Tuesday 20 June 2023

Auralayer - Thousand Petals (Album Review)

Release Date: July 14th 2023. Record Label: King Volume Records. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Thousand Petals: Tracklisting

The Lake

All My TIme

Christ Antler

Faith To Reason

Shelf Black


You Walk

Dance To Thrash



Thomas Powell

Jake Williams

Vladimir Doodgle


Thousand Petals is the debut album from Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metallers Auralayer who fuse the Progressive Sludge vibes of Mastodon and match this up with the classic Doom-Pop melodies that Torche and Floor were known for. You can also hear traces of KYLESA on the heavier moments which isn't surprising since Philip Cope from KYLESA helped record this album. The album is quite a fast-paced and aggressive form of music with a stunning Progressive and Psychedelic backdrop allowing Auralayer to be quite a highly talented and inventive power-trio.

The opening songs of the album The Lake and All My Time sees Auralayer perfectly tap into the musical creative void now left behind by Torche who sadly split last year. Shades of heavy Distorted "POP" music works amazingly well with the melodic Sludge/Stoner AMPLIFIER RIFF worship that the band explores with a Progressive attitude that would make Baroness and Mastodon proud. The vocals have a Sludge Rock drive to them with elements of Doomed Out Punk that gives Auralayer a more Rock/Metal atmosphere but the sugar-sweet lyrics allows the band to do something wonderfully creative with their music.

Third song Christ Antler is where Auralayer becomes more aggressive with their choice of musical themes whilst still being downright catchy, progressive and instantly melodic. The sludgy guitars have a more central premise here with that "POP" atmosphere only being used for the quieter parts of the song. Auralayer becomes more daring with the Psychedelic and Progressive moments on the later stages of the song. As they move over confidently into Sludge Metal territory with a killer Mastodon-esque drive but still playing their own signature style of Heavy Rock.

Fourth song Faith To Reason opens with a trippy Post-Rock/Post-Stoner that has a manic Post-Punk energy but the band wisely inject that Doom-Pop flavour into the mix. The vocals become ever more confident with a full-on Doomed Hard Rock persona matched with the rebellious lyrics the band have written for this track. Auralayer does explore LOUDER levels of Amplifier based Guitar Reverb on this song with the mood being quite frantic and slightly OTT. However, the impressive display of finely tuned Sludgy instrumental work from the band remains one of the heaviest and most thrilling aspects of the album.

Fifth song Shelf Black has a more 90's Alt-Rock/Grunge feel to it with the Doom/Stoner based approach only being used sparingly for the opening stages of the track. The song does take a while to fully get going but when the heavier sounds appear then Auralayer feels more comfortable on this track. Shades of Nirvana and HUM can be heard here with the band taking a "LESS IS MORE" route with the hazy and heavy Spaced Out grooves that allows the listener to hear a different side to Auralayer.

Auralayer continues with their "Doom-Pop" odyssey with the remaining four tracks on the album with Peacemonger, You Walk, Dance To Thrash and Monstrum being perhaps the most rebellious, heaviest and outlandish parts of the album. There's a sense of "PARTY" atmosphere or allowing the listener the chance to have a damn good time listening to these tracks. Though, Auralayer always plays a highly energetic mix of different heavy grooves that moves from Doom, Pop, Psych, Prog, Sludge and Stoner with wonderful creative conviction. The album is quite daring with its more outlandish ideas but Thousand Petals remains one of the most upbeat albums you'll hear this year.

Thousand Petals is a deeply rich and brilliantly entertaining affair that has some of the catchiest and freshest grooves around. This album will no doubt get Auralayer widely known within the underground scene and perhaps allow the band to claim the void that Torche have left behind recently. 

Overall, this album is an absolute joy to listen to and perhaps be one of the most inventive debut albums to be released this year. 

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Dave at US/THEM PR for the promo.

Thousand Petals is available to buy on DD/Vinyl via King Volume Records from July 14th 2023.


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