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Borealis - Purgatory

Label: AFM Records
Format: CD download
Released: 2015
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 7/ 10


With his attack, his note and chord selection, singer/guitarist Matt Marinelli does his damnedest to make each song stand apart on Borealis's third studio album, "Purgatory." He's partially successful. In spite of his best efforts, however, the songs on what would have been side 2 of the tape/record, i.e.: the second half of the album, all do kind of blend together.

 

Before you mistake this for a purely negative review, I need to praise the two excellent tunes on "Purgatory"; ‘Past the Veil’ and ‘Darkest Sin’ are both worth the price of admission alone. ‘Past the Veil’ is an effective album-opener/interest-holder, but then elevates with a heartfelt, moving guitar solo section. And the lighters - - or lighter apps - - will come out for the clean arpeggios of ‘Darkest Sin’, but there's really nothing ballady or uplifting about it. Many of the lyrics on "Purgatory" go into dark psychological territory about negative relationships and insanity, and this is no exception. It's an extremely well-written and engaging song, too. Unfortunately, the only other recommendable song is ‘From the Ashes’. Guest vocalist Sarah Dee takes the second verse and a harmony near the end, which infuses the song with a shot of freshness.

Sean Werlick's keyboard lines are highlights in every song, although his gear sounds chintzy. This is a nice-feeling, comfortable power metal record, hewing very, very close to one of their cited influences: Symphony X. Marinelli emulates Russell Allen's voice to the point of flattery. The songs are far less epic in scope than their idols, however, and fall too frequently into the blasé and the dreaded "filler material" category.

I strongly recommend the songs I mentioned above. The rest are not bad, just tougher to validate.

 
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