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Auri – II Those We Don’t Speak Of Award winner

Auri
II Those We Don’t Speak Of
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 25 November 2021, 7:32 AM

To its key members, AURI is a creative outlet unconfined by the preconceptions caused by their other bands and their respective audiences. Leaning to Celtic folk and Cinematic Pop yet not shackled by any specific genre, AURI isn’t the kind of music that can be described by words alone. No, an equal effort of the enchanted three, AURI runs a lane of completely their own. Unburdened by anyone’s expectations but their own. This is the sort of music that taps directly into emotions. The new album, titled “II – Those We Don’t Speak of,” contains ten tracks.

The title track leads off the album. It begins with eerie vocal chants in layers, along with some tense background tones. Clean female vocals come in with harmony. You could cut the tension with a knife. “The Valley” opens with keys and a melancholy, Folky sound. The vocals are smooth and easy on the ears, and there is definitely a Gaelic sound to the song. “The Duty of Dust” begins with more clean vocal layers. Johanna’s vocals are both poignant and calming. Closing in on the half-way mark, male vocals come in that are a bit darker. Strings some in along with light percussion, and you can feel the grass growing on a knoll on the Irish countryside, and the days warming.

“Pearl Diving” is unapologetically Pop sounding, opening with positive notes and some really nice hooks. If you don’t find yourself singing along and being energized by the sound, you might not have a pulse. “Kiss the Mountain” is a shorter song, but still thick with emotion. The vocal harmonies wash over you and cleanse you of all wrong doings, returning you to factory settings. “Light and Flood” opens with piano, strings, and keys, and some real Cinematic effects. The wondrous melodies seem to come from all around you, lifting you up. Acoustic guitars pick up the melody and run with it. Heading towards a glen in the woods while on a day trip through the mountains, you and your love frolic around without a care in the world. The crescendo of sounds that develops with leave you speechless. “Fireside Bard” closes the album, with acoustic guitars and deep, male vocals that are quite soothing. It’s the perfect mellow, feel-good closing song.

“It Takes me Places” begins with a more traditional Celtic sound. It builds from there, with drums, strings and piano, coming to a near halt after the half-way mark, then picking back up with more emotions from there. “The Long Walk” opens with tense, percussive tones, and harmonized vocals. Piano picks up a darker melody, with big strikes as accents. It crescendos towards the end, then drops abruptly. “Scattered to the Four Winds” begins with strings, keys, and piano. Take this one in slowly and let it carry you wherever it wants to.

This is just a disclaimer about the album…it’s not Metal. What it is, however, is an excellent collection of mostly positive and jovial sounding songs, fueled by the pensive vocals of Johanna Kurkela. She has a very frail voice but gets across her point very easily. The music is absolutely beautiful, powerful, and moving. I am not sure how Nuclear Blast, the world’s foremost label for Heavy Metal music, got this artist on their roster, but it shows the versatility and diversity of the label when it comes to music. Enjoy this one, folks, for it is an undeniable winner.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Those We Don’t Speak of
2. The Valley
3. Duty of Dust
4. Pearl Diving
5. Kiss the Mountain
6. Light and Flood
7. It Takes me Places
8. The Long Walk
9. Scattered to the Four Winds
10. Fireside Bard
Lineup:
Johanna Kurkela – Vocals & Viola
Tuomas Holopainen – Keys & Backing Vocals
Troy Donockley – Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Bouzouki, Uilleann Pipes, Low Whistles, Aerophone, Bodhran, Keys, Vocals
Kai Hahto – Percussion
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
     


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