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The Church

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The Church Priest = Aura album cover
3.98 | 49 ratings | 8 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Aura (6:59)
2. Ripple (6:03)
3. Paradox (3:59)
4. Lustre (5:45)
5. Swan Lake (2:26)
6. Feel (3:55)
7. Mistress (4:12)
8. Kings (4:35)
9. Dome (4:00)
10. Witch Hunt (1:27)
11. The Disillusionist (6:24)
12. Old Flame (1:37)
13. Chaos (9:34)
14. Film (3:56)

Total Time: 64:49

Bonus disc from 2005 SE:
1. Ripple (single Edit) (4:46)
2. Nightmare (3:39)
3. Fog (3:33)
4. Feel (extended Album Mix) (6:54)
5. Drought (3:20)
6. Unsubstantiated (3:31)

Total time 25:43

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Kilbey / lead vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar
- Peter Koppes / guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
- Marty Willson-Piper / guitar, backing vocals
- Jay Dee Daugherty / drums, percussion, keyboards

Note: The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

Artwork: Maude Gilman with David Katzenstein (photo)

LP Arista ‎- 212643 (1992, Germany)

CD Mushroom ‎- TVD93356 (1992, Australia)
2xCD EMI ‎- 7243 4 77617 2 0 (2005, Australia) Remastered by Don Bartley with bonus disc

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy THE CHURCH Priest = Aura Music

THE CHURCH Priest = Aura ratings distribution

(49 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (10%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

THE CHURCH Priest = Aura reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by maani
5 stars [Eighth in a series] With "Priest=Aura" - The Church's second "breakthrough" album - the band has unequivocally "arrived" as a progressive band to be reckoned with, exactly 10 years after their debut. Gone is any pretension of "hit-making," or even a "standard" approach. They have fully accepted who they are (and who their influences are), and have shaped and molded their sound into something mature, expansive, compelling and uncompromisingly creative. They have also mastered - truly mastered - the recording studio, taking full advantage of what can be done. (Needless to say, this album should be listened to with headphones.) In these regards, this album and its follow-up ("Sometime Anywhere") are their "Sgt. Pepper" and "Magical Mystery Tour," and belong in any collection of truly great prog-rock. / Beginning with the Moodies-like chords and expansive reverbed atmosphere at the opening of "Aura," you know that something different and wonderful has happened to the band. Kilbey then delivers a tour-de-force tale (in his now-trademark talk-singing style) of the power of love over hate, undergirded by a masterful arrangement full of solid keyboards, minimalist guitars, and almost impossibly lush atmospheres, all building to an outro that Floyd would be proud to claim as their own. "Ripple" has the band in superb form: solid beat, great guitar work, a truly haunting key change between verse and chorus, a wonderful instrumental break, another great outro, and another great "tale" from Kilbey. "Paradox" takes us into "dream" territory, with excellent interplay between guitars and keyboards, and hypnotic double vocals. "Lustre" is the "new" Church at its finest and most original, with a fantastic arrangement full of exciting key and texture changes, and yet another great "story" from Kilbey. "Swan Lake" is the first of three "mini-tunes" on the album (all under 2.5 minutes). Sardonically mocking, it is a beautifully concise waltz-time composition. "Feel" has a U2 feel, complete with a hopelessly infectious beat and Edge-like guitar riff, but filtered through the band's unique sensibilities. "Mistress" is a true Church original, clearly marking the band's unique brand of storytelling, arrangement and texture. "Kings" is another U2-ish song, with another Edge-inspired guitar riff and another infectious beat, along with another great Kilbey song-poem, again all filtered through the band's unique sensibilities. "Dome" is one of Kilbey's most poignant song-poems, underpinned by a deceptively simple arrangement. "Witch Hunt" is the second waltz-time "mini-tune," this time a humorous ditty about the dangers of helping people. "The Illusionist" is the story of a carnival-based pseudo-magician, with an extraordinary rhyming lyric supported by another deceptively simple arrangement (sort of like Dylan meets Floyd). "Old Flame" is the final "mini-tune," this one a gorgeous, bittersweet double-guitar piece. "Chaos" is an extended composition with the band's most aggressive performance thus far, including a neat beat (dig that subtle cabasa in the verses!), a Fripp-ish guitar figure, and a length Crimzoid instrumental section. "Film" closes the album with another great Church instrumental, this time an appropriately-titled composition that might have served well on a film score. / "Priest=Aura" is not simply a perfect album (no bad, or even "lesser," songs), but one on which not a single note or idea is out of place. From this point forward, The Church would produce only top-quality progressive albums full of creative, compelling and often exciting music.
Review by hdfisch
3 stars Edited 10/4/2005!

"Priest=Aura" sounds, at least for me, quite different from the previous albums and I would claim that this was their best one up to that moment. After the quite disappointing "Gold Afternoon Fix" it was definitively a big step forward. The sound is quite dark and in fact quite similar to gothic rock but there are not that much jangling guitars dominating as in previous albums.

It's a rather good album with atmospheric songs that are nice to listen and it sounds a bit in the vein of The Cure (around "Disintegration" album), especially the last song "Film" which could have come easily from there. Most of the songs remind me either to this band or maybe New Model Army. The only difference to those bands is that THE CHURCH are using discreet atmospheric keyboards in their music but overall guitar playing in New Wave style is dominating. Best song for me is the epic "Chaos" with its scary synthesizer sounds and slightly weird guitar play. The rest of the songs are all very nice but without any of them being outstanding. Good for 3 stars I would say!

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Here we go for what is considered as the highlight in "The Church" career. It was the occasion for me to get acquainted with an old "friend" since Jay Dee Daugherty who is the drummer of "The Patti Smith Group" is sitting behind the drum kit. for this release.

