Released: 2011, Escape Music
When people discuss Australian Power Metal the usual names come up Pegazus, Lord, Black Majesty and Dungeon. It is certainly time to increase the Big Four of Australian Metal to the Big Five and add Ilium. This is the first review of an Ilium album on Metal-rules.com and it is sadly overdue that we discuss this fine quartet. Lord Tim is one of the main figureheads in Australian Metal. After Dungeon he formed his own group Lord but also sang on the second and third Ilium albums! However, things change and he was eventually replaced by none other than Mike DiMeo. Yes, that Mike DiMeo! Mike has been handling the vocal chores for Ilium for the past few years including the newest release GENETIC MEMORY.
GENETIC MEMORY is the bands fifth full-length studio album since 2003 and sixth release overall if ya count the debut, self-titled EP. I bought the debut album when it came out and to be honest I wasn’t blown away. It was competent and solid but not earth-shattering. Accordingly, the band got lost in my personal shuffle over the past several years, but after hearing this new album, I’m going to have to revisit the back catalogue. Why? Well, GENETIC MEMORY is pretty raging little album!
Ilium has mastered the essentials of a good release. We have a nice, evil-looking, lizard-like creature on the cover. The production of the album is excellent. Everything sounds loud and proud as a good Metal album should. It’s good value with 11 songs clocking in at just over an hour, including the epic- closing track at over 11 minutes complete with didgeridoo fade out for a little touch of authentic down-under sound.
Mike sounds quite a bit like Johnny Gioeli of Axel Rudi Pell fame on this album. He is singing a touch more gruff and raw than some of his previous work in Riot and Masterplan. It’s a good tone for him and I wish he would use it more. I think it is one of his better performances actually. Musically, the band stays on the tried and true path of pure Metal, nothing especially unique or innovative but certainly GENETIC MEMORY being bolstered by great songs and great performances. The nice, meaty guitar tone is enhanced by a good production.
GENETIC MEMORY has shown considerable progression and sophistication since I first visited the band and this would be as good a place as any to start your exploration of the band. If you are a long time fan of Ilium, I'm confident you be very pleased with this well-done slab of Metal music.