I love Canada with a white hot passion. So many great things have come from Canada – poutine, hockey, and any number of great bands. Sadly, BOREALIS was not on this list until I had the opportunity to listen to their new release, Purgatory (July 24, AFM Records.) I’ve definitely been making up for lost time since The Maestro alerted me to the error of my ways.
This quintet of very talented musicians from Ontario, Canada have really put together something special – this a great disc full of some excellent melodic power metal with some definite progressive and symphonic elements. Comparisons to SYMPHONY X, PYRAMAZE, and EVERGREY abound, and they’re not too far out of line – the band has mixed several styles very successfully into a beautiful album full of memorable songs.
Matt Marinelli is a solid vocalist with great control – he doesn’t use the prototypical power metal falsetto, and his singing suffers not one bit from the lack. He’s got a great deeper sound that resonates and fits the music perfectly – and when Sarah Dee joins him for guest vocals on “From The Ashes”, it’s pure gold.
Matt also plays guitar, along with Mike Briguglio, and they are excellent – they drive the songs forward without some of the usual power metal silliness, and the solos are solid and feel perfect in each song – especially when complemented by Sean Werlick’s keyboards. The interplay between the three is some really entertaining stuff and sounds amazing.
The rhythm section really keeps the album moving at a fast pace – the bass playing of Jamie Smith is talented (if understated) and Sean Dowell (drums) may well be the MVP of the band for this release. His double bass drumming is insane and may be some of the best power/prog drumming from any record that I’ve listened to this year, which is saying a lot.
Some of my favorite songs from the disc are the aforementioned “From The Ashes” for the excellent duet, and “The Chosen One” for an amazing slice of AOR meets power metal that just will not get out of my head, thanks to some awesome vocal hooks. The entire album is great, however, and I can’t think of any song that I would say is filler or substandard to the rest of the release.
I can definitely recommend Purgatory to any fan of great melodic/power metal. It’s an album that you’ll come back to over and over again, and won’t tire of quickly. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some of the band’s back catalogue that I need to indulge in for a few days.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM