Borealis – World of Silence MMXVII – Album Review

borealis-cover

Artist: Borealis

Album Title: World Of Silence

Label: AFM Records

Date Of Release: 27 January 2017

It’s nice to make a new musical discovery and the first of 2017 comes in the form of Canadian band, Borealis. I’d heard the name but never investigated further. However, keen to get the Blog of Much Metal off to a strong start, I did a little looking around. As it happened, along came an email from those good people at AFM and my interest was piqued enough to give this release my attention. Not a bad move as it turns out because ‘World Of Silence MMXVII’ is a very nice album with a lot to enjoy. And rather fitting too, as it is an entirely re-recorded and re-mixed version of their debut album released in 2008. What better place then to begin my new voyage of discovery?

For those like me who are currently unfamiliar with the name Borealis, they are a quintet formed in the mid noughties from Orangeville, Ontario in Canada. They actually began life a fair way removed from their current output as they were originally a female-fronted metal band more in the operatic, symphonic style. Nowadays, based on the output of ‘World Of Silence MMXVII’, they are much more of a melodic prog metal band with the symphonic element more or less intact.

I obviously can’t comment on how this re-recording compares to the original but what I can say is that I am impressed by this album. Stylistically, it takes its cue from many of the names within this loose subgenre. As such, I can hear nods towards Vanishing Point, Kamelot, Mystic Prophecy, and a whole host of others including Nightwish in some kind of lasting recognition of their early roots. It means that the musical output isn’t always the most original but there’s no denying the fact that Borealis do have an air of quality about them. This is a record I can see myself listening to on a relatively frequent basis, certainly until the Canadians release their fourth full-length in the latter stages of the year. And indeed, this is a strong enough showing to mean that I am seriously looking forward to hearing what Borealis circa 2017 sound like.

The album is dominated by big, chunky riffs courtesy of Matt Marinelli and Mike Briguglio as well as some exuberant lead work that only increases the melody and provides for some welcome flamboyance. Layers of synths and keys from Sean Werlick swirl and flow in and out of the music to create lashings of atmosphere and further melody. In addition, the rhythm section of drummer Sean Dowell and bassist Trevor McBride is incredibly strong with Dowell catching my attention frequently thanks to his intense hell-for-leather style that pulls the music along with urgency and a boundless energy.

borealis-band

The album kicks off in wonderful fashion as the first three songs are all superb. ‘Lost Voices’ is a high tempo, barnstormer of an opener. It moves along at pace and with surety, opening up into a properly strong chorus ushered in by a gorgeous lead lick. The more I listen, the better it gets, to the point where I find myself hitting repeat quite frequently.

‘Midnight City’ is a killer tune with a huge chorus, a bouncy rhythm and dark Evergrey-esque overtones, whilst Vanishing Point looms large within ‘From The Fading Screams’, principally in the vocal department. Lead vocalist Matt Marinelli often employs a clean yet snarling, gritty approach but here, the deep and rich timbre is heavily reminiscent of Vanishing Point’s Silvio Massaro. Believe me when I say that this is a high compliment from me.

The other thing that I like about Borealis is the way in which they seem to be able to pen songs that deliver irresistible introductions. I’m not saying that the compositions from then on are poor, far from it in fact. It is just that some of the intros are just delicious, drawing me in for further listens. Take the piano and synth beginning to the aforementioned ‘From The Fading Screams’ as an example or the slow build of ‘Eyes Of A Dream’ where the symphonics duet with yet more ear-catching drumming before the guitars come crashing in on proceedings. ‘World Of Silence’ kicks in with a seriously cool repeated guitar lick and double-pedal drumming whilst ‘The Dawning Light’ has a wonderfully cheeky and melodic beginning that is the foundation for one of the best tracks on the album.

OK, so I am thoroughly smitten and would recommend this band to anyone who likes any of the bands mentioned within the review or indeed anyone who likes heavy metal with gusto, plenty of melody, a hint of prog and a healthy symphonic edge. ‘World of Silence MMXVII’ has thoroughly whetted my appetite for Borealis and I will definitely be awaiting the new album later in the year with eager anticipation.

