Review: Majora – Aphotic

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Written by Brett Kihlmire

Released back in September by Australian progressive rockers, Majora, Aphotic is the third outing for the band and not quite the prog you’re expecting. But no worries, this one is worth the time it takes to get through the six tracks contained within.

The album kicks off with ‘The Fear of Falling Forever.’ Honestly, I was expecting a real banger with this song considering the release’s short length, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is a deeply melodic instrumental tune that taps right into your soul. It’s fit for a soundtrack and perfect for your “inspiration playlist” with its subtle synths and chilling guitars.

‘Aphotic’ picks up right where ‘The Fear of Falling Forever’ left off with a sudden surge of heavy guitars and drums before falling back into the melodic strumming style. Of course, this time around we’re greeted with a strong rhythm from the drum, especially with the cymbals, that adds another layer of depth to this track. Things get heavy about a minute in but the track never loses its melodic charm and has great build up throughout. Though it gets heavier as the track progresses it never crosses the line and stays in the magical realm created thus far. About three and half minutes in the band really kicks it up a notch by presenting a more technical and speedier approach before dropping into a gloomy 45 second outro that blends right into the next track.

Like the previous track, ‘Every Shadow is Threatened by Morning Light’ picks up right where the last track ended. This one is a synth heavy track in that the guitars and drums are absent in favor of a, dare I say, Mass Effect-esque synth section. It’s a really cool song that serves as an excellent interlude and really keeps the spirit of the album alive and well.

Do I need to even say it anymore? ‘Tidal’ continues the flow of the album right where the last track ended but at this point the album is starting to feel a bit formulaic, though not to a fault just yet. It’s strong on the melody and a captivating tune, but it’s lengthy and seems to be the plateau of the album.

The final two tracks are ‘Kursk – Descent’ and ‘Kursk – Requiem.’ The former of the two is a nearly three minute melodic introduction to the nine and a half album closer. Both are heavy on the atmosphere but ‘Requiem’ is definitely the main event of the two with the addition of rumbling drums behind the ambient style of this album closing epic. As with all of the songs before it, Majora sets a captivating atmosphere brimming with melodies that are pleasing to the ear. It doesn’t go over the top but it gets pretty heavy at a couple points, which really helps shake things up, as a finale should do. Honestly, the wailing of the lead guitar really came out of left field, which is unfortunate, for the album could have been even better with a little more experimentation. Regardless, this is the crème de la crème of the album.
The moment I started Aphotic I was drawn in by Majora’s airy melodic style. The band isn’t your typical prog metal/rock group, as it straddles the line between the two. It’s an immensely satisfying album that may get a little tiresome late in the album, but the band manages to recapture the listener’s attention with the lengthy finale. Overall, it’s a charming album with a couple of minor flaws, but a damn good album regardless. 9/10

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