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Ilium - "My Misanthropia" (CD)

Ilium - "My Misanthropia" CD cover image

"My Misanthropia" track listing:

1. My Misanthropia
2. Quetzalcoatl
3. Penny Black
4. Lingua Franca
5. Godless Theocracies
6. The Hatchling
7. Orbiting A Sun Of Sadness
8. Zenith To Zero
9. Yuletide Ebbs
10. The Cryptozoologist

Reviewed by on May 29, 2015

"...You can expect quality power, traditional, rock and some progressive elements to combine for another highly entertaining and recommended release."

After a four year gap since “Genetic Memory,” Australian based metal act Ilium has returned with the new release “My Misanthropia.” Fronted by the venerable Lance King (ex-Pyramaze, Lance King), the band is rejuvenated and invigorated and ready to spread an environmentally conscious metallic assault across the globe. For those unaware, guitarist/songwriter Jason Hodges rescues and cares for wounded animals in Australia and has a deep and valued understanding of the animal kingdom, a contribution that needs to be recognized and celebrated. With “My Misanthropia,” you can expect quality power, traditional, rock and some progressive elements to combine for another highly entertaining and recommended release.

While admiration for Mike DiMeo (ex-Riot) is extremely high (he makes every album he sings on better), the addition of King is a step up. While DiMeo was able to slap some grit on his usual smoother than silk delivery (see “Fragmented Glory” off 2009’s “Ageless Decay”), it really wasn’t his natural inclination. On the other hand, King shows off his multidimensional pipes here, interchanging from smooth, to gritty to what can only be termed as “Aggro-Lance” – a near death metal (but not quite) style you can hear on “The Hatchling.” His presence brings such a refreshing aspect to the material, which overall seems a little more driven.

The opening track – also the album’s title track – “My Misanthropia” sets a blistering pre-cursor for the remaining nine tunes. The album’s second longest track has a quickened hyper pace sporting Hodges’ finest solo on the album at 3:27. “Quetzalcoatl” follows that up with an Adam Smith keyboard interlude that has a melodic and almost modern hard rock style to it before cascading into a riff straight out of Rainbow’s early catalog. In fact, Smith’s keyboard work is one of the real highlights of the album – adding a classic feel to modern material – and this second tune is one of the best examples.

“Penny Black” brings the speed back to the pace – with King enhancing the grit on his amazing vocal performance (much in the vein of the great Mike Vescera from Obsession / ex-Yngwie Malmsteen). Other quickened numbers for the speed cravers include personal favorite “The Cryptozoologist” – a highly entertaining song that explores the world of hidden animals (including the likes of notables Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster and Grassman). Mid-paced rules the day here, especially with the intoxicating “Yuletide Ebbs” where Smith pulls you in with those keyboards backed by catchy riffs and a cool chorus.

Is it all rosy and perfect? Absolutely not – there are some songs that are decent but far from incredible. While “Lingua Franca” is not terrible, it’s a song that doesn’t grab the listener quite as well as a song like the Iron Maiden influenced “Zenith to Zero.” “Orbiting the Sun of Sadness” has some pretty amazing parts, but drifts just a little too much for me. Still, not terrible by any stretch.

“My Misanthropia” is worth the four years of blood, sweat, and tears that went into the process since “Genetic Memory” was issued in 2011. It represents a step forward for a band that has always been solid and reliable. Australia really has an incredible metal scene and Ilium has led the charge for well over a decade. Add to that the sound environmentally conscious message behind the band – one that is the living breathing essence of guitarist Jason Hodges – and you have a band that has something amazing to say while delivering quality metal.

Highs: Great mix of power metal, classic metal, classic rock with a relevant message to boot!

Lows: A few tracks don't have as much of the interest as album bests "The Cryptozoologist" or "Quetzalcoatal."

Bottom line: "My Misanthropia" is a step forward for one of Australia's most reliable acts, especially with a King at the helm!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)