I must say I am pretty excited about doing my inaugural review for Power of Metal. I expected Borealis to be sludge or some serious thrash, just from the nature of the name, you know? Boy, was I wrong! Upon first listen to The Offering, I was pleasantly surprised by soaring progressive rock! Borealis hail from Orangeville, Ontario, and this is their fourth studio record. Their personnel is as follows: Matt Marinelli on guitars and vocals, Sean Werlick on keys, Trevor McBride on bass and Sean Dowell on drums. When you first hear The Offering, you may be surprised at the level of sophistication and musical ability these blokes have available at their fingertips.
All of the tracks on board are loaded with atmosphere and plenty of melodic firepower. There are no less than three tracks with most exquisite acoustic fingerpicking for their introduction: Devil’s Hand, Into the Light and Scarlet Angel. Their are other surprises as well. The Path is an excellent electric guitar showcase, worthy of Satchmo or Vai or Zakk! The title track features a big opening and lots of ethereal grandeur. There is also heavy riffing – lots of big guitar, and some good straight vocals with just a hair of growl to them. There are no less than two lead guitar solos also, which for me is always a sign of a good tune.
The remainder of the tracks here pretty much pounce on you right out of the gate. Charging, heavy guitars and plenty of excellent bass and drum work. The keyboards are more of a atmosphere instrument on several of the pieces here, but that is a good chunk of their job is to create the ambience, so to speak.
Sign of No Return begins life with creepy keys and then gives way to big guitar riffs and soaring vocals. You will find that this is a pattern with these guys. River and Second Son are similar in nature here; plenty of big vocals and big guitar. I can almost picture Matt with one foot on the monitor and vocalizing with the mic while riffing his brains out! The Awakening features some very melodic and powerful work from all of the members. The rhythm section is an absolutely churning hot mess here.
Forever Lost is another pretty heavy duty stomper. There might be some double bass drumming here. Kind of sounds like it.
The Ghosts of Innocence is the big one. How fitting that it is the final track. The vocal and piano interplay here is just wonderful.
If I had to say what I think of Borealis on first listen, I’d have to say two thumbs way up!
!. The Fire Between Us
2. Sign of No Return
3. The Offering
5. The Second Sun
6. The Devil's Hand
7. Into the Light
8. Scarlet Angel
10. The Path
11. Forever Lost
12. The Ghosts of Innocence
Playing Time: 42:00
Matt Marinelli - guitars and vocals
Sean Werlick - keyboards
Trevor McBride - bass
Sean Dowell - drums