As soon as "Aura" starts, the feeling is rather positive. The oppressive beat (great bass work) reminds me of some Roxy songs ("Manifesto" for sure). Same decadent atmosphere which I like quite a bunch. Even if vocals are quite monochord, they fit perfectly with the global mood of this excellent opener.

The same good experience is prolonged with "Ripple" which conveys the same and gloomy approach. A dark, sombre universe is at reach?I already have mentioned the huge influence of the great "Echo & The Bunnymen" on the music of "The Church" (on "Starfish" for instance). This is again very much noticeable on "Priest=Aura". Just have a listen to the fine "Lustre" to be convinced.

The melancholic tone and some sadness that can be felt throughout this work can be at times a bit "too much". The short "Swan Lake" doesn't bring a lot of fun for sure! Some more dynamics could have been implemented to break this general and oppressive feeling.

And the more the albums develops, the more the feeling of too much of the same prevails ("Kings", "Dome"). Under these circumstances, some cut would have been welcome to avoid some boredom being installed during these sixty-five minutes (fifty would have been enough as far as I'm concerned).

The first four songs were promising and the last couple are again attractive, but the core middle part is at times dull.

As I have said, towards the end of this album, a song like "Chaos" saves the day: a great rock tune with a very strong rhythmic and finally some punch. The Bunnymen are again sitting next door. And I like it.

Three stars for this good album. To be complete, I would say that the prog feel is only related?

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. Steve Kilby the bass / vocalist for THE CHURCH was (as he says) in the "honeymoon stage" of his opium addiction when writing and recording this album. He pretty much dreamed up the lyrics and sound of this album while in an opium haze. He wrote the lyrics in a trance-like state. He would later pay dearly for this addiction. Steve says he did everything he had always wanted to do on this album. Steve Kilby is one of the few people on this planet that I would pay to hear give a speech. He's one of the great characters in music. Okay let's get back to "Priest=Aura". The disconnected vocals, the atmosphere, the clear and perfect sound, the melancholy and darkness it all adds up to this being the best album THE CHURCH have ever made.There were no attempts at hit songs or bowing to the wants of the record label.They made the album they wanted to make. End of story.This is one of those albums that is difficult to describe because I can't make you feel the emotion I feel at times or hear the depth of the cavernous sounds all around me.

"Aura" is a top five tune for me. I love the sound when it kicks in with vocals before a minute. Nice bass here too.The beat stops 6 1/2 minutes in as the atmosphere takes over and sounds cry out. "Ripple" is another top five. Jangly guitars as vocals join in then it kicks in just before a minute. Guitar only before 4 1/2 minutes then it kicks back in instrumentally to the end. A powerful sound here. "Paradox" gets fuller with vocals quickly. Some backing vocals in this one. "Lustre" opens with bass and atmosphere as the guitar and drums join in, then vocals and a fuller sound follows. Atmosphere ends it. Nice. "Swan Lake" is a short tune with a relaxing beat and vocals. "Feel" sounds really good especially the bass and drums. "Mistress" is a top five.There's an emotion I feel while listening to this amazing tune.The focus is on the vocals. "Kings" opens with jangly guitars as reserved vocals come in. Atmosphere 2 1/2 minutes in then back to the vocals and earlier sound. Excellent track.

"Dome" has a beat with guitar as the vocals join in. Catchy stuff. "Witch Hunt" is all about the rhythm and lyrics. "The Disillusionist" builds quickly as vocals arrive. Dual vocals on the chorus and this has a catchy beat as well. "Old Flame" is dreamy with vocals. "Chaos" is a top five too.The longest track at 9 1/2 minutes. Atmosphere as chunky bass joins in.The guitar comes in as it builds.Vocals join in as the guitar cries out. Amazing sound that erupts 4 1/2 minutes in then rebuilds. A calm with atmosphere 7 1/2 minutes in to end it. "Film" is the final top five for me. Such a rich sound here and it turns heavier after 1 1/2 minutes then settles back as contrasts continue. A calm with atmosphere after 3 minutes to end it.

There is a spiritual componet to this album that can't be ignored. Not surprising perhaps considering the band's name and the title of this record. If going to church was as much of an experience as listening to this album I might actually go.

Review by Warthur
4 stars The Church's usual jangle pop sound is informed somewhat by the aesthetic and style of shoegaze on Priest=Aura, though whilst at first it might seem that they are riding the bandwagon driven by the likes of My Bloody Valentine or Ride (and Ride does seem to be a strong influence here), pretty soon it becomes apparent that The Church is steering it in a direction of their choosing. Updating their sound without wrecking it or losing sight of what was so magical about their previous work, The Church find themselves just as strong coming into the 1990s as they were in the past decade.

Latest members reviews

4 stars It's strange to see The Church here. However, this is a must, particularly album. Perhaps most progressive of the Australian band is in some surprising EP's, in songs like 'So Love May Find Us' (Pangaea), and 'Night Sequence' (Back with Two Beasts). Here in "Priest ..." we might mention the overw ... (read more)

Report this review (#1352676) | Posted by sinslice | Saturday, January 24, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars First, I must elaborate on how I came to find The Church, and how over 35 years of music buying, they are one of the most endearing bands to me. I first came across them in a review of "Priest=Aura" by the local rock critic in the Erie(PA) Daily News. He gave the CD high marks, which prompted m ... (read more)

Report this review (#130713) | Posted by beebs | Sunday, July 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In a another review I mentioned that The Church reached their artistical top twice (which doesn't mean most of their overall work is quite worth it). The second time was with this album, and from my point of view this one was the best album they have released to date. The self confidence, matur ... (read more)

Report this review (#52733) | Posted by shyman | Saturday, October 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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