Nuclear Blast Records
Release: March 23, 2018
‘’Come with me. The vast unknown waits for us to see’’
AURI begun its life with three people, united through their shared need to hear a kind of a music which can’t be described by words alone. A magical kind of sound to be heard whilst falling down Alice's rabbit hole. The first song born of this mindset, 'Aphrodite Rising', appeared in 2011. And slowly the earth has cracked open again and ten more tracks have emerged out of the soil's dust.
Thus the trio was formed. The Finnish singer Johanna Kurkela lent her unique voice, while Troy Donockley and Tuomas Holopainen (both from Nightwish) cast their spells with various other instruments. Using selected guest musicians and friends, the album finally takes its ultimate form under the direction of sound engineer Tim Oliver, all within the pastoral splendor of 'Real World' studios in Southern England. AURI put the 'drink me potion' to its lips, grew to full size, and is now ready to slay the Jabberwocky. Hand in hand with Nuclear Blast, they lead their listeners into the shadows behind the mirror, and on March 23, 2018, their debut album will evoke ghosts of an ethereal sphere.
1. The Space Between
2. I Hope Your World is Kind
3. Skeleton Tree
4. Desert Flower
5. Night 13
7. The Name of The Wind
8. Aphrodite Rising
10. Underthing Solstice
11. Them Thar Chanterelles (feat Liquor in the Well)
To my surprise, AURI has actually been around for quite a while, yet nobody seemed to know about the project until a few months ago. When you see the name Tuomas Holopainen, you might automatically think that AURI is symphonic metal as well, (sorry if this disappoints you) it’s not. AURI is progressive folk, a genre I have never actually heard of. Yet, ‘’The Space Between’’ has caught both my attention - and my heart. ‘’Come with me. The vast unknown waits for us to see’’, not only is the melody very catchy, the lyrics are beautiful, and I wouldn’t have expected anything less with this line-up. ‘’I Hope Your World is Kind’’ sounds a bit less uplifting and happy than the previous track, yet it’s very epic with the choir and orchestra. I can’t get over Johanna’s voice, she is the best choice they could have made for a vocalist. Her voice is soft and kind, yet powerful when it needs to be.
‘’Skeleton Tree’’ has some Disney-vibes, it is completely instrumental except for near the end where are some light vocals by Johanna. In this song the violin and the uilleann pipes are on the foreground. ‘’Desert Flower’’ is a beautiful duet between Troy and Johanna, the instrumentals sound a bit more to the classical side even. On ‘’See’’ and ‘’Aphrodite Rising’’ we get to hear the more progressive side of AURI’s music, it’s a bit psychedelic as well. ‘’Night 13’’ has a more spooky approach, it’s a bit darker than the previous tracks. It starts of slowly but the rhythm gets faster near the end. ‘’The Name of The Wind’’ has no lyrics, just like ‘’Skeleton Tree’’. It makes the album much more of a concept and a whole, instead of just random folk songs. I also adore the piano parts on this song, and the uilleann pipes as well. I am so in love with that instrument, not only on this song but on this album and in general!
‘’Savant’’ is as well a song without lyrics, but hear you can really hear the typical Tuomas compositions. It sounds a bit darker, it has some weird pieces in it, and if you would imagine some heavy guitar riffs under it it could easily be a Nightwish song. I like that even though AURI is a different project, you can still distinguish Tuomas his influences. It is just his sound. My favorite song of this album is probably ‘’Underthing Solstice’’, but I’m also torn on ‘’The Space Between’’. ‘’Underthing Solstice’’ sounds like a lullaby, Johanna’s voice is very hypnotic. I like the melody and the violin in this song as well, it’s very peaceful as a whole. Near the end an organ comes in and there are some flutes and pipes here and there, but it’s perfectly in balance. ‘’Them Thar Chanterelles (feat Liquor in the Well)’’ is the closing track of this album, and it basically has everything the album has presented to me: Johanna’s beautiful voice, Tuomas his composing skills and multi-talent Troy.
AURI has impressed me but not in a way you probably think. It would be easy to rate this album instantly high because all these three musicians are my favorite in the scene, so this takes a bit more of a critical look. After hearing the first single, ‘’The Space Between’’ I had a different view on what the album was going to sound like. It’s much more cinematic, and I really like that. I was a bit scared that the prog-parts would turn me off, but I enjoyed every single moment of it. I just wished that Troy would have a solo number in it, and Tuomas voice a bit more on the foreground. Like I said before about Johanna, she was the perfect choice for this album as well, she is not the usual ‘’female fronted metal type’’ and blows a fresh new wind into the metal/rock realm (while that probably wasn't even the intention as AURI is not metal nor rock).
Tuomas Holopainen ~ keys & backing vocals
Johanna Kurkela ~ vocals & violin
Troy Donockley ~ acoustic and electric guitars, bouzouki, uilleann pipes, low whistles, aerophone, bodhran, keys, voices
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