Label: AFM Records
Release date: October 7th, 2022
Canadian melodic metallers Borealis return with their fifth album “Illusions” which is a continuation of the story from their previous album “The Offering” but takes place years later through the eyes of the children and how the traumatic events they experienced have shaped their lives. The album opens with some amazing vocals from Christine Hals which lead into the current single “Ashes to Rain” an epic start to this release its full of orchestrations and delicious vocals from Matt Marinelli and riffs from guitarist Ken Forbert as the rhythm section of Aiden Watkinson and Sean Dowell deliver the goods, this is one track I keep returning to its heroic and captivating. “My Fortress” is a song I relate to with its lyrics hitting home, its seven minutes of progressive heaven and delivers on all fronts a simply sublime number, the message is so strong and musicianship intense the heavy bass and power-driven drums mixed with the chugging guitars make this a wonderful soundscape and my favorite track on here.
The emotive vocals of Marinelli really drive home on “Pray for Water” along with some great driven guitars from Forbert and Marinelli. Lynsey Ward guests on “Burning Tears” this is a mellower track that’s spine-tinglingly beautiful, that will even melt the hardest of hearts. Things are ramped up big style with chugging guitars and a monstrous back beat “Believer” sways and twists and turns on a rollercoaster of emotions. Next, we get the thumping “Light of the sun” a prog metal-infused piece that’s unforgiving in its delivery. “Face of Reality” is vibrant and heals a broken soul, reaching out and picking at your heartstrings. The pedal is pressed firmly down to the metal as “Bury me alive” rocks up next.
Then to the penultimate track “Abandon all hope” another deep and meaningful song with a feel-good attitude. Then we come to the finale a massive eleven minutes unfolds as “The Phantom Silence” takes you on a magical carpet ride of many emotions, this is a triumphant finish to “Illusions”.
I do remember catching these guys at PPM Fest in Mons, Belgium they were fantastic live, and kind of sadly slipped my mind until this album surfaced! That festival was well over five years ago and since then we have had the pandemic and a personal loss myself. This is an album you don’t just listen to you absorb it and is a must for any melodic progressive metal fans. highly recommended.
NB: This work of art has the added work of composer and multi-instrumentalist Vikram Shankar (Silent Skies, Redemption, Lux Terminus) who was brought in to compose all the orchestra and synth elements for the album.
Reviewer: Seb Di Gatto Score:9/10
Illusions (ft. Christine Hals)
Ashes Turn To Rain
Pray For Water
Burning Tears (ft. Lynsey Ward)
Light Of The Sun
Face Of Reality
Bury Me Alive
Abandon All Hope
The Phantom Silence
Matt Marinelli (Vocals & Guitars)
Ken Fobert (Guitars)
Aiden Watkinson (Bass)
Sean Dowell (Drums)