Ilium - Permian dusk 4/5

Reviewed: 10-13-06





Tracklist:

1. Vacuous
2. An odyssey through time
3. Chloroform divinity
4. Permian dusk
5. Jaundiced with fear
6. Dark breed
7. Subconscious reality
8. Zeroid - mechanical pestilence
9. All control lost
10. Zygo-maze


Ilium provides another absolute gem from the Australian metal scene, which has frequently seemed to capture its own unique sound squarely between traditional U.S. metal stylings and the European power sound, which we have previously heard from acts like Dungeon, and the criminally unheralded (Australian) Hyperion. The band's name is a synonym for the legendary city of Troy.

The band's first full outing, 'Sirens of the styx', was impressive, with great, memorable riffs and guitar work, definitely complex and intriguing. Songwise, the structures could be compared to Steve Harris' more instrumentally focused epics like "Phantom of the opera" and "To tame a land". However, on that prior CD, vocalist Mark Snedden, with a high, somewhat nasal delivery, was at best an acquired taste delivering the sensational lyrics which covered ancient classical literature of Sophocles' tragedy of "Antigone" and old English dungeon crawler "Beowulf". The CD was produced by Lord Tim of Dungeon.

On this CD, Lord Tim takes over the vocals himself, providing great, strong, typical power metal vocals, and the result is much better, bringing together just a fresh, powerful, well written but complex melodic metal CD, again, rife with well written and deeply intellectual lyrics throughout:
"Yet dreams are flawed and never speak
It seems the raw, demonic weakness
Poisons every structure and belief
That we are yet to comprehend..."

Opener "Vacuous" starts off the CD with melodic aggression, and one of the more catchier pieces on the CD, along with the also concise title track, while a lot of the other tracks offer a more epic feeling and involved song structure, like "Chloroform Divinity", but after a few listens, they are definitely engaging as well.

The guitar work is the tight, classic, dual guitar melodic dance that should delight anyone who salivates at seeing the adjective "Maidenish" applied to any variation of the noun guitar. You can tell there is a great deal of time and effort devoted to the instrumental composition, and the band is not content to just play through the more typical stylings in a metal way that we've heard so often before.

Fans of bands like Iron Maiden, Liege Lord (circa 'Burn to my touch'), classic Lizzy Borden, (and certainly, quite obviously, Dungeon) should love this CD, and so should fans of fresh, energetic, well delivered "power metal" that walks the line between the pure, catchy melody of the European power metal sound, and the darker, heavier, and sometimes overly complex U.S. power metal scene, especially if they appreciate well written and thoughtful, yet original lyrics.



CRAIG




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