Talented British multi-instrumentalist Andy Gillion, of Finnish band Mors Principium Est, unleashes his debut solo album Neverafter today and it’s an enchanting listen from beginning to end.

A magical and emotive musical offering, the concept album tells the heartbreaking story of Aria. A girl who mourns the loss of her mother and cherishes the music box, which has been left behind and not played a note since. Through Aria’s dreams, played throughout this album, we follow her quest to hear that music box melody once again.

The album opens with the sound of a music box as you are taken off into the dreamlike world of your subconscious. The orchestration and guitar solos weave between themselves as you float on a journey into the neverafter before a vast magical world appears to the sound of heavy riffs.

The album features many special guests tapping into their talents, including Arch Enemy guitarist Jeff Loomis who appears on ‘Skyless’ and Christina Marie who adds a haunting operatic vocal on ‘Aria.’ The artillery gun fire drums, which are essentially the only part Andy does not play, are from 66Samus of Decrepit Birth.

Andy’s craftsmanship as a musician is exceptional. He works on the orchestration pieces, bringing together the choir vocals and the guitars. At times, it is epic. Take note of the soaring dual guitar solo at the end of ‘Becoming The Dream,’ for example.

The highs and lows of the music follow Aria’s story, whether it’s the dark and sinister ‘Black Lotus’ or the realisation of something wonderful happening in ‘Shards of A Forgotten World.’ Through immersion in the sounds, you get the sense that Aria’s journey is beginning to bear fruit.

The epic album closer ‘Neverafter’ combines all the elements of the album: heavy riffs, exciting orchestration, artillery like drumming and lightning-fast guitar work. It all builds to a crescendo before finishing with the lost melody of the music box. Aria finally finds happiness before abruptly waking up.

Andy Gillion’s debut album is a testament to the man’s ability as a songwriter and expert musician. While shorn of lyrics for the most part, the music tells the story so well that you know exactly what is happening in Aria’s story every step of the way. Just lie back, relax and let your imagination fly with Aria to neverafter for a magical adventure.

Rating: 8/10

Neverafter is out today and you can purchase it here.

Watch the video for ‘Skyless’ featuring Jeff Loomis below.

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Photo: supplied