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Borealis - Illusions review



Reviewer:
7.8

48 users:
7.48
Band: Borealis
Album: Illusions
Release date: October 2022


01. Illusions [feat. Christine Hals]
02. Ashes Turn To Rain
03. My Fortress
04. Pray For Water
05. Burning Tears [feat. Lynsey Ward]
06. Believer
07. Light Of The Sun
08. Face Of Reality
09. Bury Me Alive
10. Abandon All Hope
11. The Phantom Silence


Borealis are one of Canada’s leading and most consistent power metal bands at present. Their strong symphonic elements and progressive leanings push them towards the fringes of power metal greats such as Symphony X, Kamelot and Evergrey, so it's inevitable that Illusions will carry on this trend of strong releases, right?

Now there's no denying the fact that power metal is the ultimate love or hate genre in the metal music world, with words like cringeworthy, cheesy and flowery pop often being used to describe (often stereotype) the genre, especially by extreme metal fanatics who dare not to be shown giving in to their softer side, but eventually even the most extreme and hardened metal fanatics will come across an album labelled as power metal, that makes them think, “wow this is actually really good”, and Borealis are one of those few power metal bands to do just that.

Much earlier on in the year, Evergrey presented us with what arguably turned out to be the most impressive progressive power metal release of the year: A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament). It almost looked as if no band would come close to topping the quality of that album, for me anyway, after all this hasn't exactly been a groundbreaking year for power metal, has it? Let alone progressive power metal. Well nearly half a year later Borealis introduced us to their sixth release Illusions, and as progressive power metal goes this is a pretty damn good one, especially when it comes to providing such epic symphonics, striking melodies, and intriguing storytelling.

Now let's start with the real treat here, which to me is the symphonics, that's all thanks to the multi-instrumentalist Vikram Shankar, who works wonders in creating and arranging those epic synth elements and orchestrations. The orchestral parts are used to immediate effect on the opening track “Ashes turn to rain”, which is as epic of an introduction to the album you could possibly hope for. Another stand out factor for this album is Fobert's highly impressive guitar work, the riffs are powerful, memorable, and traditionally melodic, none being more so than the heavy main riff on “Pray for Water”.

Now, surely Borealis can't go without providing us with a traditional power metal ballad? After all The Offering was brimming with them. Well “Burning tears”, is the ballad in question this time round, the traditional instruments and guitar work take a step back, and here Marinelli’s melodic raspy vocals, strongly resembling that of Tom S. Englund, really come into their own.

Whilst it's brimming with all the traditional power metal elements the structure of the album is actually progressive at its core, much as it were on previous releases, and the important thing about an album being so richly layered and textured like this is how they go about the production, and here it's impressively well produced, it's less compressed than their previous release The Offering, appropriately providing the right balance for the symphonics to shine without overpowering the instruments in the mix.

Now, is this release as good as Evergrey’s release earlier this year? No, I'm not exactly convinced it is, nor do I believe it's one of Borealis's best works as the sound quality does outweigh the songwriting substantially this time round, however it still contains all the right ingredients for an album of this genre.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8





Written on 01.01.2023 by And well there you have it.


Comments

Comments: 16   Visited by: 156 users
01.01.2023 - 09:49
Rating: 8
24emd

Great review! I really enjoyed this album, the guitars, vocals and orchestrations were all incredible. Sadly, a few weaker songs but an overall great release.
----
"Perception and fact, all the same: the truth's what you feel..."

Unpopular opinions is my middle name.
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01.01.2023 - 10:10
Rating: 8
AndyMetalFreak
A Nice Guy
Written by 24emd on 01.01.2023 at 09:49

Great review! I really enjoyed this album, the guitars, vocals and orchestrations were all incredible. Sadly, a few weaker songs but an overall great release.

Thanks it's a very impressive album, but just like you said there are just a few weaker songs.
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02.01.2023 - 10:41
DarkWingedSoul

Strange timing, i was just re-visiting this album 2 days ago, and thought evergrey all the way, but a somewhat happier version maybe, and lacking the same depth and melancholy, but still a very good and enjoyable album.
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02.01.2023 - 10:51
Rating: 8
AndyMetalFreak
A Nice Guy
Written by DarkWingedSoul on 02.01.2023 at 10:41

Strange timing, i was just re-visiting this album 2 days ago, and thought evergrey all the way, but a somewhat happier version maybe, and lacking the same depth and melancholy, but still a very good and enjoyable album.

