To say I was surprised by this album is something of an understatement as it is way more melodic than I have come to expect from Aural Music, and in many ways, it is as if we have been thrown right back into the last century with an album which has been heavily inspired by the likes of Europe. This project is named after Kyle Skinher (aka Haris from prog metal pioneers Hail Spirit Noir) who provided all the material as well as bass, synths and samples while he is joined by singer Cons Marg and guitarist Theo Lirazatkis from the same band, with drums by Hakon Freyr Gustafsson and lead guitars by Roger Rovento, J.Demian and Antonis Sevdalis.

It would have been quite easy for this to be released under the Hail Spirit Noir banner, but given this approach is very different indeed it has allowed the guys to move in a very different direction without having to meet previous expectations, similar in some ways to Soilwork and The Night Flight Orchestra, and like those bands they have created an offshoot which is powerful and wonderful in its own right. For fans of melodic rock then this a delight throughout with great songs and superb performances but what makes this standout from so many is the way they have managed to provide all the melody but removed the sugar and over production so while it is inspired by music more aimed at radio it still has an edge. Cons is relishing the opportunity to show off his pipes and how he can smash the requirements, Hakon is driving hard from the back, Kyle allowed himself to sit back and have fun providing polish while never going over the top, and then we have plenty of layered guitars to enjoy.

“Dance With The Dead” is a funky number surely destined for chart success with some nice falsetto and a driving funky sound which makes the listener smile, while opener “You Are Next” contains some subtle NWOBHM moments which are great. It may be small, just 8 songs and 35 minutes, but this is very nearly perfectly formed and is essential for anyone who enjoys this style of music.

Rating: 9/10