Canadian Melodic Metal band BOREALIS are back with album number four, The Offering (out now, AFM Records). I have only been listening to these guys for about two years now, but they are without a doubt one of the most impressive young bands I’ve heard in a long time. Singer and guitarist Matt Marinelli employs some of the most impassioned vocals I’ve ever heard, and the group is able to make songs that rock, while at the same time tugging at the heartstrings, much like labelmates EVERGREY.
The Offering is a concept record that in Marinelli’s own words, “Follows the creation, rise and ultimate demise of a cult who practices human, more specifically child sacrifice. They believe this method of belief, sacrifice and devotion will bring an end to the suffering of humanity, as well as bring back the innocence of mankind that was lost to greed and industrialism. However, due to their lack of respect to powers greater than themselves, they unwittingly create a deity out of the sacrificed kid, whom ultimately delivers punishment due to their injustice. The men in the cult are too self-consumed with their righteous quest, they’ve completely overlooked the fact that children are the true key to restoring and preserving lost innocence.”
Wow. Pretty powerful stuff, no? But here’s the thing. The songs themselves are striking in melody and punch, and even as standalones they hit hard. “Sign of No Return” strikes like a ton of bricks, while title track “The Offering” showcases the band at what is arguably their heaviest. Returning axeman Ken Fobert and Marinelli weave a thick tapestry of riffs, while Trevor McBride (bass) and Sean Dowell (drums) lay down what just might be one of the thickest bottom ends I’ve heard in a long time. And if that wasn’t enough, keyboardist Sean Werlick knows how to provide just the right touches to make an already great song greater.
“River” is another favorite, largely due to the rat-a-tat-tat of Dowell’s double kick drums and McBride’s note-for-note thumping bass. Plus Marinelli sings his fucking ass off. Oh, and opener “The Fire Between Us” is a perfect way to kick things off, like a sonic punch to the face. But the absolute best moment on this disc comes in the form of “Scarlet Angel.” Employing that classic use of misdirection I am so fond of, it starts out one way then takes you in a different direction. The whole band is on fire here, and the results are glorious. “The Awakening” is one of the more melodic rock tracks, but don’t for a second think it has any less balls than the rest of them. Meanwhile “The Second Son” takes off at a gallop, Werlick’s keys the straw that stirs the drink.
Closer “The Ghosts of Innocence” is another winner on an album full of them. Clocking in at 8:46 it’s the epic that caps off the record. Oh man, I love it when a band takes us on a journey like this.And before you know it the song is over. Those are the best kinds of epics, the ones that never stagnate, and keep you riveted the whole way. You sit there and think, “I have to see how this story ends!”, which is any band’s goal. Well, mission accomplished. At the end of the day BOREALIS have unleashed what is arguably their greatest album in The Offering. And they have set the bar VERY high, not only for themselves, but for other bands of their ilk. Job well done, boys!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Scarlet Angel”, “River”, “Sign of No Return”, “The Ghosts of Innocence”, “The Second Son“, “The Offering”