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Nocean - Aurora - The Weight of a Shadow

Aurora - The Weight of a Shadow
by Kevin Lewis at 22 December 2021, 5:59 AM

NOCEAN is a Swedish Cinematic/Progressive/Symphonic Metal band formed in 2014. Built with theater and visual presentation in mind, this is a multimedia project that is more to be experienced than heard. “Aurora – The Weight of A Shadow,” their fourth full-length album, was independently released on October 29, 2021.

The record opens with a melodic intro to open “The Fall.”. This is setting the stage for a blast, though. After the intro, a few heavy riffs blast out of the amps, then shift to the main melody. The guitars hold weight, and the rhythm is crushing. The vocals are exquisite, going from throaty, almost doom-laden to soaring head voice, they bring a lot of power to the song. The shifts in rhythm and patterns, textures and tones give a wild sensation of the song weaving through a tapestry of sound.

The fade in on “The Creature” is melancholic and dreamy. The kick as the song really opens up and starts to rock is quite nice. The male voices remind me of a carnival barker, exaggerated and working to draw your attention. It is effective as the difference in tone grabs the mind, making you listen. “The Phantom” is a straight-out rocker. The opening melody with the heavy guitar riff is a bit of a contrast to the way the first two songs started. This is impressive, as many bands have a predictable format to their songs.

Jumping down to “The Prisoner,” we have a melodic riff with some killer layered guitar work. The vocals are darker and deeper in timbre at the start. The haunting pre-chorus sets up the chorus very well. The variance between the whispers and the belting vocals is a joy to hear. Adding these facets to the vocal work sets this whole project apart from many of their peers. This is not just singing; this is filling the space with thought and word and even a bit of a visual effect. Just imagine the stance the singer would take to deliver those lines….

As with many good records, the ending of this one is a nine plus minute epic tune called “The Farewell.” Again, the vocals are varied and stunning. The guitars play to the voice and follow along, highlighting the feel, adding texture and tone. This is the wrap of the story, this entire journey we’ve taken along the disc. The rhythm is steady and fits everything the song contains. The tempo adjusts to what is being said and the volume of the voice. Everything works in concert with each other.

I feel like I am missing something on this record. It was built with a visual aspect in mind. I would have loved to see the show as well. It would be interesting to see how they adapt the songs to a visual medium. It would be cool to see how the band dresses for the stage show, how they move and the overall presence they exhibit on stage while performing these songs. There are a lot of ways I can picture the stage being set up. This is a show that is not to be missed if you are a fan of the music. While the album is complete, the show would add a amazing dimension.

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


4 Star Rating

1. The Fall
2. The Creature
3. The Phantom
4. The Spark
5. The Hope
6. The Prisoner
7. The Denial
8. The Rise
9. The Hunt
10. The Farewell
Hanna Olsson – Vocals
Jonas Pettersson – Drums
Oscar Björk – Guitar
Daniel Nyqvist – Guitar
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 02 February 2023

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