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Aurora Project, The: World of Grey

I first became aware of Netherland's The Aurora Project back in 2009 when I reviewed their second disc Shadow Border. I really dug their progressive metal sound but I have to admit it has been a few years since I have listened to the band. I remember purchasing their 2013 release Selling The Aggression which I also liked a lot. Since that album the band was struck by the tragic loss of their guitarist Marc Vooijs, which was understandably a huge blow to the band. After some time off they regrouped releasing A Night to Remember in 2015 and is back again with a new album titled World of Grey. The band's lineup has stayed remarkably consistent over the years and includes Marcel Guijt (keyboards), Dennis Binnekade (vocals), Remco van den Berg (guitar), Rob Krijgsman (bass) and Joris Bol (drums).

The most noticeable difference in their sound is the new music is a little less heavy than before going from progressive metal to more of a melodic prog sound. What the band hasn't changed are the moody atmospheres and top quality musicianship as World of Grey is an outstanding effort that would have made my 'best of' list of 2016 had it not been released so late in the year.

Every band member plays a role, led by the unique vocals of Binnekade. His slightly accented voice is completely endearing to these ears, very tuneful and melodic. The vocal arrangements are also very good offering more than the occasional moment of sublime catchiness. The tunes are built on moody keyboards, often used for textural atmosphere and excellent guitar work in the form of chugging riffs, textural chords and dynamic soloing with a clean and expressive tone. If I had to give comparisons I would say early Marillion, Pallas and Arena are solid reference points. That said, The Aurora Project have a pretty unique sound, fairly dark and atmospheric and are clones of no one.

High points include the melodic opener "Expect Us" and its dynamic guitar riffs and orchestral keyboards, the darkly atmospheric "Stone Eagle" along with the catchy guitar riffs in "Warmongers" and the irresistible catchiness of "Deadly Embrace" and "Mediapuppets" where Marillion certainly comes to mind. Really, I could have chosen any of the eight tracks as they are all excellent.

It doesn't get much better than World of Grey for moody atmospheric progressive rock that is both catchy and thought provoking. Oh yeah, this is also a concept album so there's that as well. Really, this band should get more attention than it does, so please check them out.

Released on Freia Music.

Track Listing:
1. Expect Us
2. Warmongers
3. Stone Eagle
4. Deadly Embrace
5. Mediapuppets
6. World of Grey
7. Circles in the Water
8. Dronewars

Added: January 28th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1720
Language: english

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