Ария (Aria), the oldest and most famous russian metal band that plays classical Heavy metal in the vein of NWOBHM, was founded in 1985 in USSR by Vladimir Holstinin (guitar), Alik Granovsky (bass) and Valery Kipelov (vocal). Since 1986 band (produced by Victor Vekshtein) started playing in small clubs and festivals. In 1985 and 1986 they recorded two debute albums "Mania Velichia" (Megalomania) and "S Kem Ty?" (Who Are You With?), released on tape.
In 1987 more than half of members, including Granovsky and Andrey Bolshakov, left Aria and founded Мастер (Master) to play Thrash metal. New Aria, though, became more successful. With Vitaly Dubinin (bass), Sergey Mavrin (guitar) and Maxim Udalov (drums) they recorded their new album "Geroy Asfalta" (Hero of Asphalt), the first one released by state publishing monopoly "Melodia". This album discovered Aria to public and they toured to Germany.
In 1989 the band dismissed their manager Victor Vekshtein. Also Maxim Udalov was replaced by Alexander Maniakin. Aria released next two albums "Igra s Ogneom" (Playing With Fire) and "Krov Za Krov" (Blood For Blood), where their lyrics (all written by poetess Margarita Pushkina) shifted from social problems to mysticism and history. In 1994 was founded band's own studio "ARIA records", and two debute albums was remastered and re-released. After Europe tour in 1994, Mavrin and Kipelov declared their leaving from the band, but label producers convinced Valery to stay. Mavrin was replaced by Sergey Terentiev. In 1995 new lineup released "Noch Koroche Dnia" (Night Shorter Day), and in 1998 - "Generator Zla" (Generator of Evil). This year was also made the biker-themed EP "Harley-Davidson Tribute" which contained covers on Manowar and Golden Earring; with it, band gained the support of Harley Davidson company. In 2001 Aria's ballad "Потерянный Рай" (Lost Paradise), recorded featuring Russian President's Orchestra, became the first metal song in Russia that reached the top of radio charts. Following album "Himera" (Chimaera) was band's most best-selling work.
In 2002 the band nearly broke up when Kipelov rowed again with Dubinin and Holstinin' and Aria was claimed to disband. After the farewell tour "Classical Aria", (finished by a stadium gig "Judgement Day" at August 31, 2002 in Luzhniki, Moscow); Kipelov, Terentyev and Maniakin left the band and started Кипелов project named after their leader. Holstinin and Dubinin, keeping name Aria, continued with Arthur Berkut (vocals), Sergey Popov (guitar) and returned Max Udalov. With this lineup, Aria recorded "Kreshenie Ogneom" (Christening by Fire; 2003) and "Armageddon" (2006).