Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Auri - S/T (2018)

With Nightwish on a much needed break after some extensive touring, founder Toumas Holopainen finally had some time to create a new project that he had wanted to do for years. Together with fellow Nightwish member Troy Donockley and old friend Johanna Kurkela, Toumas has formed Auri, a group that is probably best described as the band that Nightwish was originally intended to be, a calm, acoustic band that took inspiration from the forests of Finland. Okay, this band is not fully acoustic, but the use of electric guitar in here is minimal, and there are no regular drums or bass to be heard.

So you are all probably wondering the same question, is this a band the common Nightwish fan should listen to? I definitely think so, because even if the element of metal is gone, fans should be able to enjoy the symphonic aura that this band has around it. If I had to compare Auri to another band, I think that The Gentle Storm is the best bet, having similar feelings in the music even if the inspiration is different (also, Johanna sounds kind of like Anneke Van Giersbergen too).

There is not much technical work in here to really grasp on, but everything is certainly carefully placed into the very smallest of details. You can truly notice how passionate all three members are about this project, with everything being so beautifully arranged into a very spiritual album. It transports you to one of the thousand lakes of Finland, among the beautiful nature and soothing landscapes. It is a relaxing album that you can easily come back to if you want to get away from the stress.

With that said though, this is most definitely not an album for everyone. A lot of you guys will probably find this record to be boring, and I cannot blame you, because I found myself drifting away from the album several times. While the sound is very relaxing and soft, there just is not enough music in here to really engage me fully into the band. The songs do very little to stand out, which takes the album dangerously close to "Sounds of the forest" territory, you know, those discs you play when you want to sleep more easily. There is enough meat in here so that "Auri" does not get classified as such an album, but this type of style will never have the strength to knock anyone out, or even emotionally touch someone to great levels.

I love that Toumas, Troy, and Johanna get to live out their dream, to finally create this project and present it to the world. Their love and devotion is obvious here, and it should be enough to draw a decently big crowd around its camp fire. I still think a lot more people will just see this as a snore fest though, which is of course a shame since there is a lot of care behind the product. I appreciate the effort from the band, and I do hope that they come around to make more material in the future, but this is simply not an album for me, even if I found it to be a very pleasant record that will be a nice soundtrack on my Pokemon Go walks in the Swedish forest.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Space Between, I Hope Your World Is Kind, Night 13

Rating: 6,5/10 Desert Flowers

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