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Aoria - The Constant (Version Studio Records)

By: David E. Gehlke

[8/10] Hard to imagine this one being a misfire considering Aoria has members of Katatonia and October Tide in its ranks. It’s not a crossbreed of the two, and that’s probably a good thing considering the shared members, experience, and sound between both bands, which could end up resulting in a bastardized Brave Murder Day. That probably wouldn’t be a bad thing, but other bands have that area covered.

On the flipside, Aoria (who are comprised of singer/guitarist Erik Nilsson of A Swarm of the Sun, Katatonia bassist Niklas Sandin, and October Tide drummer Robin Bergh) emerges as a progressive, atmospheric, and melancholy outfit that doesn’t run up to the banks of doom. The six songs that comprise of The Constant are largely ethereal, awash with gentle pings of guitar strumming and the serene vocals of Nilsson, amounting to what is largely, a downer-du-jour for followers of its conspirators’ main acts.

With that in mind, opener “A Slow Moving Storm” is an absolute gem, highlighted by an urgent melodic that chimes like a bell as Nilsson’s perfunctory vocals work their magic. The unique pairing of Tool-like dynamics in the context of dreary hard rock are the fundamental force on “The Black Heart” and “Assassination,” while “An Overwhelming Calm” takes what is perhaps the biggest plunge into the depths of despair thanks to a bed for forlorn guitar and piano passages.

The Constant is such a success because it does its own thing rather than piggybacking on the BMD legacy. There’s an obvious degree of sincerity to Aoria, something that will no doubt be a resonate factor when word spreads of how excellent this six-song platter is.

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