When the Canadian band Borealis started, their musical direction differed completely from the music they produce nowadays. After having exchanged their classical female vocalist for guitarist Matt Marinelli from their own ranks, the musical style changed to power metal. In 2008, Borealis released their debut album World Of Silence, now followed by Fall From Grace. For this new record Borealis have chosen for a more direct and heavier sound, mixing the power of Savatage and Evergrey with the progressive touch of Symphony X and a singer that has some similarities with the melodic rock vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. Nothing to be ashamed of and record label Lion Music must have thought the same, because Borealis were offered to release their latest album on this renowned label.
The majority of the songs can be referred to as progressive power metal. Songs as Fall From Grace, Take You Over and Forgotten Forever contain up-tempo and straightforward power metal wherein the guitars of Matt Marinelli and Ken Forbert play a lot of powerful riffs, while the bass of Jamie Smith rumbles and roars. However, the musician that attracts the most attention throughout the album is the rolling thunder drum monster Sean Dowell. He's a tremendous drummer, but I think the drums have been mixed a bit too far in the front, which sometimes causes the quality of the other instrumentalists to be difficult to distinguish. Nevertheless, the compositions are great and powerful. Other songs have a more melodic drive with a prominent role for Sean Welick's keyboards like in Breaking The Curse and Regeneration. For me, the album contains three songs competing for the best of the album: Where We Started, with a furious guitar sound and a continuous propulsive drive, the killer opener Finest Home with some nice death metal grunts, and the album's semi-acoustic ballad Watch The World Collapse. All three songs stand out because they're different from the rest and have, so to say, a bit more 'personality' of their own.
With their previous album World Of Silence, Borealis kept in the shades of their better known colleagues as far as progressive power metal is concerned. With Fall Out Of Grace they step into the major league that will always find its way to the fans of the genre. A hard working band like Borealis truly deserves to be up there.
*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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