Borealis cover power metal

Borealis – The Offering

Who’s interested in a story about the rise and demise of a gruesome cult which performs child sacrifice to save humanity form its woes? I might entice you by saying it comes attached with a pretty decent power metal record. Yes, more power metal coming your way from Canada’s heartland province of Ontario. With The Offering, the ever ambitious “youngsters” of Borealis have arrived at their fourth album.

Playing prog-tinged power metal in the vein of Evergrey and Symphony X, Borealis is never going to win any originality contests. But what they lack in novelty, they make up with good song-writing, admirable performances and . . .  great production values. To be honest, what sparked my interest in this record was the glittering sound exhibited on lead single “Sign of No Return”. From that point, there was indeed no going back and the whole thing fell into my lap for review.

As The Offering sneaks its way to the top of my playlist, I am greeted by the opening sounds of “The Fire Between Us”. Starting out with a mysterious guitar melody and some ominous machine-gun drumming, the track quickly explodes into a marvellous chug fest with all the bells and whistles. Frontman Matt Marinelli steals the show with his charismatic vocals which, quite appropriately, sound like a cross between Russell Allen and Tom Englund.

Up next is the aforementioned “Sign of No Return”, which repeats the opener’s formula with even better results. Drummer Sean Dowell does his best to lay down some varied drum patterns, giving the track just that extra level of depth.

From there on, The Offering takes you on a rollercoaster ride which may induce ecstasy or dizziness, depending on your inclinations. Most of the highlights are stacked in front. The title track, “River” and “The Second Son” boast an array of shiny riffs which will appeal to fans of Gothenburg metal and modern electronic music. The album’s second half is less memorable, but the band manages to avoid a complete drop in quality. Worth mentioning are the wistful ballad “The Devil’s Hand”, which is a dead ringer for Symphony X (cfr. the title track on Paradise Lost) and the piano-driven “The Ghosts of Innocence”, on which Marinelli sings a duet with the fresh-sounding Sarah Dee (from the relatively unknown Solarus).

 

I think you’ve got the picture. The Offering is a good power metal record with just enough versatility to warrant your attention. Borealis have made it into the second tier of their genre. In such a saturated market that is no small achievement.

Release date: March 23rd, 2018
Label: AFM Records
Tracklist:
1. The Fire Between Us
2. Sign of No Return
3. The Offering
4. River
5. The Second Son
6. The Devil’s Hand
7. Into the Light
8. Scarlet Angel
9. The Awakening
10. The Path
11. Forever Lost
12. The Ghosts of Innocence

Reviews

  • Music7
  • Lyrics/Vocals7
  • Production/Mix9
  • Artwork/Packaging8
  • Originality7
  • 7.6

    Score

    The Offering is a good power metal record with just enough versatility to warrant your attention.