Nima : Damn, does the time go fast! Instinctively Borealis is still a new band to me, but it’s been ten damn years since these Canadians released their debut album, ’World Of Silence’. Back in the day Borealis was more or less your usual (modern) power metal band. On ’Fall From Grace’ and ’Purgatory’ the quintet showed a few huge steps forwards, headed towards a more progressive direction, and also more and more developed its own identity. The fact that nowadays we are dealing with a seasoned band is well audible on the fourth LP, ‘The Offering’.
Musically ‘The Offering’ continues in the same style as it predecessors. But the gentlemen again show progress on all fronts and have without doubt delivered the strongest and most complete work in their career so far. ‘Fall From Grace’ and ‘Purgatory’, but also the re-recorded version of the debut, ’ World of Silence MMXVII’, showed a solid band, but I think that with ‘Purgatory’ Borealis for the first time completely comes into its own. Even though I don’t associate that much with this type of modern, progressive power metal I must say that I am quite impressed with what I hear on this record. It is audibly obvious that there has been a lot of effort put into the compositions and everything has been worked out to the smallest details. But despite that the album sounds a lot more spontaneous and therefore less careful or even insecure and held-back; something that was indeed the case on the previous records at some points. On that matter vocalist/guitarist Matt Marinelli, whom I always found to be the strongest link in the companionship, also shows an even more powerful side of himself. What beautiful and powerful voice this man has, and also here delivers vocal highlight on a regular basis. The comparison with the great Jeff Scott Soto and co. still applies and this voice gives the music a delightfully old-fashioned hardrock/AOR vibe, that fits the music amazingly well.
The instrumental part of the tale is no lesser than the vocal part and especially the guitar work is impressive to say the least. Again, this is all just a bit too modern and too progressive for my taste, but the fact that the tempo is again higher here compared to ‘Purgatory’ does make my day. That makes sure that the music is immediately catchy, despite its complex character. Therefore this album has less difficulty keeping you focused. I must say that I find the faster material a lot stronger in general, but that most of all depends on persona taste and preference. However, that same complex character also sees to it that every new spin leads to more discoveries, which keeps the album fresh and exciting. But despite the fact that the gentlemen show a sturdier approach the music is ever melodic, but also highly theatrical, bombastic and delightfully dark. That may also be due to the fact that ‘The Offering’ is a conceptual album, dealing with a cult that practiced human, and in particular child sacrifices. Musically however there is no “red line” throughout the album and every track has its own individual character, which is very important to me personally when it comes to conceptual albums. The fantastic production from the band’s own drummer, Sean Dowell, makes sure that all comes into its own perfectly, and the beautiful cover artwork may not remain unmentioned in my opinion. All in all ‘The Offering’ is an excellent album that will definitely apply to the fans of modern, progressive power metal and bands such as Evergrey, later Kamelot and Angra, Almah, Vanishing Point, Labyrith and the more modern variants as such.