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The Aurora Project - Shadow Border CD (album) cover


The Aurora Project

Progressive Metal

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Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. THE AURORA PROJECT are from The Netherlands and have been making music for about 10 years now, this is their second studio record. I must admit I was really surprised to see them listed under Prog-Metal after spending a few days with this record as I thought this was more like Heavy-Prog or Heavy-Neo. ARENA came to mind quite often. Mind you I haven't heard the debut which may be more in the Metal style. Anyway this is a good album that i'm sure will be rated fairly highly on this site. The vocals are good but not great and they have an accent, while the music contrasts the heavy and lighter passages constantly.

"Human Gateway" sounds so good to open as the sound builds until it kicks in heavily after a minute. Unfortunately it settles and vocals come in. Heavier again after 3 1/2 minutes and some blistering guitar to end it. "The Trial" opens with synths and heaviness. Vocals before a minute. It settles then kicks back in. "Photonic Reunion" opens with waves of synths as reserved vocals join in. It gets heavier a minute in but then lighter a minute later. Themes are repeated.

"The Confession" is heavy to open but settles when the vocals come in. Contrasts continue. Nice guitar after 3 1/2 minutes. "Another Dream" is mellow with synths as reserved vocals join in. It's fuller sounding before 2 minutes. These odd spoken words come and go. "Within The Reality" is heavy to open but settles quickly (I know i'm like a broken record) as reserved vocals come in. Spoken words before 4 minutes and later to end it. "Shadow Border" is the almost 16 1/2 minute closer. More of those contrasts throughout although it gets really heavy duty 11 minutes in.

I would have liked this a lot more if the lighter passages were removed with the vocals. Still a good album.

Report this review (#222573)
Posted Monday, June 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Only three ratings (of which one review) and an average of 3,17. No wonder this album (and band) doesn't get the attention it deserves. I have been waiting for this successor anxiously for several years because I got intrigued after their very fine debut and an impressive gig at Symforce in 2007. Shadow Border is an excellent follow up of the near excellent debut and I wil explain why.

Unspoken Words was already great at its best moments but this album contained too many spoken passages (interludes without music) and was diminished somewhat because of those. What I already liked then and like even much more on this successor is the performances of both an excellent guitarist (Remco van den Berg) and maybe even more impressive vocalist (Dennis Binnekade) and that's a surprise coming from me because I usually don't care to much for the vocal department. But Dennis creates the sound for this high quality band and it's a shame really that so few people take the chance to check them out. In this way Shadow Border becomes a hidden gem, hail to the hidden gem but I think Aurora Project would like to see their efforts get rewarded a bit more.

I sure do because I want justice and justice is only done when this album gets 100+ ratings on this site and a (very) high average. So come on. prog metal fans: what are you waiting for ? Quit this boycott and check it out and as I always say: if you don't it's your loss. Aurora Project plays ambient and high class prog metal that in style and quality comes close to Riverside. Okay, maybe they are not quite on that huge level yet but to be compared to this great Polish band is already a big compliment I would think. 4,25 stars for Shadow Border.

Report this review (#246292)
Posted Monday, October 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dutch The Aurora Project started in 1999, the music was based on having hours of jam sessions. The band its debut was released worldwide in 2006 by Dutch record company DVS Records and was also worldwide highly praised for its 'unique sound'. After releasing the album, they went on tour in order to promote the album. The Aurora Project was invited twice (2005 and 2008) for the prestigious Dutch Progpower Festival, played Dutch Symforce and German Deichbrand Festival, went on tour in Holland and Belgium with Riverside and Van Den Plas and were the support-act of Pain of Salvation, RPWL and Treshold. In 2007 a dream came true for the band when they played a sold-out Paradiso Amsterdam, for 1500 people. In 2008 The Aurora Project went into the studio to record their second album 'Shadow Border'. The album was released worldwide 5th May 2009 by the legendary USA progrock label The Laser's Edge, that successfully launched acts like Riverside, Zero Hour and Knight Area in the past.

On their second album Shadow Border the Dutch The Aurora Project deliver seven melodic compositions that alternate between Heavy Prog, neo-prog and symphonic rock. The music features strong guitar work (lots of howling, sensitive and harder-edged guitar solos along exciting propulsive riffs), decent English vocals and a very pleasant keyboard layering. There is also often a huge tension between the dreamy parts with twanging guitars, soaring keyboards and emotional vocals and the more bombastic, heavy and up-tempo parts with powerful guitar leads and sumptuous keyboards. My highlight is the final epic composition Shadow Border (almost 17 minutes) that showcases The Aurora Project in its full splendour. It starts with Floydian guitar work, then a catchy beat with fiery guitar and a very dynamic rhythm- section, at some moments the atmosphere is close to prog metal. Halfway a part with thunderous drums that support a flashy synthesizer solo, followed by a dreamy climate with warm vocals and twanging acoustic guitars. This turns into a prog metal atmosphere with impressive choir-Mellotron eruptions. The final part delivers a howling guitar solo, lush keyboards and strong drum beats, this is Prog Heaven!

What a very professional and wonderful sounding effort by this Dutch band, it's good to read that The Aurora Project still appeals to many progheads who like their dynamic, modern and melodic progrock.

Report this review (#1915665)
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2018 | Review Permalink
3 stars Progressive metal is a hard genre to crack. Too many bands end up with the same sound and no outstanding features that they just don't sound really remarkable.

The Aurora Project hail from the Netherlands with "Shadow Border", their second full length album, and while they're experienced musicians, this album still shows youth in their sound. I'm not the biggest fan of the guitar tones and the lyrics over all are fairly bland and uninteresting. "Human Gateway" is slow enough to have a bit of Opeth-ish feel during the slower passages, while "the Trial" screams early Fates Warning to me. Right away, I just get a bunch of influences from other bands, which isn't band, but there's no "Aurora" sound, not yet anyway.

"Photonic Reunion" is the first track to feature some diverse tempo changes and and a different sound palette, not to mention as the shortest track of the album, it doesn't overstay its welcome, but the chorus has a bit of a nod to Dream Theater and "Beyond This Life". In fact, the next tune "The Confession" has a brutal heavy chord progression similar to "A Nightmare to Remember" (funny considering both tracks were released the same year).

"Another Dream" has some interesting verses, "Within the Realms" has some nice guitar solos after a nice three minute atmospheric break, and the self-titled track finally shows off even more of the musicians instrumental prowess and a series of changes in texture and sound.

Overall, the album is full of solid tracks ("Photonic Reunion", "Within The Realms", "Shadow Border"), but the album overall is just enough to just above average. The influences from other contemporaries are there, but there's just not enough to make it a standout album.

Report this review (#2263536)
Posted Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Review Permalink

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