Child sacrifice, cults, a return to innocence and punishments for injustice are the themes of this densely atmospheric album ‘The Offering’ from Canadian Progressive Metalers BOREALIS.
Due for release on AFM Records / Hydrant Music on 23rd March 2018, the powerhouse 5-piece band from Ontario take on a concept album that is a first for them, offering an album based around the central theme of the rise of a cult who embark upon child sacrifice in an attempt to rescue mankind from itself and return it to its innocence, only to create a deity from the sacrificed child who returns to deliver ultimate punishment for their wrong doings. The demise of the cult ensues, the men so self-consumed with their righteous quest that the true meaning of the future of humanity has been lost; the future is our children, they are the true key to restoring and preserving lost innocence. Delivered with soaring vocals and a hugely dense atmosphere throughout, Borealis have delivered an album that is composed of epic melodies, engaging heavy riffs and expressive vocals to portray their concept album in a colossal and masterful way.
‘The Fire Between Us’ pulls us into the album with an intro of gentle keys, complemented by heavy drums before the thunderous sound envelops your entirely. Riffs sing out from Fobert alongside the
vocals from Marinelli, his vocals encasing a raspy quality at times. Sean Dowell on the drums attacks the kit like a machine gunner, rapid short bursts in between total obliteration of the eardrums.
And we're only on the first song.
Released as a single on 8th February 2018, ‘Sign Of No Return’ fades in with some intricate keyboard tuneage from Sean Werlick and melodic riffs from Fobert and Marinelli, the dual guitars working in perfect unison to deliver an impassioned and thunderous track. The hammeringly heavy rhythm section from Dowell on the drums and Trevor McBride on the bass pull you through the track, adding depth and a solid foundation that allows the keys, vocals and charismatic riffs to soar higher and higher. Fast paced and formidable this track is undoubtedly one of the strongest on the album.
Maintaining the rapid short burst delivery of drums, title track ‘The Offering’ serves up a healthy dose of brutal drums and rhythmic bass section from the onset. Riffs come hard and heavy and the
vocals from Marinelli take on a slightly more aggressive tone as we approach the part of the album where ‘The Offering’ of the child sacrifice takes place. The cult conforming to their beliefs, “We
pray to the spirits... we present the offering,” an instrumental section ensues where it’s possible to imagine the sacrificial ceremony that’s about to take place, the track fades out with the lyrics
“The judgement day is coming.”
‘River’ continues with the heavy drums and bass, the minigun fire escaping in those wonderful short bursts again, the keys weaving their eloquent sounds throughout, adding atmosphere and depth to an already instrumentally heavy track. Vocals are huge and enticing throughout but more so during the chorus, drawing you into the song as the insanely addictive rhythm pulls you through the track. More riffs that complement every section are layered throughout as the fast hammering track comes to an end.
‘The Second Son’ has a slightly slower pace despite the maintained heavy drum section. Vocally Marinelli seems to become more intense as the tracks progress on the album, his voice gruffer, with a raspier edge. Mid point of the track sees a beautifully melodic guitar riff, the sacrifice of the child having now taken place within the lyrics of the song and the music echoes this, “hold on, lying here my wound’s still bleeding...”.
‘The Devil’s Hand’ sees a complete change of intro in the form of a delicate acoustic guitar and violins. The track is peaceful and lamentable, harking sorrow at the realisation of what has taken place, “my dark reality, I’m lost in my insanity,” vocally it is raw, emotion fuelled and full of pitiful woe. The light diaphanous quality to the track gives way only briefly to a culmination of heightened emotion as the full force of the drums and bass deliver the added emotional blow, before then sliding away and returning to the acoustic element that ends the track beautifully.
‘Into The Light’ continues the lamentable feeling, electric guitar riffs delivering a soft undertone as Marinelli’s vocals ring out clear and uplifting, powerful and urgent as the sudden
bludgeoning drums and bass enter the track with force. The vocals take on that hard edged raspy quality again, the keys of Werlick are atmospheric and intense. A huge track fully layered to the hilt
to deliver epic choruses, something that is a constant on this album, every part of each track working perfectly to form the whole album.
The melodic riff of ‘Scarlet Angel’ begins and it’s one of those that transports you to another place almost immediately. The lullingly rhythmic basslines of McBride and searing guitars from Marinelli and Fobert push this album to another level, it’s my favourite track on the album and the one that makes me want to hit repeat more than once. The delivery and added female vocals are perfectly harmonised, adding more atmosphere to an already atmospherically heavy track.
‘The Awakening’ pummels out heaviness from the onset, infused with incendiary guitars and huge vocals that are undeniably intense throughout the album as a whole. Suddenly aware of the atrocity
that's been caused, the track follows the child sacrifice raising as a deity to confront the cult members, “They robbed me of my innocence, they ripped me from this world, I’m breaking through, I’ll
rise again..”, and the promise that justice will prevail for those who have wronged the child, “The darkness will take you away.” Following this is the instrumental track ‘The Path’, a 2 minute long
masterclass that showcases the musical talent of the band members, each instrument delivering an atmospheric interlude to the album, I only wish it had been longer.
‘Forever Lost’ pulls you along at full throttle again, Marinelli even more intense than in previous tracks with an aggression laced through his raspy delivery. Fobert delivers once again with those stellar riffs throughout the midsection of the track, all the while the hammering drums and reverberating bass driving the track along to its conclusion. ‘Ghosts of Innocence’ is the final track of the album, the sweetly delicate keys interlaced with the clear vocals of Marinelli that echo of raw emotion, edged by that now familiar rasp as the track turns it up a notch and hammers the final track home. A huge chorus ensues and the culmination of these hugely talented musicians comes to fruition as they deliver the final blow in a massively captivating concept album, the music reflecting the lyrics, every track adding to the story behind the music, and layer upon layer of intense atmospheric Prog Metal heaven that deserves the utmost attention.
Don’t just take my word for it though, seriously, buy the album and experience it for yourself. It’s truly a majestically constructed album that I can’t fault in the slightest.
Matt Marinelli - Vocals / Guitar
Ken Fobert - Guitar
Trevor McBride - Bass
Sean Werlick - Keys
Sean Dowell - Drums
The Fire Between Us
Sign Of No Return
The Second Son
The Devil’s Hand
Into The Light
The Ghosts of Innocence
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