From The Ashes To The Dust

Written by: EW on 15/09/2009 10:53:15

I'll be honest with you, when I signed up for Ilungara's debut album "From The Ashes To The Dust" I had low hopes. On the surface it appeared to be another thrash album by another bunch of kids whose knowledge of metal was gleaned from a cursory glance at last week's Kerrap!, but after repeated listens I am feeling the need to eat my words more and more. Apparently formed in 1996 (yet all looking around 18-19 years old) and with a relocation from Argentina to France in the process their style slowly gravitates from speed metal towards a more measured heavy metal approach across the span of the album. The end result is an album that elicits a response out of me that will astound this season's thrashers as on every apparent level Ilungara hold not a candle to many recent bands sharing some relation to 'thrash', but I would chose to listen to Ilungara much more often.

It all comes down to those magical, mystical qualities that only those who know their respective music can seemingly pick out: personality, emotion, soul. Ilungara may not come across as technically proficient as bands like Gama Bomb, Warbringer, Havok, Bonded By Blood (on the thrash side) nor have what one would commonly class as a 'metal' image but it is in their deficiencies, their acceptance that they are mere novices in a world of experts and wannabes that has gone some way to my growing admiration of them. Of course, that alone does not a good record make. The passionate, if slightly off-kilter, vocals of Ivàn Estevez, often found leading the music in a way that has made Blind Guardian err, guardians of their world, add a considerable amount to the music. Sitting a top an overall style part-Megadeth, part-Iron Maiden and part-Dragonforce Estevez comes across as the focal point of the band in songs like "Crystal Soul" and "Last Requiem" that bely the fact Ilungara are to all intents and purposes a garage band. Deploying a variety of solos and some solid usage of some solid riffs Ilungara are by no means a one-trick pony but ignoring Estevez' impact on proceedings would be a big mistake.

As suggested earlier, Ilungara are not perfect, a factor shared by every almost other band out there, but whether by choice or financial restrictions on what is a self-released album the production jobs accentuates this. Rather than cloak proceedings in a 'sterling' production job that merely sucks all life out of the band, transforming it into the output of a machine in a sausage factory, the exposed sound should allow these guys to see where improvements can be made in the course of future releases.

Concluded by a live cover of a Pantera classic, featuring a title alternation to "Fuckin' GreatStyle" which I can't get my head around (explanations on a postcard please) which would be better absent with it's unnatural sounding crowd noises, "From The Ashes To The Dust" signs off by declaring itself eminently inferior to those you might consider similar, but even with a strongly average mark it's still an album I would give preference to. Ilungara have here started creating the bare bones of an identity, and even if the result is some way short of 'classic' it's given them a better chance of making that milestone in years to come than many with their 'perfect' releases of the here and now.

Download: Crystal Soul, Last Requiem, Errautsatik Errautsara
For The Fans Of: Megadeth, Dragonforce, Iron Maiden
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 2009

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