Released: 2004, The End
It's such a fantastic feeling being able to witness a band's hard work and struggle pay off as they progress through their career. I interviewed Georgia's Lilitu for my own zine, Unhallowed, way back in the late 90s, when the band was just getting started. At that time, their sound was in it's embryonic stages; an emotional style of gothic doom/death influenced by such acts as Pyogenesis. At the same time, however, the band showed a tremendous command of melody and dynamics that belied their youth and inexperience.
The lion's share of this command primarily lies within the band's mastermind, Derek Bonner. Ever since I first heard their SERVANTS OF TWILIGHT demo, it was quite evident that this was a phenomenal guitar player in the making. Time has certainly proved this to me; so much so that I use Mr. Bonner as a reference whenever expressive, emotive guitar playing comes to mind. Echoing such players as Blackheim of Katatonia and Tom of While Heaven Wept, Bonner is an untapped resource; a wellspring of talent and ideas.
Don't think that Lilitu is some wanking shredfest, however. Rather, THE DELORES LESION is a mature, textured affair that displays the band's doom roots almost all but expired. In their place is a faster paced, but no less emotional sound that is very Euro-centric, bringing to mind legends like Dark Tranquillity. Take the title track, for example. A solid, mid-paced excursion, one can't help but make a corrolation between this and Dark Tranquillity's "Insanity's Crescendo", off of their MIND'S EYE release.
Vocally, things are equally impressive. Both clean and screamed, Bonner's voice is as expressive as his guitar playing. On tracks like "Even the Vultures Have Moved On" and "Follow Through" possesses a clean tone reminscent of Ville Valo of Finnish "love metal" legends HIM, while on opening headbanger "Only the End of the World Again" he screams as if his life depended on it. The female vocal accompaniment scattered throughout the album only adds to the atmosphere, never sounding overused or cliche.
A concept album, THE DELORES LESION sounds fresh listen after listen; it never becomes boring. Sounding exactly the way I feel American metal SHOULD sound these days, Lilitu are onto something big with this, that's for sure. THE DELORES LESION is excellently structured, paced, and executed; a masterwork of American art in an age where cellar-dwellers like Shadows Fall receive undue acclaim for their watered down attempts of "metal".
Lilitu is the real deal.