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Terra Relicta Top 20 Of 2018



01. Amorphis -
Queen Of Time
02. Dimmu Borgir -
Eonian
03. Khôrada - Salt
04. Immortal -
Northern Chaos Gods
05. MGT -
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06. Summoning -
With Doom We Come
07. Crone -
Godspeed
08. Primordial -
Exile Amongst The Ruins
09. Atrium Carceri & Herbst9 -
Ur Djupan Dal
10. Mournful Congregation -
The Incubus Of Karma

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Auri - Auri (2018) - Review

Band: Auri
Album title: Auri
Release date: 23 March 2018
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Tracklist:
01. The Space Between
02. I Hope Your World Is Kind
03. Skeleton Tree
04. Desert Flower
05. Night 13
06. See
07. The Name Of The Wind
08. Aphrodite Rising
09. Savant
10. Underthing Solstice
11. Them Thar Chanterelles (feat. Liquor In The Well)

The encompassing talent of Finnish composer and virtuoso Tuomas Holopainen is really outstanding, not only that he's the founder and the main man behind most of the compositions of one of the most influential and world’s most successful symphonic metal bands of our time, Nightwish, and innovative pioneer for an entire genre, now he took a little break from his main band and together with exceptional vocalist, Tuomas' wife Johanna Kurkela, who should be known as a solo artist and to metal heads as a guest vocalist on Sonata Arctica' album The Days Of Grays (2009), and his band mate Troy Donockley, went on a musical adventure called Auri. Tuomas is in Auri responsible for keys and backing vocals, Johanna is of course the main vocalist, while Troy plays guitars, bouzouki, uilleann pipes and more other unusual folk instruments. The name Auri is taken from Patrick Rothfuss books which as well in a big part influenced the lyrical world of this project. Auri is also a Finnish maiden name and derives from the Latin term Aurora, which means dawn. 

Auri in its essence is not a metal band, far from that, you won't find any heavy guitars in here, this is simply another musical world, it's dreamy, ethereal and very emotional atmospheric music that is hard to categorize, but certainly the elements of folk and Celtic music are most evident. Auri is absolutely an immersive album that needs a devoted listener who's is able to sit back, put headphones on and simply sink into this beautiful sonic world. Of course that we can notice in the background some typical Dark Passion Play or Imaginaerum Nightwish elements here, but this kind of music will on the first place fill the gap between Blackmore's Night, Wardruna and Dead Can Dance. It's like a soundtrack made up of some of the most magical and surreal moments that will for sure take the listener into the depths, and in there a world of wonder and miracles awaits behind the mirrors. Are you ready?

The album opens up in a very addictive way with some fascinatingly catchy melodies with "The Space Between". Extremely hypnotizing electronic beats and sequeces are in perfect harmony with driving Celtic/folk base line that is beautifully enriched with absolutely enthralling voice of Johanna. It simply brings shivers down the spine how lush and mesmerizing is the whole thing. It's difficult to separate tracks, because put together Auri offers an intense sonic journey full of emotions. Just listen how strong and magical is everything in "I Hope Your World Is Kind", a true fairytale, or how in perfect harmonius symbiosis is the celtic rowdy and danceable "Skeleton Tree", you'll feel like beign thrown back in time for some three or four centuries, dancing and drinking in the field in front of some medieval castle. The imagination will for sure have its moments while listening to those 11 songs.

In baladic "Desert Flower" we can enjoy in a beautiful male/female vocal duet, and just enjoy in how splendid way the song builds up in tension, even though that's the characteristic of almost every single piece here. Smoothly and lightly these fascinating haunting highly atmospheric ethereal melodies will get under your skin before you'll even know it. The evocative epic-romantic ethno pop of "Night 13" follows in the similar vein like the opener, before Auri takes a step into a bit more sophisticated teritories in the second half of the album. Still keeping everything as magical and flowing as it could be, sometimes yearning and dreamy, then again rousing and intense. The one who enters the world of Auri with his mind and body will simply enjoy in everything that it offers, in the tribalistic powerful percussions of "See", in cinematic dream sequences and enchanting vocals in "The Name Of The Wind", in the sweet melancholy of "Aphrodite Rising", in the darkness of both "Savant" and epic Celtic beauty named "Underthing Solstice" with some truly mesmerizing string instruments, organ and pipes, or in the dramatic playfully cinematic last one "Them Thar Chanterelles (feat. Liquor In The Well)".

Albums like this rarely come out. Auri is a staggering dynamic sonic journey from start to finish, it's the result of a shared passion of three magnificient musicians who united to celebrate a kind of epic-romantic ethno pop that seems to float in quaint spheres, which are intangible yet unleash multi-faceted soundscapes filled with powerful imagery. They did it and now it's up on us to enjoy in these comprehensive sound cascades full of magical and surreal moments that touch all senses. I only hope that Auri is not just a one time thing and that in the future they will still make some music for us to experience the unfathomable sonic depth.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9,5/10

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The Mephisto Waltzes is a cracked and crazed rollercoaster ride through a twisted universe populated by grotesque monsters, deviant freaks and irresistible, ghoulish heroines. The second offering of Devilment features nine tracks full of gothy/horror metal with a lot of creepy atmospheric soundscapes. It's a haunting and often captivatingly extreme, often with some black metal in it, but not only, there are plenty of NWOBHM and typical hard rock hooks, and all this manifests in great dynamics that The Mephisto Waltzes offers. It's nice to hear and see that Devilment are becoming such an entity on its own. Everything shines even more because of great production that adds another degree of heaviness to the whole thing. Devilment became with this album a wholly distinctive unholy force, with an intuitive understanding of the value of shattering every mirror and stepping through into an alternate dimension where rulebooks smoulder and hell’s gates are thrown open for an unhinged but celebratory knees-up, and certainly a genuine force to be reckoned with.

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