Y’know – I really wanted to find something wrong with this album. Desperately. I have hyped this band in previously as being the next big thing and have sworn (still do) that their two previous outputs, 1998’s Eos, and 1999’s Sadiam, will live on for years as some of the most awe-inspiring melodic death metal ever written. That’s why when this package of wonderful goodies showed up, with the newest full-length offering, Devotion, I forced myself to detect some incoherent aspect of Aurora’s sound that I could use, in justifying that these are men, not gods. Sadly, I could find nothing, and have come to the previous consideration that Aurora are gods, plain and simple.

Devotion is probably the most gut-wrenching album the band could have ever recorded, when they did. It contains that essence of raw emotion that cripples the listener into utter submission, while keeping your attention so heightened, you couldn’t walk away from it if you tried. Devotion is to metal, what a scrape on the knee is to a child: it hurts and it stings, but most importantly it’s fascinating. You’ve witnessed change, ultimately leading to discomfort, but are now experiencing the wonder of healing. Aurora has finally found the perfect song-writing skill that can convey this feeling. The most surprising aspect is each member plays a separate, equally crucial role in the band’s success. The guitars switch almost mechanically from the standard crunch pattern to a wonderful and angelic state – flowing as effortlessly as a stream through the countryside. Helping segue this switch through the song structures is a rhythm section that has matured considerably, since the last time we heard this talented band. Aurora has always contained some of the most highly-skilled musicians in the scene, but the light subtleties the band is performing nowadays, goes well beyond the call of duty.

Aurora has found a way to inseminate their sound with tribal drumming that doesn’t end up ‘cheapening’ the sound, as well as adding a noticeable amount more of clean vocals – which are agonizing as all hell, to say the very least. As much as I would like to share with you the standout elements of this album on a song-to-song basis, that would be way too tedious for this scribe.

Devotion from start to finish is utterly amazing and contains too many, way too many single points to emphasize. If you purchase one album this year, Devotion should be the only one on your shopping list.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Bryan Allen
May 17th, 2001


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