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3 stars Italian band AURA have been around in one form or another since 1996, but it took the band 12 years to get to the point of releasing their debut "A Different View from the Same Side". A further three years went by before their second full length production saw the light of day. "Deliverance" is the name of this creation, which was released through Spider Rock Promotions in 2011.

What we're dealing with in this case is a band exploring a fairly typical variety of progressive metal. Early 1990's Dream Theater is as good a comparison as any, their "Awake" era as the main comparison as far as general sound is concerned. Aura tends to focus on the less elaborate part of this overall style I might add, reducing the amount of quirky technical sequences while honing in on melodic, harmonic arrangements in general.

The band has a fine vocalist in Giovanni Trotta, who represents the somewhat unusual combination of being the drummer as well as the lead vocalist. A steady and accomplished sticksman, but to my ears more impressive as a vocalist with clear, melodic and finely controlled vocals throughout. In that particular department Aura shies away from aforementioned Dream Theater quite a bit, the dramatic, intense vocals that band tends to employ not a feature at all on this production.

The gnarly, warm and fairly organic guitar sound used throughout this disc will be more familiar to fans of Dream Theater however, as will the frequent guitar and organ combinations placed side by side with sweeping, majestic keyboard cascades underscored and contrasted nicely and effectively by the guitars. The token passages sporting a driving bass guitar motif is a nice addition to Aura's sonic palette too, a feature I wouldn't mind encountering more often myself.

Deliverance is an epic construction, a single piece of music divided into ten parts. A well worked out specimen of it's kind and well performed, but to my ears many parts do become too predictable or too typical in structure, sound and development. Those with a generally soft spot for this particular type of progressive metal won't mind that I suspect, but as far as making an impression goes this makes the band and the album come across as somewhat anonymous. An act residing in the middle of the vast mass of bands out there trying to make it whilst exploring this type of music.

Aura does have a few details on their side though. Pieces like Egypt's Call, sporting some fine exotic resonances, some nice and well worked out themes in general with the main theme of The Glorious Day as another highlight in that department, and a very nice and compelling guitar sound in general. As the topic explored is a Biblical one, unless I'm much mistaken, their competition among the religious oriented part of the marketplace won't be that severe either. If you desire music with a certain message and like this style of music, Aura is among the better bands out there within that specific segment. A fine album overall, and while it doesn't contain any major surprises and is somewhat predictable, it should satisfy those who like and enjoy accessible, melodic progressive metal of the Dream Theater school quite nicely.

Report this review (#856179)
Posted Sunday, November 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 stars for sure

Aura is one of the unfairly unknown italian progressive metal band formed around 2000 with 3 albums in their pockets so far. When I discovered this band because of their debut A Different View From The Same Side in 2008, i was quite pleasent surprised about their music and skills and decided to check them further if a new album will apear. Well the new album then was released in 2011 named simply Deliverance. From the art work and excellent booklet to music, to me this album is a winner. What is quite diffrent then most of the bands from this genre is that the drumer is also the vocalist, is for sure a winning point because Giovanni Trotta can handle both vocals and druming quite well and with an amazing ease, and above all has a very powerful voice for prog metal. Another highlight for me are the keyboards arrangements and with guitar chops melted together and with the druming and bass lines the result is a quite technical melodic prog metal recommended for fans of the genre. Pieces like opening The Arrival, Egyptian call and the instrumental one show potential in this album, but somehow lost in the hundreds of albums with same attitude in last years. Definetly DT is the main influence but I find a lots of 70's italian prog in their arrangements, specially in keyboards department. All in all for me a total good album towards great, beautifully written, well played, Deliverance can easy be heared by fans of the genre.

Report this review (#1915029)
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2018 | Review Permalink

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