#AboveAurora Myriad Woes

5 min read

Band: Above Aurora
Album: Myriad Woes
Label: War Anthem Records
Release date: 29 March 2024
Country: Poland
Format reviewed: High-quality digital recording

Shrouded in mystery and a dreary mood, Above Aurora’s latest upcoming record, Myriad Woes is truly a force to be respected. Engulfing the listener in a pummeling feeling of solitude and despair, it is an album that has the sheer power of sucking all the happiness out of you and still being remarkably beautiful. The album cover is the first indicator of this, being considerably much more fitting to the music than in the case of so many other records. If you were to pick this album by the cover alone, you would be undoubtedly pleasantly surprised. It is simply one of those albums that can meet even the highest standards, a trait obvious from the first track alone. I had never listened of even heard of Above Aurora before, but Myriad Woes is surely one hell of a way to get into them. The album features five tracks, all of which are on the more lengthy side. Although this may seem discouraging, the quality of the songs makes them unexpectedly easy to get through, and it also helps give a better definition to the specific mood of the album.

The first track of the record is the bone-chilling Inner Whispers. A wonderfully developed composition, it features soulful instrumental segments, particularly in the beginning. Besides the classic black metal instruments, there are also acoustic guitar, violin and piano passages to be found. The riffs that kick in later bring the power of the music upfront, hitting the listener with their undeniable emotional qualities. The song picks up the pace, the melancholy and torment of the music now upfront, in all their might and glory. I personally love this kind of emotionally charged instrumentals, both for the fact that they make the music seem both dark and beautiful at the same time, and also for their composition, which, although on the simple side, doesn’t fail to include interesting elements. There are plenty of layers to the music, which may make it seem overwhelming at times, a trait which is also emphasized by the song being mostly instrumental, except for some eerie spoken parts in several key moments of the composition, The song has an almost meditative feel to it, which I personally really dig. It slowly envelops you into the music, instead of a violent burst in.

The follow-up, Spark, is just as intriguing, offering a first taste of the album’s vocal performance. The technique used is rather close to the standard for black/doom metal, being low, raspy, emotionally charged, and almost narrative, in a way. It makes the song feel a lot like the monologue of a tormented book character, lost in their journey. There is a lot of variation present throughout the song, both in terms of drumming, which alternates between a slow, doomy pace and classic black metal blast beats, as well as in the case of the other instruments. There is an acoustic guitar passage present, there’s also an extremely touching, masterfully crafted solo that sticks to you… and there are the vocals. The sheer pain and despair they feature have definitely made me shed a few tears. I’d be surprised to be the only one this happens to. It hits harder than 90% of the DSBM albums released in the last few years.

In the middle of the record, Efforts to Fail continues the path of its predecessor, this time with an even more crushing, almost claustrophobic atmosphere. This whole song feels like a cave, to put it simply. It is dark, it is cold, it oozes despair and hopelessness, and all of this comes crashing down upon you, leaving behind nothing but solitude and utter emptiness. The music feels much more constant than on the last song, with much less variation, both in pacing and structure itself. It is almost a fully black metal song, but with an undeniable doomy touch that ties it in beautifully with the rest of the record.

Horns of Dread brings about an interesting shift, starting out on a strong, anticipating mid-pace, before picking up and then going straight into a doomy, almost apocalyptic passage that doesn’t fail to send shivers down the listener’s spine. It is soon accompanied by an equally ominous riff and the vocals, also at their darkest, before everything succumbs to a lone, atmospheric riff and one of the most powerful vocal passages. Then, the mid-tempo reclaims its place, continuously accompanied by the tenebrous vocals and the catchy guitar riffs, before picking up once again, the composition now at its peak. All the tempo variations in the song accentuate the feeling of trademark feeling of “dread” associated with the song, both in its title and musical structures. If fear could be summed up in five minutes, this song is the closest thing to that I ever got to hear.

Wrapping up the journey there is No More Shall The Boulder Descend, which ties together the two ends of the record. With a strong anticipation passage in the beginning, it is obvious that there is something big coming up. The same spoken vocals from the beginning are features, offering a feeling of familiarity. And then, everything is once again crushed by the slow drums, emotionally driven riffs, and passionate vocal performance. Slow rhythm and tremolo riffs are always something you can’t go wrong with. This song is much more epic than the rest of them, containing the ever-present melancholy, along with a newly acquired feeling of longing, which just makes everything so much more beautiful, almost hopeful at times. This is undoubtedly my favorite song on the whole album and the one I will be coming back to the most in the future. For all of you who aren’t convinced to listen to the full album, give this song a try. It may change your opinion.

A masterpiece in every possible way, Myriad Woes is nothing to miss out on. It is easily an extreme metal fan’s delight. 9.5/10 Ioana

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