- Album Reviews

The Aurora Project -Selling The Agression

Someone told me years ago that there are not musical genius alive in this world. My natural romanticism, and my naive heart never wanted to believe that, but I was afraid it was true. Selling the Agression, by The Aurora Project, has come to me out of the blue and has renewed my musical faith. Although I did not expect all the thrills that this album caused me, I was secretly craving the arrival of something that would satisfy my appetite and teleport me to this state of musical ecstasy. I mean, this album could be at the same level as the masterpieces of prog rock of all times. Selling the Agression is a huge, overwhelming snowball, composed by progressive melodies, exciting dynamics and enveloping atmospheres. A snowball that grows more and more to crash spectacularly with musical immortality.

The Aurora Project is a six-piece atmospheric progressive rock band (sprayed with some hard rock and metal), natural from the Netherlands. The line-up consists on guitarrists Remco v.d. Berg and Marc Vooys, Singer Dennis Binnekade, drummer Joris Bol, keyboardist Mox ‘Marcel’ Guyt and Bassist Rob Krijgsman. In 1999, while playing the famous fantasy card game “Magic: The Gathering,” these guys realized they had something in common, their love for music, especially prog rock, and magic that was just a game, became music. With all the experience and musical maturity gained over these years The Aurora Project brings us their third album, Selling The Aggression comes to mark the history of progressive rock, and counts too, in two of the seven songs, with the wonderful orchestracion of Siddhartha Barnhoorn, an award winning composer and a very good friend of the band.

Dualistic Conciusness opens the gateway to the ethereal region of passion that this album means. Displays the creative and musical maturity of the band right from the start, with a powerful and enveloping riff, then the guitar drops suddenly and flows into an atmospheric verse. The crystal clear voice of Dennis Binnekade appears with its warm and enchanting timbre, a voice full of personality and expression that gave me goosebumps, flowing into an occasional harmony supported by Remco vd Berg backing vocals, smooth harmonies that opened the musical appetite in a subtle but persistent way, the solo leads to a breaking point where a modem and other technological sounds wake us for a moment of this musical hypnosis to lead again on an infectious and even more powerful guitar. Turning Of The Tide, has brutal, dark lyrics, every word pulsed in my ears, piercing and touching. And of course, in this also influences the emotional power in the singer’s voice, the composition itself is extremely sophisticated, a soft guitar, almost sensual that manages to form an atmosphere that you can almost touch with your fingers, later the drums are filled with a wild and natural essence, and the guitars are bleeding without mercy over a powerful and thrilling chorus. If something is becoming clear to me, is that this band knows how to create a composition neatly, gathering emotions, lyrics, transitions, silence and power and showing them all gradually from maximum softness to the point where the musical pleasure exploits in an ecstasy of rage and passion, with a majestic outro in which a sharp guitar seems to cut the air with a hard sound and fills the air of nostalgia with its silence.

Selling The Agression starts with a sick riff, expedited and intense, that captures the attention of all the senses at once, the lyrics are pure gold, as a speech by a vulnerable president is not something we hear every day, the heartbreaking and somewhat disturbing prospect of war ad portas, deep lyrics, and a song that can shatters the rudest guy on the block, reflecting the fear and pain with intensity and strength, powerful riffs throughout the song, from guitar and from expressive keyboards of Mr Guyt. The Oil Supremacy rings in my ears like a death march, the mood of the song is steeped in war and devastation, the voice of Dennis Binnekade comes straight from the heart and crosses the line of space / time to take refuge in our head as a call for relief, dark riffs and persistent melancholic solo. Then, The Sense Of Reality opens with a gentle acoustic guitar, bright and somewhat more paused, and the voice shines almost alone during the verse, revealing melancholy, that flowers seeking the consolation of the words, the singer’s interpretative talent is incredibly expressive and appealing, when a guitar stands out proudly and abandon itself in an intense ride, a choir of anonymous voices occasionally rising in the horizon to enhance the spirit of the band.

Rob’s bass shines alongside the vocal harmonies, in which is definitely my favorite song on the album. In Speeding Up of Time, the guitars cut through the air like daggers, or rather like thunders in our fists, keeping the heart and nervous system alert, a lump on my throat confirms the power that the song was able to exert over me, the chorus is simply spectacular, and certainly some headbanging is very welcome here. After this storm, my nervous system needed a break, and that’s what I thought I was going to get when I heard the soft intro of Newtopia. Well, as many times, I was wrong, because what I saw as a mountain, was actually a volcano that gradually showed its fire, and it consumed with burning lava the little energy I had left. An epic display of geniality, in which no instrument opaque to others, but all shine together as one sparkling light.

I have to say, honestly, that this album is one of the best I’ve heard in recent years. These guys do not have blood running through their veins, they have prog, and it shows in every note of their compositions, being its main attraction the power to create interesting and dense atmospheres, atmospheres tremendously influenced by Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree. Their creativity, both musically, and lyrically, is manifested in a crude form. Unassuming impressing, that’s just what they achieve. The compositions are not just a sample of their great talent, the songs are fluid and easy to digest. Without the paraphernalia and exaggerated displays of virtuosity to which we are used today, but technical, solid and perhaps with much more power of attraction and interpretive force. The production leaves nothing to chance and powers the band’s talent, fusing light and darkness to the maximum balance, where a sea of power and heartrending fury joins another sea of sweet melodies and theatrical dynamic. If you’re a fan of prog classic bands (I will not name them, we all know of whom we speak), you should run out and buy this album. A true musical rollercoaster, Selling the Agression stands out as a burning flag, to prove once again that unique ability that the band has, and the Dutch musicians in general, of mixing good prog rock sound with powerful melodies and penetrating atmospheres.
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