Auri – Auri

Rating: 4.0/5
Distributor/Label: Nuclear Blast
Released: 2018
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Band Website:


Band Lineup:

Johanna Kurkela: (Vocals/viola)

Troy Donockley: (Acoustic and electric guitars, bouzouki, uilleann pipes, low whistles, aerophone, bodhran, keys, voices)

Tuomas Holopainen: (Keys and backing vocals)

  1. The Space Betweem
  2. I Hope Your World Is Kind
  3. Skeleton Tree
  4. Desert Flower
  5. Night 13
  6. See
  7. The Name Of The Wind
  8. Aphrodite Rising
  9. Savant
  10. Underthing Solstice
  11. Them Thar Chanterell (Feat Liquor in The Well)

Auri are new yet their ancestry can be traced back to 2011 when ‘Aphrodite Rising’ appeared out of the mist. Now, the band has solidified to an entity which has produced their first full length self-titled album released through Nuclear Blast. The group consists of Finnish singer Johanna Kurkela (vocals/viola) and two Nightwish members. They are Troy Donockley (Acoustic and electric guitars, bouzouki, uilleann pipes, low whistles, aerophone, bodhran, keys, voices) and Tuomas Holopainen (keys and backing vocals). The trio have united to bring something different and not wholly confined by earthly/material limits albeit being in a twelve track album format.

There are some very clever and intuitive songs throughout this album with some very intricate structures. The multi-instrumental elements fill a vast multi-layered landscape with near limitless potential for growth and expansion. Not every song is a wonder though, as some of the combinations fall off the radar without having too much impact. The duet, for example, on ‘Desert Flower’ comes off a little flat but it has some excellent instrumental moments.

There’s so much appeal though throughout the album with many songs striking a chord deep within which possess true resonance and staying power. This is certainly helped by Johanna Kurkela’s mesmerizing voice which has an impeccable range from very soft lyrical whispers to high, spiraling climbs. She holds phenomenal control over her voice. ‘I Hope Your World Is Kind’ serves as an early example of this as does the next track ‘Skeleton Tree’ which implements some interesting Celtic/folk influences from the uilleann pipes, bodhran drums and the well tempered viola.

 I would have to state that ‘See’ is shining example of Auri’s great knack for producing some highly alluring and infatuating music. Johanna’s vocals bring the story of the music to life as the deep tidal bass and the spiced flavour of string resonance from the bouzouki take you to another plain of consciousness. The keyboards and synths are also a major player throughout and are used in a very inspired fashion by the band. It’s almost cinematic in its end product and you can really imagine vast landscapes filled with rolling mist pouring down from the hills, especially when those uilleann pipes are used. ‘Underthing Solstice’ – which is the longest song on the album – uses great harmonies between the vocals and the instruments to build such imagery.
The final track ‘Them Thar Chanterelles’ sees Johanna’s voice used as an instrument rather than a story piece and here we get some more Celtic/folk music with an upbeat feel and tempo to the music. ‘Auri’ finishes on a high note and it was some journey. Folk music isn’t really my thing but this really had a lot to offer, a certain mystique which could perpetually inspire the imagination to crawl over mountainous peaks, stare past distant horizons and swim in a sea of dreams. They are a talented trio and it will be very worthwhile to keep tabs on a truly alluring act.
Review By Pete Mutant