Premiere: Aurora Borealis’ Apokalupsis Will Make You Believe
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: there aren’t nearly enough metal albums that embrace the particular insanity of conspiracy theories. Today, however, I’m happy as hell to fill that little grey alien-shaped hole in metal’s heart with a premiere of the melodic, chaotic, and downright hypnotic new record from Aurora Borealis. Get in here to learn how you’ve been manipulated through space-time by alien overlords and killer technical sweeps, courtesy of Apokalupsis.
But before I get to the body-snatching, anal-probing, mind-altering riffs that characterize this record as some melodic tech death with hints of black metal from another world, allow vocalist/guitarist Ron Vento to set the stage:
“Apokalupsis is a concept album in which we venture through the beginning of all creation until the inevitable apocalyptic war. Its primary focus brings to light alien existence and their purpose among humans. The album describes what they are, where they came from and how they manipulated mankind. It also elaborates on those victimized by abduction and why it occurs. Apokalupsis commences with God casting rebellious angels out of heaven. Unlike traditional stories, God sends them through space to stars created to keep them captive. One star for every fallen angel, countless stars for countless demons. At the heart of every star, there is a demon trying to break free and find its way to God’s greatest creation, mankind. In consequence, those that escape create massive solar flares and star quakes. By manipulating space time through wormholes, their search for human life begins. Some never escape and after billions of years collapse with the stars, forever forsaken in eternal solitude. Those who reach earth begin their deceit. Throughout history they have taken on many forms with the intent of building a foundation of deception; beginning with Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden. In modern time they disguise themselves as aliens, guiding the lives of great rulers (from pharaohs, to kings and presidents,) with the intent of destruction. In time they reveal what they are and inspire Armageddon. Apokalupsis, once withdrawn, now visible to all.”
It would be a tremendous shame if the music failed to deliver on that paranoid delusional wet dream, but thankfully Vento and fellow travelers Mark Green (drums) and Jason Ian-Vaughn Eckert (bass) deliver insanity in spades. Apokalupsis is primarily a melodic tech death record, but like true believers-in-arms Arsis, Vento and co. are content to splice their DNA with that of all manner of extreme metal lifeforms. Between the sweep picking and blast beats, as on the bombastic “Arrival,” you’ll find tasteful solos and little melodic licks that recall to your implanted memories a young Jeff Loomis of Nevermore. Other tracks, like “Magor Missabib,” show the band drawing from the more blasphemous wells of metal’s poisoned history to preach alternate realities with mesmerizing riffs and snarling vocals reminiscent of weird and progressive giants like Vektor or Droid.
If questioned under duress of government interrogation, however, I’d stake my opinion of the album almost entirely on closer “Lo-Ruhamah.” Those big, Nazca-line carving tech riffs are accented by some lights in the sky trem, crop circle register scrapes, and blinding solos, but it’s that odd sense of alien harmony, so reminiscent of the last Artificial Brain album, that truly pries open my third eye. I see, and I believe.
The whole album is tied together nicely by ambient interludes and sparse hints of electronic data to play up the sci-fi angle. The production is ascetic, but it works in the riffs’ favor. I wouldn’t mind hearing a bit more of the bass, but the guitars blend so seamlessly together in a meteoric wave of riff after riff, it’s nigh impossible to care about much else. Ultimately, the album is exactly the mix of insane technicality and surreal atmosphere that such a wacky premise demands.
Now it’s your turn for a close encounter.
Apokalupsis is out May 15th on CD and June 15th on vinyl. You can preo-order the CD on Bandcamp here. You can also find Aurora Borealis on Facebook here. Many thanks to Casus Belli Musica, Beverina, and the band themselves for the stream!