"Though Dutch band The Aurora Project have been around for 10 years now, Shadow Border is only their second release, but make no mistake about it, this latest CD sounds very much like a hungry band out to make a statement. Part dark progressive rock, with a healthy dose of progressive metal, Shadow Border contains roughly 55 minutes of compelling music that will take a few listens to fully digest, but once you do the many nuances of what the band have woven together all begin to make sense.
These guys like to patch together lots of different moods and textures in their songs, easily heard on the two excellent opening cuts "Human Gateway" and "The Trial", as extended passages of atmospheric keyboards and dreamy vocals often give way to crushing guitar bombast and pounding drum fills. At times you'll hear bits of Pink Floyd, IQ, Porcupine Tree, or Riverside, but they are fleeting, as The Aurora Project more use the influence from these bands as a way to shape their own vision. Lead singer Dennis Binnekade has a very melodic and passionate delivery, and though you can detect plenty of accent, his English is still easily understood. He's in full command on the almost Marillion-ish "Photonic Reunion", supported by some bouncy synths courtesy of Marcel Guyt and lots of heavy riffs from the team of Remco van den Berg & Marc Vooys. For those that like heavier material, the almost doomy "The Confession" is a real massive piece, dark atmosphere meshing with bone crunching riffs, tasty lead solos, and spacey keyboards. For another twist, there's also the futuristic "Within the Realms", probably the closest this band comes to Porcupine Tree or Riverside here, and the CD closes with the 16-minute epic title track, a real dramatic journey for the listener. Equal parts metal and prog abound on this gem, the band taking you down numerous dark passageways, with a different surprise at every corner.
In an era where many progressive metal bands love to show you just how masterful they can play their instruments (not that we complain about that), The Aurora Project want to make their music stand out by employing space, textures, colors, and emotion in many different ways. Sure, there's no shortage of impressive instrumentation here on Shadow Border, but the moods created by marrying heavy riffs with atmosphere, haunting melodies, and dark soundscapes works wonders throughout this very enjoyable CD. Once again, The Lasers Edge scores a winner-seek this one out people!" - Sea Of Tranqulity
released May 5, 2009
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