I was impressed with Evergrey’s release, it's one of my favourite power metal albums of the year, but I was impressed with this release too, it's not too far behind in terms of quality imo.
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02.01.2023 - 11:16
DarkWingedSoul

Yes, can be, since everger and i go back a long path, there is still the emotional and subjective element added to the ratings but then i also return to purgatory from borealis quite often... like it a lot.
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02.01.2023 - 11:24
Callisto

Nice Album!
I wasn't that impressed with A Heartless Portrait (I'll give it a second try), and I did'nt knew Borealis.

Listening to Illusions, I might say instrumentally they are way more interesting but the vocals are not in Englund's league.
All in all a great band to discover, I'm gonna make my way through their previous records...
Thanks!
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02.01.2023 - 11:34
Rating: 8
AndyMetalFreak
A Nice Guy
Written by Callisto on 02.01.2023 at 11:24

Nice Album!
I wasn't that impressed with A Heartless Portrait (I'll give it a second try), and I did'nt knew Borealis.

Listening to Illusions, I might say instrumentally they are way more interesting but the vocals are not in Englund's league.
All in all a great band to discover, I'm gonna make my way through their previous records...
Thanks!

Yes I would recommend checking out their previous stuff, their discography isn't quite as impressive as Evergrey imo, but they're a decent and perhaps overlooked band for sure.
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02.01.2023 - 18:56
Rating: 10
Mariusz

I love this album. It will be definitely the top of my 2022. I found it highly underrated. As everyone can hear it's highly inspired mainly by Evergrey, and only that very thing keeps it from being a stand-alone masterpiece. It has something original though. Something that can not be found in Evergrey nowadays, it's something that Evergrey had many years ago but in their unique style so I am happy Borealis appears to bring back that mysterious flame again.
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02.01.2023 - 19:39
Rating: 8
AndyMetalFreak
A Nice Guy
Written by Mariusz on 02.01.2023 at 18:56

I love this album. It will be definitely the top of my 2022. I found it highly underrated. As everyone can hear it's highly inspired mainly by Evergrey, and only that very thing keeps it from being a stand-alone masterpiece. It has something original though. Something that can not be found in Evergrey nowadays, it's something that Evergrey had many years ago but in their unique style so I am happy Borealis appears to bring back that mysterious flame again.

It's good to see this album gaining recognition
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02.01.2023 - 20:12
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
I like extreme metal fanatics, they can't see lsmness in many extreme bands, just bitchig g hehe
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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03.01.2023 - 02:22
Rating: 8
24emd

I think this album follows a similar trend to Evergrey's from earlier this year. Having some great songs at the start of the album, and throughout the second half, having just some good moments. For example, a good vocal line, a guitar riff or solo, or specifically the symphonic intro to "Light of the Sun". The closer is quite good, I will give it that.
----
"Perception and fact, all the same: the truth's what you feel..."

Unpopular opinions is my middle name.
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04.01.2023 - 20:02
JoHn DoE

Written by Bad English on 02.01.2023 at 20:12

I like extreme metal fanatics, they can't see lsmness in many extreme bands, just bitchig g hehe


what is "lsmness"?
----
I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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04.01.2023 - 20:13
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by JoHn DoE on 04.01.2023 at 20:02

Written by Bad English on 02.01.2023 at 20:12

I like extreme metal fanatics, they can't see lsmness in many extreme bands, just bitchig g hehe


what is "lsmness"?

Lameness, I assume
----
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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04.01.2023 - 20:47
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by JoHn DoE on 04.01.2023 at 20:02

Written by Bad English on 02.01.2023 at 20:12

I like extreme metal fanatics, they can't see lsmness in many extreme bands, just bitchig g hehe


what is "lsmness"?

Radu knows my language
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
04.01.2023 - 22:05
JoHn DoE

Written by Bad English on 04.01.2023 at 20:47

Written by JoHn DoE on 04.01.2023 at 20:02

Written by Bad English on 02.01.2023 at 20:12

I like extreme metal fanatics, they can't see lsmness in many extreme bands, just bitchig g hehe


what is "lsmness"?

Radu knows my language


because no extreme metal band is lame?!
right...
----
I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
Loading...
04.01.2023 - 22:22
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by JoHn DoE on 04.01.2023 at 22:05

Written by Bad English on 04.01.2023 at 20:47

Written by JoHn DoE on 04.01.2023 at 20:02

Written by Bad English on 02.01.2023 at 20:12

I like extreme metal fanatics, they can't see lsmness in many extreme bands, just bitchig g hehe


what is "lsmness"?

Radu knows my language


because no extreme metal band is lame?!
right...

I he guessed right there are extreme bands what are lame, but I judge band and album sepetetly
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...

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