AFM Records [Release date 23.03.18]
Borealis started out in 2005 as a female fronted symphonic metal band before guitarist Matt Marinelli took over vocal duties in 2007. They have changed bassists since their last album with Trevor McBride replacing original bassist Jamie Smith. Their last album 2015′s ‘Purgatory’ was well received and they re-recorded their debut album ‘World Of Silence’, which was released last year (re-recorded as it was originally funded and released by the band themselves).
‘The Offering’ is a concept, based on Matt Marinelli’s interest in cults sparked by his fascination for horror movies. He said “The album follows the creation, rise and ultimate demise of a cult who practices human, more specifically child sacrifice. They believe this method of belief, sacrifice and devotion will bring an end to the suffering of humanity, as well as bring back the innocence of mankind that was lost to greed and industrialism. However, due to their lack of respect to powers greater than themselves, they unwittingly create a deity out of the sacrificed kid, whom ultimately delivers punishment due to their injustice. The men in the cult are too self-consumed with their righteous quest, they’ve completely overlooked the fact that children are the true key to restoring and preserving lost innocence.”
A different concept for sure and one that the band go at with gusto, from the opener ‘The Fire Between Us’ and the next song, ‘Sign Of Return’ is simply magnificent. The overall sound reminds you of Evergrey (who Borealis have supported in the past), as the crisp guitars and keys back the impressive vocals of Matt Marinelli.
‘The Devil’s Hand’ and ‘Into The Light’ both illustrate the band’s ability to switch from light to heavy in a flick of a riff (Ken Fobert is the other guitarist in the band). Both contain plenty of heavy moments – drummer Sean Dowell keeps a steady double bass drum beat throughout the album. They save their epic song until last, where Sean Werlick’s piano ushers in ‘The Ghosts Of Innocence’ before the vocals and then the rest of the band join in. The chorus is a rousing one and again the guitars blend well with the piano/rhythm section.
Borealis are a new band on my metal radar and they should be on yours, if not already, especially if you enjoy Evergrey, Symphony X et al. Very impressive from start to finish and an early contender for one of the metal albums of the year. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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