Borealis - The Offering
AFM Records
Dark Power Metal
12 songs (61'14")
Release year: 2018
Borealis, AFM Records
Reviewed by Alex

Canadian Borealis has long held a promise for me, but every time I was getting to listen to their album prior to The Offering something just did not click. Sticking with “it probably was me rather than them” explanation I told myself to pay more attention to the next Borealis release. Following the same routine before diving into The Offering I took a deep breath, listened to The Fire Between Us … and decided now was the time I enjoyed Borealis. Sign of No Return followed, and my enthusiasm grew further, to the point I didn’t want the fleeting connection to be scared away, so I put away The Offering, and came back to it a few days later, only to have my enjoyment of The Fire Between Us and Sign of No Return reconfirmed. With a deep sigh of relief I continued on, to be greeted by an album which is excellent … about half way through.

On The Offering Borealis decided to equip themselves with an excellent sound, first and foremost. Success came to those who sought and Borealis were rewarded. Their bottom end simply devastates, drums are guns bursting, and dark keyboards are constantly lurking in the background, while guitar solos are allowed to flourish. On The Offering Borealis put less grit in their riffs, but instead went for dark melodic aura. Churning engine of Sign of No Return and rolling melodic swells of The Second Son elevate Borealis to where I always wanted them to go, to the league of Evergrey and Myrath. Matt Marinelli is the sole vocal point for Borealis. The band does not use vocal layers or other such tricks, so Matt is on an honest spot here, and he does sound good although not spectacular or overly emotional. To summarize one more time, the first five cuts on The Offering are new gold standard for Borealis, and even longer guitar solos (title track) or slamming breakdowns (River) don’t detract.

The ballad The Devil’s Hand, which begins on a quieter note but then explodes, serves as a demarcation line of sorts, however. After The Devil’s Hand, Borealis certainly tries to climb the heights it already conquered. Into the Light, Forever Lost seek to plumb similar dark depths, but except the closing of The Awakening and closer The Ghosts of Innocence which fully return to the form and flow of the album’s opening salvos, there is a dip in quality. On The Ghosts of Innocence Borealis goes into full Evergrey mode, pulling ferocious double bass, female backing vocals and most prominent keyboards by Sean Werlick. However, The Ghosts of Innocence is preceded by a slightly awkward instrumental The Path, which is pent up Malmsteen, and moaning syncopated modern rock radio cut Scarlet Angel, which should have been eliminated from The Offering outright. Those are the low lights moments of the album.

On balance though Borealis is probably at their strongest I have ever heard them, so the movement is only on up from here.

Killing Songs :
The Fire Between Us, Sign of No Return, The Offering, River, The Second Son
Alex quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Borealis that we have reviewed:
Borealis - Purgatory reviewed by Joel and quoted 89 / 100
Borealis - World Of Silence reviewed by Marty and quoted 82 / 100
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