portraying the complex music on-stage. In January 2002, John Prassas asked Earl Root to play guitar, Craig Ohren to offer drum assistance and Melissa Ferlaak to sing for live performances.
Aesma Daeva played Metalfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which established them as an original voice in the world of metal. Such popular metal magazines as Unrestrained!, Terrorizer, and Metal Maniacs deemed Aesma Daeva, "One of the Highlights of Metalfest 2002." Later, in August 2002, Aesma Daeva journeyed to Mexico for Festival Obscuro IV (presented by Dilemma Entertainment) to play along such acts as Tristania, Maldorar, and HIM.
In 2003, John decided it was time for the band to move to a new level. Writing began for a new album to be produced by Grammy award-winning producer Neil Kernon (Nevermore, Hall and Oates, Queensreich). Many setbacks and line up changes happened during this period. In October, 2005, Melissa Ferlaak announced she was leaving to join the Austrian band Visions of Atlantis. Her final show with Aesma Daeva was in December 2005 at the Star Central club in Minnesota. The concert was filmed for the internet DVD Last Rites.
After the Departure of Melissa Ferlaak, the search for a new vocalist began. Within a few months, Lori Lewis proved to be the best compliment to the band. With her knowledge of many different styles of music and her ability to sing different genres, Aesma Daeva has risen to a new level of professionalism and ability.
Aesma Daeva's new album, Dawn of the New Athens, was released in March 2007 followed in the fall by a full U.S. and Candian tour with Therion. This album marks a new era for Aesma Daeva in their quest for high quality, original material.