Iluminato - Reflections of humanity 4.5/5

Reviewed: 6-1-11





Tracklist:

1. Helm of blindness
2. Hypocrisy
3. Betrayed soul
4. Howard beale
5. Imperial heart
6. Aurea
7. Diana Christensen
8. Hell
9. The last road
10. My astral home


Iluminato is a symphonic gothic power metal band from Brazil and this is their debut CD. The songs are generally fast, energetic and bombastic with occasional excursions into symphonic death metal, along with some lush almost dreamy gothic metal passages. Every song features huge, dramatic symphonic keys and strings that simply sweep you away with their epic majesty. The power metal is lightly crunchy, busy and rocking, transitioning into ominous symphonic blackened death metal when Iluminato increases the speed, intensity, aggression and complexity. The pacing is not relentlessly fast, however, as the lush gothic metal passages are nicely scattered throughout the CD to add a pleasing warmth and beauty.

The vocals are “beauty and the beast” style; the female vocals, courtesy of Liz Demier, are, without doubt, among the most beautiful, enchanting soprano vocals I have ever heard. Not only is her voice unusually smooth and penetrating, but she often has an airy, haunting quality to her delivery that is almost hypnotizing. She is especially mesmerizing when she sings during the lush passages. The counterpoint extreme vocals are courtesy of Iluminato’s other full time member, Pablo Ferreira. He provides a mix of deep menacing death vocals and unusually fierce black vocals, although the death vocals by far predominate. Indeed, it’s Pablo’s vocal aggression that makes the occasional excursions into the blackened death metal so ominous and crushing.

This is an unusually engaging CD for a band debut. Although it clocks in at a relatively short 37 minutes, it “feels” much longer than that, in large part because of the emotional impact the CD makes on the listener: every song is so tight and well-structured with seamless transitions from fast and rocking to fierce and menacing to smooth and beautiful. Lyrically it is a celebration of independent individualist thinking, and to this end they include frequent clips, some quite funny, from the 1976 satirical film Network, in which a TV network exploits the outrageous rants against the media of their (probably insane) newscaster Howard Beale. ‘Reflections of humanity’ is a return to the earlier days of symphonic "beauty and the beast" gothic metal with a slightly modern twist and will surely warm the hearts of fans of early Tristania, After Forever and Theatre of Tragedy.



CHRIS




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