Canada's heavy metal history has given us many great acts aside from the usual suspects such as Rush, Anvil, and many others. Melodic metal act Borealis is following in the footsteps of these great acts and deftly establishing their place in the arctic sun with "The Offering." The fifth full length album delves into the concept of mankind seeking redemption through treacherous acts, and how this often backfires upon the nutjobs that are willing to push the boundaries of sacrifice for the greater good in order to try and recapture innocence lost.
The songs are steeped in a powerful story arc that allows the listener to be drawn into the narrative in a way that is difficult to achieve with most concept albums. You don't have to do too much deep thinking in order to follow the story along and be impacted by it. While the Evergrey influence is strong, there are plenty of other intriguing moments of inspiration to be found as the listener follows the album track by track. There are moments of quiet beauty and sheer terror that almost catch the listener's breath with the magnitude of the album's depth.
This reviewer really wanted to give the album 9 out of 10 hails, but there are a few things that leave the listener feeling like the album could be far more powerful than it is in its current state. Many of the tracks simply fade out rather than come to an end, as well as the guitar solos being cut off during the fade out of the end of the track(!). Now your author has indicated a bias towards guitar very clear in previous reviews. But, when the song has been building towards the climax of the end of the song being cut off and having the song just end in a fade out leaves the listener feeling like there is tension that has not be resolved by the song ending so abruptly. Whether this was intentional or not is unclear, but allowing the songs to finish properly with a proper climax would make this a far more powerful album.
Overall, this is a very pleasing album. The story is incredibly strong with it making powerful use of metaphor that fits very well with these turbulent times that our world is in. The critiques that the reviewer mentioned earlier are somewhat minor and are by no means a deal-breaker in regards to this album's strengths. The listener comes away really thinking about the message of this album, and in a time in place where making a concept album seems to be the same meat with different gravy, The Offering stands out as a powerful offering (pun intended) from these Canadians. And yes, as always, BUY THIS ALBUM!
Label: AFM Records (2018)
1. The Fire Between Us 2. Sign Of No Return 3. The Offering 4. River 05. The Second Son 6. The Devil’s Hand 7. Into The Light 8. Scarlet Angel 9. The Awakening 10. The Path 11. Forever Lost 12. The Ghosts Of Innocence