Auri – II, Those We Don’t Speak Of: Album Review

The journey of Auri continues with a subtle and sublime set of atmospheric and emotional music.

Release date: 3rd September 2021

Label: Nuclear Blast

Format: CD / Vinyl / Digital

After emerging with their debut release in 2018, the combined talents of Johanna Kurkela, Troy Donockley and Tuomas Holopainen are now complemented by the dynamic percussive talents of Kai Hahto. The song remains the same-ish though, as the quartet continues to carve out a soundtrack to accompany visions of fantastical worlds. “Celestial Metal” is what Holopainen hs termed their music; an ethereal offshoot from the day job in Nightwish for two-thirds of the band.

Once again, Auri has proved an outlet for a set of sublime compositions where the vocals of Johanna Kurkela. The range of folk instruments that decorate the keyboard textures.

And if you’re not aware of what Auri do, you’re bound to be bewitched/hypnotised/seduced by their beguiling arrangements. About as far removed from any preconceived grand Metal statements as you can imagine while retaining much of the emotional impact of any symphonic swell that makes your hair stand on end and goosebumps prickle. For a hook, head straight to the stunning and uplifting Pearl Diving that adds some prime Donockley to a striking piece of music that gives an alternative to coffee table Enya and Clannad. Now that’s what I call Celtic Folk with a popular tinge.

If you’re back with us after being injected with a hefty shot of elation by one of the star turns on Those We Don’t Speak Of, you can catch your breath and track back to a sequence that begins with the title track. One that raises the curtain to herald a celestial vibe and haunting lyric – the beginning of a rich wealth of treasures where the skill is in the restraint and in a delicacy of playing.

Lilting sing-song melodies and warm textures are embellished with the full range of Troy Donockley’s arsenal of instruments which make his presence so familiar and distinctive. While Kiss The Mountain drifts in, evoking a pillow of clouds brushing the mountain peaks before breaking and dissolving into the ether, The Duty Of Dust encompasses some exquisite vocal arrangements and sees the smattering of percussion make its mark with a widescreen passage kicking in. Light And Flood crosses subtle classical with a skittering piano in the same way that a Mike Oldfield classic would segue seamlessly from one part to the next as the sequence continues on a travelogue where The Long Walk adds an unfolding sense of drama.

The coda comes with the intimacy captured on Fireside Bard. Bringing closure and a contrast of voices and a sense that by now we should be on a final journey to the Undying Lands. It’s been a totally captivating experience. Peaceful. Soothing. Uplifting. Music for a higher plane. Auri is in the process of carving a very special niche.

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