Aureole land in the growing subgenre of black metal that focuses thematically on outer space. It’s a style that has been increasing not just in number of practitioners — who see in the cosmos distinctly metal qualities like darkness, the unknown, the infinite, and destruction on an unimaginable scale — but also in quality and ambition. One need look no further than Mare Cognitum’s excellent Luminiferous Aether or Mesarthim’s Pillars for proof we’ve recently seen new high water marks. But where others see awe-inspiring gas formations and exoplanets, Aureole often see inescapable dread and profound isolation.
Aurora Borealis is Aureole’s second album, and it is a departure from the meditative brooding and sorrow of Alunar, moving toward something more electric and invigorating. But though it buzzes with activity, it is awash in fuzz and mystery up to the point of drowning, giving the music a thoroughly dark impressionistic smear — deep space done by Whistler, with soft muted leads brimming with regret guiding the way and damned vocals echoing from black holes. “Hyperwarp” serves as a turning point on the album, and hits like a cataclysmic meteor shower, with insane and righteous drumming propelling the maelstrom.
Aureole may sound strange to those unfamiliar with certain black metal subgenres, and to be sure the one-man band spins a strange tale fitting of the otherworldly soundtrack — an uninhabited citadel perched upon a crag floating through deep space, seeking “inhabitants to host under its lonely walls,” Markov Soroka, the man behind Aureole, tells me. “The primary purpose of Aureole is to address the Citadel, [known as] Alunar, and the cosmos of which it travels, including Earth.” Aurora Borealis is in fact intended to be an Earthbound album, which Soroka wrote in Iceland under its namesake, which serves, in the lore, as a portal to the final frontier and whatever it may hold.
“The cosmos are infinite,” Soroka says. “To quote a friend and fellow collaborator, J. Buczarski of Mare Cognitum, ‘The most beautiful thing one can experience is the mysterious.’ This is especially true when dealing with space and all assorted elements, because all we can truly do is make theories as to what is out there, and this is no different with musical projection.” Listen.
Get Aurora Borealis via Fallen Empire Records.