Reviewed: July 2021
Released: 2021, Eastbreath Records
Reviewer: Graeme Smith
Assault seems to be a popular name for a rock band. There are 10 different versions spanning the globe from Chile, to 3 versions in America to this one from Singapore. I’m unclear why that name is so popular or why most of these bands favour the thrash genre for some reason. Maybe listening to this will be an assault(groan) on my ears or I might enjoy it. Time will tell.
The album starts promisingly with a haunting melodic intro that Andre Rieu would be proud of. The violins are replaced by thundering frantic drums, violent riffing guitars and rasping vocals. The sheer energy of the band, in particular the drummer, is terrific. He must go through some amount of kits in a year. The tracks are well constructed and avoid many of the clichés that can make a band sound like real amateurs. Indeed the musicianship is excellent and the band haven’t been caught up in sounding like 80’s thrash. I’m not saying that would be a bad thing but it’s been done before by the Big 4 (amongst others) and I just feel if you want to break into the mainstream these days, you have to have music that is more relevant to the time. Certainly the vocal style and the sound on the guitars ensure that there is no mistaking the music has been produced recently. Interestingly the album title ‘In Aevum Et Illustrata’ translates as the ‘In the Age of Enlightenment’, and they certainly attract the listener to be ‘a little more enlightened’ as each song passes.
The concept behind the opus surrounds the Bavarian Illuminati who were a secret society founded back in 1776 whose goals were to oppose superstition, obscurantism (yeah, I had to look it up too), religious influence over public life and abuses of state power. ‘That sounds interesting’ I hear you say, particularly at this time where so many politicians seem to be abusing their power and people are participating in acts of violence and horror in the name of religion (nothing new there then). Whether these messages come through in the songs is difficult to ascertain, but it was fun trying to find out.
With every listen I’m increasingly admiring what they do and engaging more with the sound and the songs. I’m not saying they are sing-along tunes but they are very good if not quite spectacular. I would like to see this band in concert and see how their sound transfers to the live arena as I think they might be a real surprise. Until that time I will just have to be content with the album as it’s very rewarding after a couple of listens. Songs such as ‘Oration of Lies’ and ‘1788’
These days there are so many bands who can clearly play their instruments very well, but it’s the song writing and having a distinctive sound that often brings the bands to the fore and lifts them above the debris. In this case, the production and the band’s sound is captivating and their song writing intriguing meaning that I certainly think have a shot at being popular. Coming from Singapore however might have its issues getting the required exposure to the European and American markets may be difficult. With so many bands producing similar material as well having the same name as a few other bands, confusion may occur and opportunities missed. I wonder whether a name change might be suitable to give them clear identity Anyway, I was right, it was an assault on my ears but one that left me with a big smile on my face and the prospect of catching up with their earlier stuff. I just hope I pick the right band!