I once wrote these Canadians off as a Evergrey knock-off, but it would seem that with this sophomore effort, Borealis are shaping up to be something truly noteworthy. I think the real reason for that might very well be their frontman Matt Martinelli, who is a dead-ringer for a young Tom Englund. That being said, Martinelli seems to bring his own approach to the chorus lines here, which hit fast, hard and heavy enough to get implanted upon your consciousness from the first listen. It’s just that kind of album and a real sing-along at that. I can’t sing like either Tom Englund or Matt Martinelli, but the record certainly makes me want to try emulating such wonderful performances. Also, I like that Martinelli doesn’t oversing on the disc quite like many of the singers on Fox’s version of American Idol or NBC’s The Voice. That being said, I really wish that I could say something about the rest of the band, but the synths are too low in the mix and nearly non-existent, while the drums pound and the leads are almost completely destroyed by the vocal mix. I mean, I know that singing along with Martinelli is the reason that I would go out and by this album, but the fact of the matter is that aside from some solos here and there, the record doesn’t offer much more in lieu of guitar work. Yes, while Martinelli and Ken Fobert are both killing it as far as the guitar solos are concerned; aside from a handful of melodies, there’s just not much else to be had. You sing along with the vocals, you pull out your air-guitar and you do that from song to song until the disc reaches its climax.
If you want me to be perfectly honest, listeners are getting slightly technical (you know, djent here and there) and slightly progressive (in the vein of an act like Scar Symmetry, minus the death metal bits) melodic power metal with slight punches here and there. Again, it isn’t a bad performance, but know that what you’re getting here sounds a bit pretentious in its level of synth-orchestral pomp glitter. What’s more, is that they even cut off some solo sections (The end of “River” for example) which has always been a pet peeve of mine. That means that listeners will have to see the band live in order to hear the entire song. But I digress. In the end, there’s nothing ultimately wrong with the performance and I’m sure that you’ll jam it out and love it just the same as you would any of their previous recordings. They didn’t make a rap metal disc or experiment with polka this time around, so we can be thankful for that. Borealis aren’t really giving us anything that we haven’t already heard before, but with a performance like this, you won’t find me complaining all that much about it. In fact, many of my issues here were slight nitpicking and just a little bit of bitching on my part.
Simply put, Borealis continue to do what they do best here on their fourth outing; which I think fans of melodic metal are going to jump up and down for. But instead of doing that, they should probably run down to their nearest record shop and pick up a copy of the album for themselves.
(12 Tracks, 61:00)
Purchase HERE (Label Shop)