Review 2129 : Aro Ora – The Twelfth Hour – English

Aro Ora is back to life.

After a few years of existence under the name Ao, where an EP was released, the band changed its name to adopt its current identity and release its first album. In 2024, Quentin Dabouis (vocals), Florent Giudicelli (guitar), Anthony Matheus (guitar), Clément Douam (bass) and Quentin Regnault (drums) unveil The Twelfth Hour, their second album.

The band kicks off with the jerky riffs of A People Defiled, a highly aggressive first track that favors furious Metalcore roots while leaving room for more soaring Prog influences. Screams and clean vocals clash throughout this heavy groovy track, then it’s on To Die A Pacifist that the musicians feed their duality, with a much sharper contrast between violent parts and moments of ethereal tranquility. The explosive final propels us on to In Sheer Luck Lays No Hazard, where dissonant heady harmonics multiply over a more complex worked basis, with the vocalist freely alternating vocal placements. Once again, it’s on the final that the band sets the most motivating tones, as the rage ignites from the very first seconds of Equal In The Sequel, returning to a fast tempo and powerful riffs followed by a very dark Nu Metal-oriented influence on the soothing passages. Anger and Love will immediately plunge us into its chaotic waves, which allow themselves a few rare moments of floating, as well as a vaporous end, but the band quickly segues into Tragically Numb, which returns with motivating elements and regular strikes with belligerent Hardcore influences punctuated by intoxicating leads, contrasting violence again.

The second half of the album features two bonus tracks – the slow, soaring Long Live, where Prog influences are exploited to the full before intensifying to finally return to Post-Metal elements, then the massive Unsung Heroes, which lines up energetic riffs relying on abrasive firepower as well as some rare softer refrains – but also a live capture in Chateauroux of Running on the Mobius Strip, a track from the previous album where the band won’t fail to unite their audience while pouring out their anger.

I discovered Aro Ora with their first EP, and although it’s been a long time coming, this second album bears witness to the ever-growing power of the band from Touraine! The fury of The Twelfth Hour is perfectly exploited, and only awaits a live performance to be fully spreaded!


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