Monday, February 17, 2014

Ayas - "Yerkink u Yerkir" [1988]

Artist: Ayas
Title: Yerkink u Yerkir
Genre: Heavy Metal, Progressive Metal
Country: Armenian SSR
Year: 1988

Track List:
  1. Ayas
  2. XX. dar
  3. Dareri sahmanagitz
  4. Gerspanuzyun
  5. Aryunot gazan
  6. Yerkink u Yerkir
  7. Ches karogh erbek
...No, Beerdigungs Lauten weren't the first Armenian metal band. They might be the first Armenian death metal band, but the first metal band from Armenia that acually released something was probably Asparez (formed in 1982). However, their 1985 rehearsal demos were never released to the public, so the 1988 album by Ayas is probably the very first proper release from an Armenian metal band.

Ayas are often referred to as a folk metal band, but honetly I can't hear much folk influences on "Yerkink u Yerkir". That said, the music is very rich and interesting, with a lot of keyboards and guitar solos, even though the quality of production is quite poor (but then again, what else to expect from an underground USSR metal band?) Their lead vocalist and keyboardist has studied in two conservatories (in Yerevan and Moscow), which of course contributed a lot to the quality of songwriting. There isn't much vocals on this album, all the lyrics are in Armenian. It somehow reminds me of a few Hungarian rock/metal bands of the same era (heavy use of keyboards, singing in an exotic-sounding language). The band is still active today (although not recording anything new), after a long period of inactivity (1995-2008). They had a member of Sworn in their 2008 lineup, but i don't think he's still playing with them.

As for the name: "They took their name from Armenian marine club in Yerevan which was created in 1985... Ayas now is a small port town in Turkey that was previously named Aegea - an ancient town in Cilicia; it became an important harbor city of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia in the second half of the 13th century; also it was the name for the first Armenian ship"

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