Album review: AORIA – The Constant

Version Studio Records, 2012

There must be something in the water in Sweden at the moment.

Following in the (rather large) footprints of progressive metal contemporaries, Katatonia and their magnificent ‘Night Is The New Day’ and ‘Dead End Kings’ albums, along come Aoria with ‘The Constant’ – which, in its own way, almost sounds like the third part of the Katatonia trilogy.

Essentially a duo consisting of Erik Nilsson (guitar, vocals, keyboards) and Robin Bergh (drums, percussion, piano), the Katatonia lineage is cemented when you know the bass player is none other than Kat’s Niklas Sandin.

Now don’t get the impression that Aoria is some kind of tribute band. This is a band  that stands on its own merits and ‘The Constant’ is nothing short of a triumph.

This is melancholic progressive metal at its absolute zenith. There are passages of beautiful, almost pastoral sensitivity and there are slabs of what can only be described as sledgehammer brutality but the way the whole thing is meshed together is absolutely stunning.

Six tracks and every one a gem in its own way – from the brooding start of opener ‘A Slow Moving Storm’ through to the piano fade-out of closer ‘An Overwhelming Calm’ and all points in between, there is a musical intellect at work here which carries the album to a distant, other-worldly place.

‘The Constant’ is certainly not for the faint-hearted – some of it is very heavy – but it’s a fabulous listen and Aoria have laid down a marker that should see them offered a place in prog-metal’s firmament. It’s that good.

Now where’s that bottle of water I bought at Ikea?


Review by Alan Jones

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