Illuuminus – Wheels Of Resurrection review

Illuuminus is a progressive heavy metal band from Warrnambool, Australia, brainchild of the guitarist and songwriter Mark Halliwell.

This review has taken me really long to write. It was back in November when the CD arrived and I listened through for the first time. I’ll tell you why later on.Illuuminus art work

This is heavy metal in the classic style. The band quote Black Sabbath, Dio and Iron Maiden as their influences and they are near in sound, as near as you can get still staying modern enough for today’s ears. For sure this is no power metal, nothing epic or symphonic about it. Clean, somewhat melodic vocals, synths, heavy riffing, yes. And a concept that goes beyond music, yes maybe.

To call this an EP is vast understatement. Although there are only five tracks none of them is less than 13 minutes in length. Quite the approved progressive fashion. Every single song is packed with musical ideas and changes mood, tempo and rhythm ever so often.

Although there is nothing in common superficially I was instantly reminded of old Genesis and Jethro Tull. Here there is the same diversity, a musical storytelling progressing from theme to theme.

And that’s what makes this album extremely interesting, but that’s also what made it so very hard for me to review. There’s almost too much in it, too many parts, no song structures, no hooks, no choruses, no repetitions. The songs tend to melt into one long flood of music, in itself impressing but leaving only slight impressions after you have finished listening. The vocal melodies are lacking originality and inspiration, and the moments that shine most are small guitar solo parts that emerge from time to time but get almost drowned in the flood. In the end the composition stays somewhat shallow, it doesn’t touch me.

Well that is my opinion anyway. For sure, you won’t get bored listening to this over again. Only I didn’t really feel strong urges to go on repeat.

I was also interested what the songs were all about and perused the lyrics. Here we find a mash up of different religious, philosophical and esoteric concepts. Isis and a Pharaoh of old meet the Phoenix rising from the ashes, the Nefilim land their saucers and ring in the Age Of Aquarius; Ozymandias, Kundalini, Pure Christ Dimension, The Lord and Mother Godess, the collective psyche, the Luciferian Experiment … and maybe some more I missed all crowd the lyrics. (Frankly I can’t make head nor tales what the point really is).

Though I am not sure I use the terminology correctly this is New Age to me, and in that fits well with both the band and album names.  And this also explains the music on the album a bit better to me. Just like the New Age variety of esoterics that mix up all kinds of different beliefs and myths in a rather half baked way here the music is a garbled mix of a lot of different ideas and themes that are not really taken to any depth.

The quote from the liner note — ‘If you are searching for a new Holy Heavy Metal Grail, then look no further’ — must be interpreted in that vein surely, or else seems a bit over optimistic to me. It’s a good album, well written, well played and well produced. For die hard proggers this may be an illumination. For heavy metal fans with leanings to a classic style this will be a nice piece in their collection. For me, I cannot find that last spark to make it stand out.

In my opinion it would have done the album a lot of good if some of the themes and riffs had been worked on and developed more; and some of the ‘fill in’ stuff left out. Maybe I’m wrong but I feel that even progressive music can be catchy and memorable.

Anyway, lots of thanks to the band for letting me review this and I fully appreciate the work that has lovingly gone into making it and the musical potential shown.

Tracklisting
Illuuminus - Wheels Of Resurrection cover art
1. Illuuminus (a New Realm)
2. Dark Night of the Soul
3. The Great Cycle
4. Pure Christ Dimension
5. Wheels of Resurrection

Line Up

Steven Garner – Lead Vocals
Mark Halliwell – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Darren Ely – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Heidi Gass – Electric Piano/Synth and Vocals
Daniel Luttick – Drums and Percussion

http://www.reverbnation.com/illuuminus

Guest post by Heidi Bobal / Austria

Wardrum

Wardrum is a Greece power metal band founded in 2010. Drummer Stergios Kourou started it together with guitarist Kosta Vreto and bassist Kostas Scandalis to play some old school metal. Later, vocalist Piero Leporale from Italy joined in.  Straight away they started the preproduction of 10 songs and entered the studio. The debut album “Spadework” was produced by Kostas Scandalis and released by Steel Gallery Records on the 20th of April 2011.

Their music is heavy metal with power and prog thrown in, melodic and heavy, influences of Judas Priest, Dio, Sanctuary and Conception can be heard. Spadework was a good start, the band was directly rated as one of the most promising Greek bands and opened for Crimson Glory in Thessaloniki in October 2011. This was the first show and the starting point of the “Spadework Greek Tour”.
Three months later the band had to part with Piero Leporale and tried to find a local singer – Yannis Papadopoulos took over the band’s frontman position and they entered the recording studio for their second album, “Desolation” released on the 25th of April 2012, almost exactly one year after the their debut release.

The album was produced again by Kostas Scandalis and released by Steel Gallery Records.

Desolation 2012

wardurm desolation cover art
Wardrum cover art

01)    Unforgiving
02) Sign Of Treason
03)    Parental
04)    Common Ground
05)    Tide Lakes
06)    Higher Sky
07)    F.A.I.T.H.
08)    Urban Storm
09)    No Retreat
10)    Abound In Nothing
11)    Sailing Away
12)    Rainy Day

http://www.wardrum.gr

Wisdom

Wisdom is a Hungarian power metal band from Budapest. Their band name is taken from a 1986 movie where Emilio Estevez played a guy called John Wisdom. Formed in the fall of 2001, the group is known for basing each song on a well-known quotation. Many of the band’s lyrics and all of the album covers center round an old man, the fictional ‘Wiseman’.

After about a year they started making a name for themselves with a 3-track demo recorded at home and the band Kalapacs decided to take them out on tour. With the help of an event organizer who saw them there the band managed to get booked as opener for Iron Maiden in front of 15 000 people.

Meanwhile the concept of Wisdom was starting to take shape. They wanted to build up a narrative world around the name, Wisdom, from the beginning based on examples of Iron Maiden’s Eddie or Megadeth’s Vic.  Next the chief editor of the largest motorbike magazine entitled Born To Be Wild selected the band for a long term cooperation. In due course the band supported Saxon, the UDO-Doro Tour, Europe,  Helloween, Judas Priest and Startovarius.

In July 2004 the 4-track self-titled EP was released, not in the traditional way but as an attachment to the Hungarian Metal Hammer. In 2006 the album Words of Wisdom was released by Hammer Records, and soon after licenced by a Japanese label, making Wisdom the first Hungarian band to release an album in Asia.  Wisdom toured in support of the release but went on hiatus in 2008, to sort out line-up changes.

In 2010 a new vocalist was found and recordings started. In order to promote this new album, Wisdom went on tour in Fall 2010 where the new vocalist hid behind a mask at all gigs.  The “mask” tour and a new video release brought about huge interest for the album Judas that was released in April 2011. Mats Levén (Therion, Malmsteen, At Vance) performes one track as a guest vocalist.

From September to November 2012 Wisdom were touring with Sabaton and Eluveitie taking them through a great part of Europe.

Discography

Wisdom EP (2004)
Words Of Wisdom (2006)
At The Gates EP (2007)
Judas (2011)Wisdom - Judas cover art

1. Fallin’ Away From Grace
2. Somewhere Alone
3. Age Of Lies
4. Live Forevermore
5. Wander The World
6. Heaven And Hell
7. Silent Hill
8. At The Gates
9. The Prodigal Son
10. Judas

Band members

  • Gabor Nagy – lead vocals
  • Gabor Kovacs – guitar, backing vocals
  • Zsolt Galambos – guitar
  • Mate Molnar – bass guitar
  • Balazs Agota – drums

http://www.wisdom.hu