Album Review: Aura Noir – Aura Noire

The juggernaut of seminal Norwegian black thrash group Aura Noir has rolled on with consistent fury and unstoppable force for the past 25 years, offering plenty to worshippers of all things musically extreme throughout this time, with five full-length albums and several other intermittent releases. The trio has now released its sixth full-length, the eponymous ‘Aura Noire’. It has been six years since the last album ‘Out to Die’, but fans would more than likely come to the conclusion that this new one has been worth the wait, and those of you (still!) unfamiliar with the band would find it to be an ideal entry point into the savage sonic landscape of Aura Noir.

The album’s cover art stays in tune with that of Aura Noir’s past releases, nothing flashy or provocative, just dark, raw and mysterious, much like the band’s music itself. At a tad under 33 minutes, ‘Aura Noire’ is of the perfect duration for any album presenting black metal, thrash metal or both. Any shorter and it feels slightly underdone, and any longer, it surely loses its impact. This is where the mastery and experience of a band like Aura Noir comes in, who show their peers and contemporaries how it’s done, as many of them still keep making the mistake of timing their albums wrong.

The sheer savagery and intensity of Aura Noir’s sound can be felt straightaway on the raging opening track ‘Dark Lung of The Storm’, which builds up at mid-tempo and then unleashes itself full tilt. Extreme metal is stereotyped as a musical style with indecipherable vocals, but Aura Noir have succeeded in defying this stereotype for many years. Same is the case with the vocals on this album, and in many ways, the fact that you understand the words being belted out, makes this type of music that much fiercer and more enjoyable. The album solidifies a strong opening with the pounding, riff-heavy ‘Grave Dweller’ and the relatively more progressive and atmospheric ‘Hell’s Lost Chambers’, the longest track on offer here. The speed goes through the roof again with ‘The Obscuration’ and is maintained through ‘Demoniac Flow’. ‘Shades Ablaze’ probably captures the essence of the entire album within its 3-minute length and for that reason, it may be the best song on it. But there is no relenting with this one, as ‘Aura Noire’ delivers two more strong compositions ‘Mordant Wind’ and ‘Cold Wind Grasp’, before coming to a close with an excellent 2-minute outro track.

The combination of the extended instrumental passages and the deadly precise and accurate usage of vocals is the standout quality shining through this album from start to finish. As mentioned above, speed is certainly demonstrated in some songs, but it’s not all about that, and the music holds its own just as well in the slower segments. The trio of Aggressor, Apollyon and Blasphemer has been together since ’96, and it shows in the cohesiveness of their performance on this album, as they sound very much like a unified force. Besides, the production values are in line with what these songs require to make them palatable, yet retain their power and impact.

Aura Noir’s newest full-length is a raging, fist-pounding, hellraising beast of an album that sets the modern standard for old-school black thrash.

– by Andrew Bansal

Rating: 9/10

Record Label: Indie Recordings
Release Date: April 27 2018

Track Listing:
1. Dark Lung Of The Storm (3:26)
2. Grave Dweller (3:25)
3. Hell’s Lost Chambers (6:05)
4. The Obscuration (2:34)
5. Demoniac Flow (3:40)
6. Shades Ablaze (2:56)
7. Mordant Wind (5:08)
8. Cold Bone Grasp (3:31)
9. Outro (1:53)

Total Duration: 32:40

Aura Noir links: facebook