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Terra Relicta Top 20 Of 2018



01. Aeon Sable
- Aether
02. Amorphis
- Queen Of Time
03. Atrium Carceri
- Codex
04. Dimmu Borgir
- Eonian
05. Behemoth
- I Loved You At Your Darkest
06. The Eternal
- Waiting For The Endless Dawn
07. MGT
- Gemini Nyte
08. Primordial
- Exile Amongst The Ruins
09. Khôrada
- Salt
10. Immortal
- Northern Chaos Gods

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Auri - Auri (2018) - Review

Band: Auri
Album title: Auri
Release date: 23 March 2018
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Tracklist:
01. The Space Between
02. I Hope Your World Is Kind
03. Skeleton Tree
04. Desert Flower
05. Night 13
06. See
07. The Name Of The Wind
08. Aphrodite Rising
09. Savant
10. Underthing Solstice
11. Them Thar Chanterelles (feat. Liquor In The Well)

The encompassing talent of Finnish composer and virtuoso Tuomas Holopainen is really outstanding, not only that he's the founder and the main man behind most of the compositions of one of the most influential and world’s most successful symphonic metal bands of our time, Nightwish, and innovative pioneer for an entire genre, now he took a little break from his main band and together with exceptional vocalist, Tuomas' wife Johanna Kurkela, who should be known as a solo artist and to metal heads as a guest vocalist on Sonata Arctica' album The Days Of Grays (2009), and his band mate Troy Donockley, went on a musical adventure called Auri. Tuomas is in Auri responsible for keys and backing vocals, Johanna is of course the main vocalist, while Troy plays guitars, bouzouki, uilleann pipes and more other unusual folk instruments. The name Auri is taken from Patrick Rothfuss books which as well in a big part influenced the lyrical world of this project. Auri is also a Finnish maiden name and derives from the Latin term Aurora, which means dawn. 

Auri in its essence is not a metal band, far from that, you won't find any heavy guitars in here, this is simply another musical world, it's dreamy, ethereal and very emotional atmospheric music that is hard to categorize, but certainly the elements of folk and Celtic music are most evident. Auri is absolutely an immersive album that needs a devoted listener who's is able to sit back, put headphones on and simply sink into this beautiful sonic world. Of course that we can notice in the background some typical Dark Passion Play or Imaginaerum Nightwish elements here, but this kind of music will on the first place fill the gap between Blackmore's Night, Wardruna and Dead Can Dance. It's like a soundtrack made up of some of the most magical and surreal moments that will for sure take the listener into the depths, and in there a world of wonder and miracles awaits behind the mirrors. Are you ready?

The album opens up in a very addictive way with some fascinatingly catchy melodies with "The Space Between". Extremely hypnotizing electronic beats and sequeces are in perfect harmony with driving Celtic/folk base line that is beautifully enriched with absolutely enthralling voice of Johanna. It simply brings shivers down the spine how lush and mesmerizing is the whole thing. It's difficult to separate tracks, because put together Auri offers an intense sonic journey full of emotions. Just listen how strong and magical is everything in "I Hope Your World Is Kind", a true fairytale, or how in perfect harmonius symbiosis is the celtic rowdy and danceable "Skeleton Tree", you'll feel like beign thrown back in time for some three or four centuries, dancing and drinking in the field in front of some medieval castle. The imagination will for sure have its moments while listening to those 11 songs.

In baladic "Desert Flower" we can enjoy in a beautiful male/female vocal duet, and just enjoy in how splendid way the song builds up in tension, even though that's the characteristic of almost every single piece here. Smoothly and lightly these fascinating haunting highly atmospheric ethereal melodies will get under your skin before you'll even know it. The evocative epic-romantic ethno pop of "Night 13" follows in the similar vein like the opener, before Auri takes a step into a bit more sophisticated teritories in the second half of the album. Still keeping everything as magical and flowing as it could be, sometimes yearning and dreamy, then again rousing and intense. The one who enters the world of Auri with his mind and body will simply enjoy in everything that it offers, in the tribalistic powerful percussions of "See", in cinematic dream sequences and enchanting vocals in "The Name Of The Wind", in the sweet melancholy of "Aphrodite Rising", in the darkness of both "Savant" and epic Celtic beauty named "Underthing Solstice" with some truly mesmerizing string instruments, organ and pipes, or in the dramatic playfully cinematic last one "Them Thar Chanterelles (feat. Liquor In The Well)".

Albums like this rarely come out. Auri is a staggering dynamic sonic journey from start to finish, it's the result of a shared passion of three magnificient musicians who united to celebrate a kind of epic-romantic ethno pop that seems to float in quaint spheres, which are intangible yet unleash multi-faceted soundscapes filled with powerful imagery. They did it and now it's up on us to enjoy in these comprehensive sound cascades full of magical and surreal moments that touch all senses. I only hope that Auri is not just a one time thing and that in the future they will still make some music for us to experience the unfathomable sonic depth.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9,5/10

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Band: Randal Collier-Ford
Album title: Remnants
Release date: 20 October 2015
Label: Cryo Chamber

Randal Collier-Ford's second album Remnants on Cryo Chamber is the most highly polished work of his to date. Over the last few years, Randal Collier-Ford has been putting out a number of albums across several labels, but Remnants is unquestionably his most dynamic release so far. With Remnants the industrial noise is toned down a bit in favor of some highly atmospheric and cinematic dark ambient. The elements wind, water, fire, can be heard throughout the album along with the more human sounds of footsteps and an impending sense of doom. Yet Remnants doesn't stray too far from Randal Collier-Ford's signature theme of magical machines in a sci-fi setting. Remnants touches on many different genres within the electronic/ambient realm, one moment the album is as brooding as a creature lurking in the shadows and the next moment it feels as if you are listening to the grand soundtrack to some yet to be written Alien movie. Soundtrack is a word I kept coming back to while reviewing this album. Remnants would be a perfect soundtrack, more importantly Remnants proves to us that Randal Collier-Ford was born to work on sci-fi/horror films! It seems as if Randal Collier-Ford is making a statement with Remnants, saying he can produce anything he puts his mind to. Randal Collier-Ford is clearly happy to leave his comfort zone. He could have written another album similar to The Architects and kept his fan-base happy. However, he decided to continue travelling further off the beaten path with this release.

Read a full review HERE