Illium - My Misanthropia

Illium My Misanthropia cover
My Misanthropia
Nightmare Records
Illium, an Australian metal band hailing from Newcastle, have been going on for more than fifteen or so years. At first comprising almost exclusively from members of another band called Oracle, they began losing members and substituting them with sometimes members of Dungeon, another semi-famous Australian band who by that point had their own issues that led them to calling it a day by the mid-00s, to continue as Lord. Lord’s drummer Tim Yatras, is currently with them, while Lord Tim, the singer of both Dungeon and Lord, did sing on a couple of releases as well, before he had to bow out to be replaced by ex-Riot singer Mike Dimeo. Now there’s yet another line-up on “My Misanthropia” in the form of yet another singer, this time, Lance King (solo, Avian, Balance of Power, Pyramaze), is behind the mic, shifting the band a little more into a slightly more refined and old school prog/power metal paths. In general he is a pretty good fit and the band also sounds inspired as ever musically, churning out nice riffs and memorable solos.
The title track opens the album and is a quite memorable, cool, prog flavored, power metal number with some really inspired solos.
“Quetzalcoatl” a song about the precious twin, the feathered snake, the mesoamerican/mayan god, begins with this rather playful melody and is generally following a much lighter approach, even if it has a quite biting riff. Again the solos on the piece are absolutely brilliant.
“Penny Black” begins quite furiously and just keeps at a rather frantic pace, throughout… I somehow doubt, it has something to do with in-famous world’s first adhesive stamp, that bore the same name, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless.
“Linqua Franca” starts with a biting little riff, but is overtly melodic. It’s weird title, which roughly translates to “trade language” some takes a stab at how the world is not coming together but instead seems to be in a complete state of disarray, as we find more people to divide us than to unite us, other than language.
“Godless Theocracies” has some totally over triumphant melodies that announce it and it’s quite up-tempo and “bright sounding”... I suppose the oxymoron and paradoxical title is a bit of a metaphor for the increasing amounts of atheist population around the globe.
“The Hatchling” is rather interesting as it’s much darker than anything that precedes it. Lance switches from his usual James Labrie-esque sort of delivery, to a darker tone especially towards the beginning, but lightens on progressively. Weird little number, but not bad at all.
The melancholic titled “Orbiting a Sun of Sadness” is way more prog than power inspired, and swamped in keyboards, even if its riff is quite prevalent and upfront in the mix, with the keyboards mixed a lot lower. It makes for a nice change of pace and tone.
“Zenith to Zero” is almost the opposite of its predecessor, as here the guitars are completely dominant, and while there’s a bit of a prog atmosphere, the intelligent, refined power metal influence is king. No not Lance! Hehe…
“Yuletime Ebb” is a perplexing little number, as is its title. It’s got this nice, pretty classical key/guitar melody opening up which just keeps on and is quite darker and gloomier than any other song on the album, almost doomy, in comparison to the rest of the material on “My Misanthropia”.
Last but not least comes “The Cryptozoologist” (the what?)… I had to actually look up this even if I am Greek and the etymology of the word comes naturally to me. This is a song, about people/pseudoscientists, who (re)search, for animals who’s existence, is unverifiable due to lack of pragmatic evidence... while mostly based on fantasy and mythology, a couple of animals such as the Okapi and the Comodo Dragon, previously categorized as cryptids, were discovered as well as traces of a few more, that are now, extinct. But most of the “animals” this pseudoscience deals with, seem to be urban legends like the Yeti, the Loch Ness monster ant the likes. The song begins with some wild string section and is one of the faster and harder ones and also the longest… go figure.
Overall, Illium’s latest is pretty good. They have changed a bit, with Lance replacing Dimeo, but that change is not necessarily a bad one. They sound a bit different, but equally as good with Lance and the sound has this nice throw back quality to good 90s prog/power that’s quite pleasing. What was a little bit irking is the somewhat flat sound on the drums, which is rather sad, as overall the album is good… but if the drums had a somewhat fuller somewhat more natural sound it would be nearly perfect. That’s not to say the drumming is bad, or they sound bad, it’s just that they sound a little too normalized and compressed within the music’s soundscape thus coming off a bit dull. Other than that small thing, this “misanthropic” work is quite likeable, in all honesty...