Ilium - Vespertilion
Just Say Rock Records
Classic Heavy / Power Metal
10 songs (62'45)
Release year: 2007
Ilium, Just Say Rock
Reviewed by Marty
This Australian based band got its start in 1998 with original guitarist and founding member Jason Hodges recruiting guitarist Adam Smith, vocalist Mark Snedden, bassist Michael Noonan and drummer David Pearson. Recording their first self-titled E.P. as well as their first full-length album Sirens Of The Styx with a virtual revolving door of bass players and drummers coming and going within the band. A major line-up change occurred during the planning stages for their second album Permian Dusk with vocalist Mark Snedden leaving and being replaced by the band's long time producer Lord Tim. For the recording of their latest album Vespertilion, the band has enlisted the talents of keyboardist Kasper Dahlqvist (ex-Dionysus, Stormwind) to further enhance the sound of this band that is firmly rooted in classic heavy metal.

Ilium is the Latin term for the ancient city of Troy and is representative of this band's love of ancient history, mythology, religion as well as classic tales of the macabre; themes that are prevalent in the lyrical content of their songs. The overall sound of Ilium can best be described as a mix of classic Iron Maiden, Iced Earth and older Helloween in that it blends elements of traditional heavy metal with some of the speedier, melodic and harmony guitar driven European power metal. The production and guitar sound give the band a sound very reminiscent of the NWOBHM bands back in the early 80's as witnessed by the very first track on the album Solar Amplexus. After a bombastic, orchestrated intro with chugging riffs, the sudden speedy tempo change with lead guitar fills layered in immediately brings Helloween to mind. This track and almost all tracks for that matter, feature lots of tempo changes, tons of lead guitar work and some very Maiden-like lead harmony thirds. Lead vocalist Lord Tim has a strong and powerful voice and has many similar qualities to Bruce Dickinson in his singing style. Undergods again sees lots of guitar harmonies along with a chunky and heavy style but this one has an amazing and very strong chorus. Parts 2 and 3 of the band's Beowulf trilogy can be found on this album with Part 1 originally found on their Sirens Of The Styx album. Desinence: Beowulf and The Serpent and Beowulf: The Peroration are both excellent examples of heavy metal "storytelling" with both tracks featuring chugging riffs, sudden tempo changes and very visual and dramatic "lyricizing" by Lord Tim. Part 3 Beowulf: The Peroration offers more of a galloping power metal style and a very "epic" feel with thematic riffs, Flight Of Icarus style layered vocals and awesome harmony lead guitar work. Old school power metal is on the table for Drilling Through A Proton (love the title!!), a track the emulates the classic Walls Of Jericho era of Helloween with its mix of speed, heavy riffs and lead harmony guitar accents. Other tracks including Parasite In Calvary, Futility, Black Abyss, the title track, Vespertilion and Romulus and Remus all feature a great mix of traditional heavy metal and power metal with the many tempo changes and thematic riff patterns giving many of the tracks "epic" like qualities.

If you want tons of riffs, dramatic interludes, lots of tempo changes and even more guitar harmonies, Ilium has just the right recipe for you. However, in only a few instances do the songs have very strong choruses or memorable melodic hooks that leave any sort of lasting impression. Make no mistake though, Ilium is a great sounding band that plays traditional heavy metal that is devoid of any modern influences, uses standard guitar tunings and even has a somewhat "dated" sound with the type of production used for this album. Although I've mentioned it to death already, the lead guitar work and lead harmony work alone is worthy of checking this album out. It will be interesting to note how this band gets on in the future as vocalist Lord Tim has decided to move on. The band is looking for a replacement and maybe even some live appearances as to date, Ilium has only been a studio band. All the elements are here for a truly exceptional heavy metal band and they seem to have a clear vision for Ilium. However, although tons of riffs and frequent tempo changes make for an exciting listening experience, what this band really needs is to pay a little more attention to coherency in their song writing. Quite a few tracks have absolutely nailed it but what's needed is a whole album like that.

Check out the band's MySpace page

Killing Songs :
Solar Amplexus, Undergods, Desinence: Beowulf and The Serpent and Beowulf: The Peroration
Marty quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Ilium that we have reviewed:
Ilium - My Misanthropia reviewed by Joel and quoted 89 / 100
Ilium - Sirens of the Styx reviewed by Mike and quoted 73 / 100
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