Auri – “Auri” (2018)


Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Review by Tony Cannella

Since the last Nightwish tour, Tuomas Holopainen and Troy Donockley have used their “off-time” wisely and effectively. The duo has joined voices with vocalist Johanna Kurkela on their new project AURI and they have just released their self-titled debut. This is not anything like Nightwish, there are some similarities, but after listening, AURI is its own entity for sure. Otherwise what would be the point of doing another project, right? I’ve always felt that Tuomas Holopainen is a tremendous songwriter and musician, so it is fun and interesting to hear him do a different sort of project than Nightwish. It would be difficult to come up with a label and genre to which AURI belongs – one thing is for sure, they are certainly not metal. Instead the songs on their debut are infused with plenty of atmosphere, folk, celtic and cinematic influences are strongly present as well. Lead vocalist Johanna Kurkela‘s vocals fit so perfectly and indeed she works so well with Tuomas and Troy. My favorite track and major stand out for me was the beautiful “Night 13” [watch the video here]. The song is so stunning and the build of the track is a major highlight. Beyond that, there are other songs to feast on, like “See”, which it builds and builds to a cinematic crescendo, “The Name of the Wind”, “Aphrodite Rising” and “Skeleton Tree”, among others (I will also name “Desert Flower” and “The Space Between” as two other examples of the fine music present). Throughout the 11-songs and 56-minutes, AURI brings the listener on a journey of beautiful soundscapes and emotional reverberations and in the end the journey is well worth it.

Rating – 90/100



  1. The Space Between
  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 Chanterelles (feat. Liquor in the Well)


Line Up

  • Johanna Kurkela – Vocals & viola
  • Tuomas Holopainen –  Keyboards & Backing vocals
  • Troy Donockley – Guitars, bouzouki, uilleann pipes, low whistles, aerophone, bodhran, keyboards & vocals

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