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Aura: Underwater

Underwater is the 4th studio album my Italian Progressive Metal band Aura. The Aura project started in 1996 by drummer (and lead vocalist) Giovanni Trotta and his friends, bassist Angelo Cerquagliao and guitarist Guiseppe Bruno, all with a common interest in 70’s prog rock and the metal music scene of the 80’s and early 90’s, they were later joined by keyboardist Francesco Di Verniere. Their sound is great and polished, all instruments are very well appreciated during the listening experience, however their proposal is not unique and some of the songs end up being a little dull or flat, opposite to memorable. “Lost Over Time” is a very good song, and right from the start the dreamy melodies and atmospheric vocals make themselves clearly present, and will become a landmark throughout the whole record, sometimes they’re too much, sometimes they are quite remarkable. “Keep it Safe” and “On Time” sound more like a mix of mid 90’s grunge with heavy metal nuances and very few prog-like elements, a formula that I have been finding a lot lately in post 2000’s European prog rock bands, and I don’t love it… yes there are some tempo changes and odd time signatures that tease with the sound of bands like Opeth, Haken, and even Porcupine Tree, but in a much lighter version. “Time to Live” is a hook, a little repetitive though, but the attractive melodies and instrumentation are there, a sketch to be improved in the next song “My Last Words to You”, one of my favorites from the album, with a great guitar work by Bruno. “Promises” might be the darker sounding song, very well crafted and stands as another highlight thanks to the great conversation between bass guitar and drums, a very tight sounding friendship there!

“Eternal Bliss” is ok… the problem that I find here in general is that a few songs sound somehow the same, perhaps because of how they create the vocal melodies and harmonies on top of the heavy music, however the song has a cool and forceful second half, so not that flat after all. The best 10 minutes of the album arrive with “Lights Behind the Clouds” (mostly instrumental) and the title track “Underwater”… out the flavorless filling and in the meaty and flavorful stuff, love the keyboards in both songs, they add that progressive ambience to the metallic riffing and heavy drumming, bass fantastic as well… a great duo of songs, and that’s how it should have ended… on a high peak… but then the band closes the album with a Pink Floyd cover… thankfully not with one of those perennial songs that everybody does, but with quite a challenging one, the psychedelic rock hymn “Astronomy Domine”, well executed but almost exactly the same as the original, the unique Aura-twist is very minimal. A song that doesn’t hurt the album but doesn’t enhance it either. Not sure if I will dig deeper into their previous three albums, maybe I will… but as for now, just a cool listen of a new album by a very talented band. Cheers!

Track Listing:

  1. Lost Over Time (5:17)
  2. Keep It Safe (4:06)
  3. On Time (4:53)
  4. Time To Live (4:17)
  5. My Last Words to You (5:14)
  6. Promises (5:10)
  7. Eternal Bliss (3:53)
  8. Lights Behind the Clouds (5:40)
  9. Underwater (5:01)
  10. Astronomy Domine (PF Cover) (4:17)

Added: September 24th 2022
Reviewer: Jose Antonio Marmol
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 712
Language: english

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