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Released: 2014, Xtreem Music
I last crossed paths with blackened death metal warriors Aurora Borealis way back in the year 2000 with their uninspiring NORTHERN LIGHTS album. I quickly lost interest, but band leader Ron Vento forged ahead and has released three more well-respected albums since then. Fourteen years later and the good folks over at Xtreem Music have passed Aurora Borealis’ sixth full-length release over to me for review.
Remembering my less than enthusiastic reaction to NORTHERN LIGHTS, I approached this album with some trepidation. However, as soon as “God Like Redemption” began, my face was firmly pasted to the wall and I happily allowed myself to be drawn in to the band’s thundering tales of science fiction. To be clear, there isn’t a hell of a lot on WORLDSHAPERS that seasoned fans of blackened death metal haven’t already heard, but Vento and crew have clearly mastered writing and playing this genre and therefore the album is a hugely successful listen from beginning to end. There are peaks and valleys of course, and personal favorites do emerge, largely on how interesting / twisted the lyrics are (“Induced Mutation”, yeah!). Crushing riffs make themselves known, and Vento’s poisonous caw is effective if not particularly memorably, but Aurora Borealis is a band that thinks big, and makes their total package reflect that mindset. The music, lyrics, and album artwork all tie together making WORLDSHAPERS an incredibly effective music experience.
While the music is not particularly haunting or atmospheric, it instead goes straight for the jugular, thrashing away until the blood flows. By the time Vento howls the titular line from “This is the Way They Chose to Die”, I was enraptured.
Aurora Borealis have certainly used their two decades in the scene well, as this album could be used as a master class example of how to do things right. This is a damn satisfying album and I’m definitely going to back and check out the albums I’ve missed out on.
1) In the Beginning
2) God Like Redemption
3) World Shapers
4) Induced Mutation
5) The Oldest of Dilemmas
6) Watchers from Above
7) This is the Way They Chose to Die
8) A Subtle Way to Eradicate Them
9) Silent War
10) And to the Stars Returned
Ron Vento: Vocals, Guitar, Programming
Jason Ian-Vaughn Eckert: Bass
Mark Green: Drums
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