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Released: 2015, Nightmare Records
Ilium is a long-running Australian power metal act with five previous albums to their name. I’d guess that they’ve had a difficult time breaking out of their home country, at least into the notoriously difficult North American market, evidenced by the fact that I’ve never heard of them before. This, despite the fact that long-time Riot vocalist Mike DiMeo lent his talents to their last two albums. DiMeo has left the group, but they’ve managed to recruit a more than capable replacement: Nightmare Records founder, and power metal vocalist-about-town, Lance King!
From listening to this album, it’s clear that Ilium is somewhat of an oddity in the power metal world. They’re music is readily identifiable as power metal but it falls somewhere in the middle, not quite the happy elf sing-along of a Rhapsody of Fire, but also not exactly the crunchy anger exhibited by a Halcyon Way. Some of the soaring guitar lines definitely carry that triumphant vibe and King is certainly capable of handling any style, all of which puts Ilium in the somewhat unique position of having a sound of their own, while still firmly recognizable as power metal.
For me, having never heard their music before, MY MISANTHROPIA sounds truly fresh and invigorating as the band puts their own spin on power metal conventions. A perfect example of this is “Penny Black” which is a sublime mix of victorious melody, thrash, and both harmonious and venom-filled vocals. At their best, Ilium’s created a slew of songs that I can still sing in my head, days after listening to the album. For the most part the whole album successfully manages this balancing act with my only caveat being that a few of the middle songs aren’t quite as memorable. Fortunately the album closes on one a high with the aggressive “The Cryptozoologist”.
MY MISANTHROPIA is an impressive return for Ilium and an album that power metal fans should definitely check out!
1. My Misanthropia
3. Penny Black
4. Lingua Franca
5. Godless Theocracies
6. The Hatchling
7. Orbiting the Sun of Sadness
8. Zenith to Zero
9. Yuletide Ebbs
10. The Cryptozoologist
Lance King: Vocals
Jason Hodges: Guitar
Adam Smith: Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Tim Yatras: Drums
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