Time, Unveiled is the third album from Aurora Borealis - a band that has very much impressed me over the last few months. Their brand of death/black metal filled with blistering technicality has really captured me, and albums like Timeline: The Beginning and End of Everything and Relinquish can be considered some of the best the genre has to offer. Time, Unveiled, while much more rough around the edges than the aforementioned albums, is still a damn good extreme metal observation that all fans of the band and genre should take a look into. If extremely punishing and memorable riffs are right up your alley, this album has plenty of them to offer.
The music on Time, Unveiled is death/black metal with nods in the direction of Morbid Angel, Deicide, and Panzerchrist. Aurora Borealis also has an added technical edge (especially in the drum department) that leads me to think of acts like Suffocation or The Faceless. The main black metal influence in the band's music rests in the high-pitched screaming vocals that sound like they're straight from the early Norwegian black metal movement. Some tremolo picking and blast-beat drumming may also hint more towards black metal than death metal. Regardless of whatever tags you want to give this band (I tend to think blackened death metal may be the most accurate), the most important part is that Time, Unveiled is filled with some of the most punishing and enjoyable extreme metal out there. The frantic drumming from Tim Yeung, top-notch fretwork from Ron Vento, and tortured vocals (also from Ron Vento) create an irresistibly heavy atmosphere - and the excellent compositions surely don't let these assets go to waste. The short playing time also allows for the album to feel like a quick punch in the face, rather than a drawn-out bore. Music this brutal needs to be fast and powerful - and that's exactly what Time, Unveiled is.
The only significant complaint I could come up with about this album is the production. Although certainly competent (this isn't bad by any means), it pales in comparison to the fantastic productions of the band's more recent releases. The drums sound a bit flat and the overall sound is pretty raw and unpolished. Although I have no issue with raw productions, Aurora Borealis' brand of technical songwriting demands a bit more of a professional sound. The two bonus tracks ("Sixteenth Chamber" and "Slave to the Grave") are also not mixed as well as the rest of the album - understandable since they are demo tracks, but it does make the album sound a bit uneven.
Although Time, Unveiled isn't the best entrance into the wonderful world of Aurora Borealis, it's a truly spectacular album that is unmistakably the work of these U.S. behemoths. If you've already tracked down the band's later efforts and are okay with an album that's a bit less polished than what you may be used to from these guys, this is another mandatory purchase. Time, Unveiled is worth a big 3.5 stars and a recommendation to all fans of black/death metal!
1. Triumph Again (4:23)
2. Sky Burial (5:15)
3. Searching (4:33)
4. Transversing the Tides (5:55)
5. Berserker (4:37)
6. The Last Day (4:52)
7. Reign (5:26)
8. Sixteenth Chamber (3:46)
9. Slave to the Grave (6:32)