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Borealis - World of Silence MMXVII Award winner

Borealis
World of Silence MMXVII
by Anna Chase at 13 April 2017, 6:34 AM

I’m a self-admitted Prog Metal junkie. I adore DREAM THEATER, MASTODON, and OPETH, and that’s why I was so thrilled to be reviewing Canadian Prog/Power Metal stars BOREALIS this week. BOREALIS first formed in 2005, and were planning on originally calling themselves “Aurora Borealis” before realizing that there was already a successful Death Metal band by that name. Originally, the band had leaned more toward Symphonic Metal had hired a female lead vocalist named Siobhan O’Brian, who recorded only one album with them in 2006 before leaving the act. So far, BOREALIS have opened shows for well-known Prog Metal acts such as KAMELOT and SONATA ARCTICA, and have completed three albums before re-releasing a re-mastered version of their 2008 album “World of Silence” in 2017.

“Lost Voices” starts the whole album out with a bang. It’s the perfect fusion of Speed Metal and Power Metal, and Marinelli’s haunting baritone vocals add an unexpected cleanness to the track. The sweeping keyboard in the background combined with the technical precision of the riffs immediately impressed me, and the pounding drumbeats contributed a heaviness that rounded out the song and added depth. The next track, “Midnight City,” spins off of the same style of staccato drums but introduces a cleaner, almost mechanical guitar riff, which chugs along into an exemplary, almost OPETH-like chorus. This track reveals a more exposed bass-backing riff, which gives it an extra punch of metal.

“From the Fading Screams” gives the listener a glimpse into BOREALIS’s Symphonic Metal roots. The intro stars an orchestral string backing, and Marinelli’s exposed vocals are a beautiful addition, which showcase his singing ability. I was waiting for a Power Metal breakdown, which I finally got around 3 minutes, but this song is mostly an emotionally charged masterpiece that juxtaposes violins with thumping bass riffs in an intriguing way. “Forget the Past” brings us back to the band’s go-to mixture of Prog and Speed Metal with their impressive speed picking technique and the symphonic keyboard in the background. Personally, I enjoyed Marinelli’s vocals far more than O’Brian’s- his clean, soaring voice shines above the music and gives all of the songs an epic feel.

The introduction to “Eyes of a Dream” was captivating. I love isolated drum tracks- Dowell kept perfect rhythm and blended his drums effortlessly with the glowing guitar riffs and the orchestral string backing. I think this is my favorite song on the album due to the head bang-inducing drums, which provided the perfect backdrop for BOREALIS’s absolutely flawless technical guitar work. Usually every album has a weak point. However, I kept getting more and more impressed with every song I listened to. “World of Silence” is a haunting, energetic joyride of Prog Metal that showcases masterful guitar work laid over a rapid-fire drum track. The vocals intertwine perfectly with the instruments, and the song is far from silent. The chorus is catchy, rare for Prog, and has just a bit of an inspirational Power Metal vibe.

“The Afterlife” stars Dowell’s drums again, and this time includes the intriguing addition of operatic vocals at the intro. The chorus and vocal melody was a bit repetitive in this song, however, it was still executed perfectly and included enough of a variation in instrumentals that any weakness was barely noticeable. “Divine Answer” was probably my least favorite track on the album I have to admit. While without technical weakness, it seemed tame and slightly simple compared to the Prog Metal masterpieces that the album is full of. Even the chorus wasn’t as thrilling as previous ones, and I felt as though the opportunity to showcase guitar technique was overlooked here.

However, “The Dawning Light” was an amazing follow-up. The chugging drums and relentless guitar riffs combined over a background of electro-synth keyboard work, and Marinelli’s clean vocals added the same overtone of Power Metal. The chorus was my favorite part, and truly showcased the band’s absolutely awe-inspiring talent for guitar. “Black Rose,” the last track, was definitely cinematic to say the least. It also drew from their Symphonic Metal background combined with the group’s new tone, and was undoubtedly a strong conclusion to an impressive album. The guitar riffs were deliberate and rhythmic, and the vocals were impassioned and raw. The pure vitality in the song’s chorus actually gave me goose bumps.

Overall, BOREALIS is one of the strongest Prog Metal groups I have heard to date. They’re technical masters, creative music writers, and not to be overlooked or ignored. I absolutely give them my stamp of approval and encourage any and all metal heads to let them change your life with their music.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Lost Voices
2. Midnight City
3. From the Fading Screams
4. Forget the Past
5. Eyes of a Dream
6. World of Silence
7. The Afterlife
8. Divine Answer
9. The Dawning Light
10. Black Rose
Lineup:
Matt Marinelli- vocals, guitar
Michael Briguglio- guitar
Trevor McBride- bass
Sean Dowell- drums
Sean Werlick- keyboard
Record Label: AFM Records
     


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Edited 19 July 2019
 

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