|Review: Black Aurora - Polar Night|
Label: Rusted Records
Year released: 2007
Genre: Melodic Heavy Metal
Review online: April 24, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 4.33/5 (86.67%) (3 Votes)
There is a line of demarcation where "Polar Night" is concerned. Shallowly, I believe placing "Pillars" at the forefront of this release will ultimately result in chastisement by most considering how shockingly obscure this track is in the face of the others that follow. Let's get the condemning factors out of the way first shall we? This album suffers from lack of duration, as I could have easily done with an extra couple of tracks – although I can frankly appreciate the restrictions of time in the studio and financial expenses – and it's quite possible that Black Aurora will defer many a potential buyer with how many different genres they attempt on this album; but in my opinion – and one that I hope carries weight – this is an endearing quality, and I overtly applaud them for doing so; with the exception of the dreadful opening track. Why is it dreadful you ask? Well, it demonstrates in such autonomous fashion how easy it is to be led astray musically. This is a harsh, bruising track that perhaps bares too much similarity to "Load"-era Metallica, which is exactly what "Polar Night" opposes. The grating, mid-paced guitars and rasping vocals are far too mundane and formulaic to grace this release, but left me in surprise when "Hell is Earth" exploded out of my speakers…
Stylish, polished and über-melodic, "Hell is Earth" is a masterclass in heavy metal song writing; solid Maiden-esque riffing, pounding drums, catchy melodies and some kick-ass soloing from star-in-the-making David Meirovich, whose perfected guitar work is propitious and masterful. This track sees vocalist Jordan Delorme sing for the first time, and is shockingly proficient. Compared to the awfully forced bellows of the opener, Delorme's approach on this and the remaining tracks is tremendously smooth, bringing an almost pop-like quality to the melodies. "Aversion Pawn" takes a wholly different direction, complete with a coating of progressive rock, atmospheric keys and some seriously addictive piano/acoustic interplay. At times, "Polar Night" doesn't even sound like a metal album; the bucolic, pastoral images beautiful ballad "Letter" conjures are something bands such as The Fray or REM would inspire. Adding texture and indeed character to the album, this luridly emotional rendering may just be too placated for your average metaller. That being said, Black Aurora strike back with the blistering "All this Time", following in the same melodic metal fashion as the splendid "Hell is Earth", complete with a rather European sounding guitar/keys battle in the middle eight and a damaging double-bass assault in the intro.
A rather disjointed start for these young Canadians but one that I believe will be a rewarding jump forward. If Black Aurora recorded an album full of tracks like "Hell is Earth" and "All this time", we'd be talking a 5/5 rating here. Let's hope they get the chance to do so.
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