|Review: Borealis - The Offering|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2018
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: March 28, 2018
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Rated 3.86/5 (77.14%) (7 Votes)
There are some things in life that just can't be fixed, but a band's sound isn't one of them. When Borealis hit my review queue the last time they were around in 2015 with Purgatory, all I could hear was some Evergrey wannabes with little to be salvaged from their first (and, to that date, only decent) album who just wanted to force some emotional and commercial nonsense down your throat.
In what seems to be a miracle or an irony of time, Matt Marinelli (vocals, guitars) and crew rise from the ashes (of the bonfire that they built from themselves to start with) and fix the mess that was their last album with The Offering.
This time around, instead of riding in the carriage of bland and meaningless music towards the land where prestige dies – which they rode VERY fast last time – Borealis got their good ideas together and transitioned to a more mature, organic and less pretentious place, where things usually work out.
Relying on the modern Prog/Power mechanics and a decent crystal-clear production – courtesy once again of drummer Sean Dowell – the album tells a story about "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.", according to the band. As cheesy and uninventive as this may sound, when diluted between the songs it's actually pretty fun.
When "The Fire Between Us" kicks in, it becomes more evident than ever that these dudes are fans of Evergrey. The riffing and overall instrumental are strongly derived from the Swedish veterans and this continues until the end as the main go-to melodic approach. The Canadians also add doses of theatrical and denser elements which reminded me of Kamelot and a sense of aggressiveness and dystopia – mainly in the choruses of songs like "Sign of No Return" – of bands like Pyramaze. This works fine and makes the experience enjoyable and all, but there's the problem that they end up without a proper identity.
The album is a HUGE improvement over Purgatory, as it shows a band that's more mature and less lost about what paths to take in their rendition of modern Prog/Power metal. These guys have their flaws, but they're a young band and actually did what most bands are afraid or too stubborn to do, which is to take a few steps back in order to be better. All in all, it's a fun and accessible album that fans of Evergrey, Kamelot, Pyramaze and such should check out without fear of falling into the booby trap that was their last output.
|Other related information on the site|
|Review: Purgatory (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)|
Review: Purgatory (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: World of Silence (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: World of Silence (reviewed by PowerMetal59)
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