Aura - Deliverance
Spider Rock Promotion
Progressive Rock / Metal
10 songs (53:45)
Release year: 2011
Myspace, Spider Rock
Reviewed by Kyle

Over my nearly two years of reviewing for this site (my how time flies!) I’ve encountered many albums that I’ve struggled with reviewing, and this is certainly one of them. Aura’s Deliverance is a record that I was initially reluctant to enjoy; the confusing production job, awkward merging of influences and plodding pace of several of the songs made it a difficult album to get through at first. Yet with each subsequent listen I formed a different opinion, and over the course of a few weeks I found myself really enjoying it. It’s far from perfect, but this relaxing blend of classic prog rock and progressive metal has turned out to be a very listenable album that’s charming and somewhat unique.

The best way to describe Aura’s sound on this album is citing it as a mix of Spock’s Beard, Yes, and Dream Theater. There are just enough metal riffs present to justify sneaking the term “metal” into the band’s genre description, but many are fairly simple and serve as background framework to the real stars here: vocals and keyboards. Singer / drummer Giovanni Trotta has a voice that would fit in well on a power metal record, and the fact his style works so well with this album makes his vocal style a unique component. His voice isn’t incredibly powerful, but he delivers several truly melodic choruses in a way that is emotional and enjoyable.

The keyboard effects are expected for this kind of prog rock album – several bright, shimmery effects abound – but their integration is excellent. Tasteful solos, atmospheric background effects, and beautiful piano playing combine to form a broad sound. Keyboardist Francesco Di Verniere’s performance defines Deliverance. Giovanni’s drumming adds yet another interesting element to the band; as most of the songs are rather slow in tempo, the drum work here wouldn’t be out of place on a doom metal album. The music does speed up once in a while though, as shown in the goofy instrumental Efraim and one of the sole metal tracks The Glorious Day.

For the most part, however, Deliverance is the kind of album that most will likely put on as background music while working. That’s not to say that the album is unlistenable on its own – because it certainly isn’t – but when you listen to it that way, the album’s flaws become very apparent. Even though most songs are kept under six minutes in length, the way Aura paces them is borderline plodding. In addition, the production may make the album difficult to listen to for some; while the mix is suitable for a prog rock album, the guitar sound is so thin that once the metal moments start cropping up, the band takes on a garage band quality that does not bode well. I feel that this album would’ve been better as a straightforward homage to Spock’s Beard.

At the same time, however, the blending of the two styles makes for a somewhat unique album. The band's ambitions are clear, and they almost reach them; Deliverance could’ve been a much better album if the guitar riffs and sound had been improved. Even with its flaws, Aura has still delivered a solid, calming prog rock album that most fans of this style will enjoy without a hitch. Unlike many progressive albums, one doesn’t need to dig into every nuance of Deliverance to enjoy it; just put it on, press play, and enjoy.

Pros: A great homage to classic prog with a unique twist; very relaxing

Cons: Album kinda drags; production issues; blending of styles is sometimes awkward

Killing Songs :
Album as a whole is good
Kyle quoted 71 / 100
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