Release Date: Out Now
Review By: Rod Whitfield
As a massive follower and fan of the brutal but groovey djent prog metal sound, I have been disappointed in recent years to hear that two of the finest exponents of that sound, Substructure and Entities, had split up. Have been looking for someone to take those bands’ places for quite some time. Canadians Auras ply that kind of musical terrain. Can they fill the breach?
First impressions are extremely promising. All the elements are present: the grooves are polyrhythmic and warped but strong and catchy at the same time, the guitars typically rumble and crush all before them and the vocals are throat-rippingly intense. The vocals are almost all dirty, but finally when the cleans arrive, towards the end of last track Boundless, the contrast and dynamics that that brings is a joy to behold. Musicianship is absolutely top notch, as befitting a band like this, and the production has the type of crystal clear heft that you would expect.
Is the songwriting up to scratch? Well, it’s certainly very strong. Substructure absolutely set the standard for songcraft in this style of music, on their EP Monolith of 2011. It was, tragically, the only release of any true substance they brought out, but it still gets a regular run on my various music players. Crestfallen may not have such a lengthy shelf life, but it’s still an excellent collection of tunes in its own right. There may be minimal melody emanating from the vocals, but the music provides much of the melodic content of the EP, and this assists to make it memorable.
My only complaint is that, at only five tracks and 19 minutes, this EP whizzes by and is done too quickly, and you feel a strong need to turn around and play it again to experience more. These guys have another EP available; I may have to discover it.
Overall, Auras have put up a very solid offering here. While I am comparing, I would put it a very small rung down from Substructure, and on a par with Entities. And that’s very high praise.
I await a full lengther from these guys.