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Borealis: The Offering
Borealis - The Offering CD Album Review

Borealis: The Offering

Progressive Power Metal
4.0/5.0

Three years on from 2015's Purgatory, Canada's Borealis returns with The Offering, a concept album. It's a creepy concept as well, developed from vocalist Matt Marinelli's interest in cults from horror movies. The concept follows the creation, rise, and ultimate demise of a cult which practices child sacrifice, thinking it will bring about a better world. That is some some disturbing shit, if I do say so myself. You can read more about the concept at the end of the review, but now on to the music.

Borealis Band Photo

Borealis

Within this album, Borealis ventures little from the musical path they've established over three previous albums. They still offer progressive power metal in the best tradition of Symphony X, Kamelot, or Everygrey. Yet, several essential, ever present, components make up the Borealis sound. These include a sharp wall of riffage from twin guitars, an abundance of soaring guitar solos, a vigorous rhythm section for power and speed, and an embellishing layer of symphonic synths to wrap things together, making the Borealis sound even more bombastic. As usual the wild card is Marinelli's vocal presence, which always seems to be desperately trying to survive the bombastic musical onslaught. No matter how strong he sings, or how screamo he needs to go, he's simply overwhelmed most of the time.

But on to some song highlights. For some arrangements that combine large orchestration with power metal vigor, listen for The Fire Between Us, The Awakening, or River. More straight forward power metal comes with The Offering and Forever Lost. For Scarlet Angel, Borealis dials things back at the start with lighter guitar and piano. As expected, Marinelli's voice is better head in this context. The song also thrills with great solos beginning about mid point. Perhaps my favorite song, musically speaking, was The Devil's Hand, something of a lighter ballad with sweet acoustic guitars and synths that sound like true violins. Again, in this song Marinelli is heard much better, even sounding soulful. Then the song ends the ballad with the crushing crescendo of riffage before exiting with acoustic guitar.

All in all, The Offering is pretty much everything you would expect from Borealis: assertive, creative, and sometimes challenging progressive power metal. If you're a fan, you'll want to get this album. Recommended.


The Offering Explained

"The Offering" describes a story concept resulting from an interest in cults sparked by his fascination for horror movies. "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.


CraigHartranft.net - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

The Bottom Line

The Offering is pretty much everything you would expect from Borealis: assertive, creative, and sometimes challenging progressive power metal. If you're a fan, you'll want to get this album. Recommended.

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