The Score Of Much Metal: 8.0

If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others via my reviews pages or by clicking the links right here:

Pain of Salvation – In The Passing Light of Day
Delain – Moonbathers
Arcade Messiah – III
A Sense Of Gravity – Atrament
Devilment – Devilment II: The Mephisto Waltzes
Maschine – Naturalis
Brutai – Born
False Coda – Secrets and Sins
Pretty Maids – Kingmaker
In Flames – Battles
The Neal Morse Band – The Similitude Of A Dream
Memoreve – Insignia
Enbound – The Blackened Heart
Blind Ego – Liquid
Dark Tranquillity – Atoma
Hammerfall – Built To Last
Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake
Crippled Black Phoenix – Bronze
Riverside – Eye Of The Soundscape
Hanging Garden – Hereafter
Theocracy – Ghost Ship
Arkona – Lunaris
Oddland – Origin
Sonata Arctica – The Ninth Hour
Edensong – Years In The Garden of Years
Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep Of Reason
Alcest – Kodama
Opeth – Sorceress
Negura Bunget – ZI
Epica – The Holographic Principle
Amaranthe – Maximalism
Eye Of Solitude – Cenotaph
Seven Impale – Contrapasso
DGM – The Passage
Pressure Points – False Lights
In The Woods – Pure
Devin Townsend – Transcendence
The Pineapple Thief – Your Wilderness
Evergrey – The Storm Within
Dream The Electric Sleep – Beneath The Dark Wide Sky
Periphery – ‘Periphery III: Select Difficulty’
Karmakanic – Dot
Novena – Secondary Genesis
Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary
Eric Gillette – The Great Unknown
Tilt – Hinterland
Cosmograf – The Unreasonable Silence
Fates Warning – Theories Of Flight
Wolverine – Machina Viva
Be’lakor – Vessels
Lacuna Coil – Delirium
Big Big Train – Folklore
Airbag – Disconnected
Katatonia – The Fall Of Hearts
Frost* – Falling Satellites
Glorior Belli – Sundown (The Flock That Welcomes)
Habu – Infinite
Grand Magus ‘Sword Songs’
Messenger – Threnodies
Svoid – Storming Voices Of Inner Devotion
Fallujah – Dreamless
In Mourning – Afterglow
Haken – Affinity
Long Distance Calling – Trips
October Tide – Winged Waltz
Odd Logic – Penny For Your Thoughts
Iron Mountain – Unum
Knifeworld – Bottled Out Of Eden
Novembre – Ursa
Beholder – Reflections
Neverworld – Dreamsnatcher
Universal Mind Project – The Jaguar Priest
Thunderstone – Apocalypse Again
InnerWish – Innerwish
Mob Rules – Tales From Beyond
Ghost Bath – Moonlover
Spiritual Beggars – Sunrise To Sundown
Oceans Of Slumber – Winter
Rikard Zander – I Can Do Without Love
Redemption – The Art Of Loss
Headspace – All That You Fear Is Gone
Chris Quirarte – Mending Broken Bridges
Sunburst – Fragments Of Creation
Inglorious – Inglorious
Omnium Gatherum – Grey Heavens
Structural Disorder – Distance
Votum – Ktonik
Fleshgod Apocalypse – King
Rikard Sjoblom – The Unbendable Sleep
Textures – Phenotype
Serenity – Codex Atlanticus
Borknagar – Winter Thrice
The Mute Gods – Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
Brainstorm – Scary Creatures
Arcade Messiah – II
Phantasma – The Deviant Hearts
Rendezvous Point – Solar Storm
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld II
Antimatter – The Judas Table
Bauda – Sporelights
Waken Eyes – Exodus
Earthside – A Dream In Static
Caligula’s Horse – Bloom
Teramaze – Her Halo
Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud
Spock’s Beard – The Oblivion Particle
Agent Fresco – Destrier
Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic
Cradle Of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches
Disarmonia Mundi – Cold Inferno
District 97 – In Vaults
Progoctopus – Transcendence
Big Big Train – Wassail
NightMare World – In The Fullness Of Time
Helloween – My God-Given Right
Triaxis – Zero Hour
Isurus – Logocharya
Arcturus – Arcturian
Kamelot – Haven
Native Construct – Quiet World
Sigh – Graveward
Pantommind – Searching For Eternity
Subterranean Masquerade – The Great Bazaar
Klone – Here Comes The Sun
The Gentle Storm – The Diary
Melechesh – Enki
Enslaved – In Times
Keep Of Kalessin – Epistemology
Lonely Robot – Please Come Home
The Neal Morse Band – The Grand Experiment
Zero Stroke – As The Colours Seep
AudioPlastik – In The Head Of A Maniac
Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints
Mors Principium Est – Dawn of The 5th Era
Arcade Messiah – Arcade Messiah
Triosphere – The Heart Of The Matter
Neonfly – Strangers In Paradise
Knight Area – Hyperdrive
Haken – Restoration
James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance
Mercenary – Through Our Darkest Days
A.C.T. – Circus Pandemonium
Xerath – III
Big Big Train – English Electric (Part 1)
Thought Chamber – Psykerion
Marcus Jidell – Pictures From A Time Traveller
H.E.A.T – Tearing Down The Walls
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld

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