Our Story

Aura Surreal began in 2007 with a group of 5 Southern Utah musicians who teamed up to write songs that would be a progression on all they knew. The original project had a modern style that combined old and new rock, punk, and metal. The group was electric and débuted the first album Sanity Awakes in 2010. They went on to place 7th in the Nation with Project Independent that year and have had the privilege of playing both Rocklahoma and Rock Jam several times. Shortly after beginning the second album Bury The No One in late 2011, some changes in the line up took the band down a new path. Aura Surreal began to come into its new form in early 2014 with Steve McLaughlin on vocals and Nickolas Gough on bass, both young and upcoming musicians in our little corner of the world, enthusiastically jumped on board. They bring a new flavor and high energy to live performance that has reignited the drive and fire behind our music and in our fans. Original rhythm/lead guitarist Justin Vogel has taken the spotlight with his backbone breaking riffs, experience and leadership, both on stage and in studio. We are also proud to announce the addition of our new rhythm guitarist Ben Krieger! *Jeff Culligan will now be taking over as the new stick wielding, head smashing beat master on the drums*. The evolution of Aura Surreal has only just begun. We are currently writing songs for another full length album and have debuted (live) some of our song coming out on the EP with our new line-up:


The Calling - 3 Song E.P. (Jan 2010)

Sanity Awakes - 9 Songs (April 2010)

Downsized- 3 Song E.P. (August 2013)

Bury The No One – 9 Songs (October 2013)

**Family Values EP - 4 songs (December 2016)

Live Performances Include:

2009 Rocklahoma Fest. (Oklahoma) 
2010 Rocklahoma Fest. (Oklahoma) 
2011 Rock Jam (Colorado) 
2012 Rock Jam (Colorado) 
2013 Rock Jam (Colorado) 
Club Vegas (Salt Lake City), 
The Cheyenne Saloon (Las Vegas) , 
The Firehouse (St.George, Ut) , 
The Electric Theater W/ In This Moment (St. George, Ut) 
One Hero At a Time (Casablanca, Nevada) 
Thunder Rock 2015 (Vernal, Ut)
Jazzy's Battle of the Bands- Winner 2015 (St. George, UT)
Balloons & Tune- 3rd place 2016 (Kanab, UT)

Steven Lee Mclaughlin (Vocals and Muscles)

Steven Lee "The MC" Mclaughlin, is a lifetime musician of many forms. He began playing guitar at a young age then decided to pick up playing drums along with tinkering around with a clarinet in grade school.
  Steven Lee went on to play drums in his first band "Immolate" which fell apart in just a brief 3 months, going forward after the fallout Steven played drums again for "GRIMUS", played guitar for "INN HELL", and vocals for "SKRAP METAL" and a few other bands he can't recall. Then along came "LIVE IN PREQUIL" which had a good run starting in late 2010. He played guitar full time in which they released 1 E.P. and a full length "self titled" album. The band dismantled right before releasing a second CD leaving Steven S.O.L. on releasing musical ideas.
  Filling down on his luck Steven received a phone call from "Justin Vogel" asking to come try out for Aura Surreal after hearing some of Steven's vocals from an L.I.P. song recorded at Aaron Hamblins "Sound Design Studio" studio in St. George, Utah. Not knowing what would come he tried out and was accepted into the group with open arms. During downtime he began getting back into fitness, competing in his first event he placed 2nd overall. He also worked towards forming his company "Rebuild Today". to this day Steven Lee remains working diligently with #Aura Surreal and running his company, all the while rising his newly started family and creating memories. 
   P.S. Nick drank a Coca Cola that had stevens's name printed on it and will be forever bummed the remainder of eternity because of it.....

Justin Vogel (El Hefe and Shred)

I've always loved music, Been a big part of my life. It all started by going to my first KISS concert in my early teens. Played in middle school bands as a drummer and in fact took drum lessons, until I discovered the guitar, amazing instrument. My first was a Gibson explorer, and a peavey amp, would spend hours learning songs after school such as OZZY, Metallica, Megadeth, Maiden, Priest, Halen, etc. Hair bands and heavy metal was where it was at for me! We were all rockers. Started a few cover bands back in the day and have played plenty in original projects. My passion has let me see and do what I've loved my whole life. 

Played with a great bunch of musicians along the way as well. 

Very thankful and humble for my musical ventures, and have had the best support ever through friends and family. 


Stay classy bitches. Cause you never know where life will take you. 


Nickolas Gough (Boom stick)

What's up all you metal maniacs?! My name is Nickolas Gough and I play bass and backup vocals in this kickass metal band known as Aura Surreal!! I grew up in Sandy City, UT and have been playing electric guitar & bass since I was 12. My inspirations include; Metallica - which is my #1, Megadeth, Slayer, Korn, In Flames, Lamb of God, Pantera and Chimaira! \m/ Shout out to my wonderful mother for all of her love and support!!!

Ben Krieger (Rhythm Thrasher)

Born in Denver, CO in 74 and started playing around the age of 12 and heavily influenced by family. Growing up i moved around to a lot of places, Salt lake, Los Angels, Sacremento, Dallas, and eventually here to St. George. I was exposed to many styles of music because of this it shows up in the way i write and play music. My major influences come from thrash metal by the likes of Exodus, Overkill, Anthrax, Testament. I have played in several bands, Kidd Wicked(Dallas), Higher Power(Dallas), Insanity Plea(SLC), Front Line Morale Destroyer(SLC), and Aura Surreal(STG) currently. Playing Guitar is a passion and a life style for me and i cant imagine my life without it at this point, i'm happy playing with my brothers in Aura Surreal and i am very excited to show off all the things our hard work is creating.

Jeff Culligan (Head Smasher)

Started my musical journey at the age of 9 playing piano. Switched to drums at 14 and never looked back. Started playing The clubs in Salt Lake city in early 80's with the band Illiterate Bliss. Moved to San Diego in the mid 80's Joined the band Gypsy Widow. Founded the band .08 with guitarist Steven White in Kanab Utah. Joined punk rock band band Skari Kari 2006. Joined the popular southern Utah blues rock band Crippled Stripper 2010.Co founded thrash rock metal band Korupther with Crippled Stripper band mate Jerry Love, and Dylan Reece. Guitarist Dave Guy joined soon after. Members of that band eventually became Sucker Punch, when lead singer Marsha (Mod) Stewart came on board.Started playing in the cover band Damage Case in 2015 with Justin Vogel and the other members of Aura Surreal, Then was asked to join Aura Surreal in 2016.
I'm very excited to be part of such a great band!