By: K. Menser
Black Aurora hits the metal scene as a newer melodic power metal outfit from the lands of Canada, having only been together for less then a year prior to recording this release. However, from their musicianship and precision one would never know from listening to the band’s self-released debut EP. Polar Night starting off with “Pillars”, a song which really first comes off as something I might not prefer with the tone of vocals in the verses, however once past that this song begins to reach a higher level of my interest and the simple catchy guitar riff pulled me into what the song was really about: a power metal tune with a mixed modern tone. “Hell on Hell” stays on the power metal trump with a more straight ahead approach while (drummer) Caleb Hilbich adds a bit of fillings to spice things up, with the bridge section influenced with a hint of Maiden-ish riffing. Combining catchy melodies with pounding drums, and the tasteful guitar solo work of David Meirovich, not to mention the vocalist actually ‘singing’ compared to what he offers in the opener.
The beauty of this release shines bright within the brilliant nine-minute epic “Aversion Paw”, with its many changing trade offs between acoustic and electric guitars are fantastic and beautiful to the ears. Backed with a strong rhythm section offering freedom for keyboardist Vlad Shaposhnikov to paint his atmosphere within the many impressive guitar lines that bring in the progressive overtones. This song travels so seemingly with pure musical excitement that you forget you just listened to a nine minute piece. Vocalist Jordon Delorme showcases his melodic skill on this one in a number of places throughout the song, proclaiming himself to be a singer indeed. “Paradise Lost” continues on with a piano intro that sets up for a smashing tune filled with melody and catchy hooks in a mid-tempo, highlighting small guitar/ keyboard solos within.
Changing the listening ride with an outstanding acoustic ballad, “Letters” offers a non metal or rock feel with an arrangement bands such as REM (and artists within their genres) would release aiming for hits. In fact I do find it very interesting and it helps to keep the EP flowing fresh with a little passion all to its own. Ending this fine debut comes “All This Time”, another song entering with heavy arrangements hailing the true power metal reaching for a sound that of Hammerfall from time to time. A good song with infectious crunch and heavy power metal intentions, reaching a slow melodic bridge part with nice sing along lines before hitting into that driving beat once again that makes for the foundation of this song.
The albums production is above fair, but could always be better and that’s only a matter of financial expenses of course. Overall songs such as “Hell on Hell”, “All This Time”,”Letters” and especially “Aversion Pawn” seems to contain great character and musical impact. If Black Aurora continues to harness this skill to perfection, look for them to deliver a masterpiece with their follow-up. It’s clear Black Aurora’s sound falls more in the melodic power metal vein and not so much progressive, however with the many overlaying musical segments this CD features it should please some prog’ers. The downside, with all the much softer moments it may also lose the ears of the dedicated diehard power metal followers, but the risk is worth the chance for uncompromising creativity. To compose, record and release such a nice effort as Polar Night in this group’s short existence is an achievement in itself. If this young band continues to grow as a songwriting team, I believe we can expect something special to come from this Canadian outfit.