The Illumination


Written by: BL on 28/01/2014 01:11:21

Fundamentally speaking, Providence, Rhode Island's The Illumination's debut album "Departures" is about as straight up modern metalcore/post-hardcore as you can get. Screamed verses and clean choruses? check, chugging breakdowns? check, a bit of electronics here and there? sure why not? But seriously, the list can go on and on but there's no doubt that if you are looking for something original or particularly outstanding you will be sorely disappointed, as most of the what can be heard on this album can be heard on dozens of other albums (that may be an underestimate).

The way a song like "Voice Of The Voiceless" goes about itself is pretty much why the genre as it stands is so incredibly stale - throw in a bunch of metalcore riffs and theatrics from The Devil Wears Prada of their "With Roots Above And Branches Below"/"Zombie" era (that's like more than three - four years ago!), comtemporary Woe, Is Me style chugging and breakdowns (because all the kids love that), and finally a non-sensical random dub step drop (for no particular reason of course). To be blunt, the instrumentals on this album are either lazy most of the time, or just forgettable because the big players in the genre have already done them to death, even if it is tight in execution. Also whatever suspense and atmosphere the lead guitars ever hope to build on songs like "Homewrecker" loses all impact when you get the same chugging guitar breakdown throughout. The band's not so subtle struggle with trying to find an identity is further explored on tracks like "Hollow Disposition" and "Limb From Limb". The latter utilising piano and synths along the chorus in an uncannily familiar fashion to The Devil Wears Prada (...again!), while something like "Underneath My Skin" clearly borrows heavily from newer Memphis May Fire and Woe, Is Me (...again!).

The clean vocals courtesy of guitarist Rod Pires perhaps inspires a bit of hope from despair. His soothing but also powerful when called upon voice carries tracks like the strangely pop rock "Giving Up My Pride" and "A Chance To Change My Ways", whilst keeping others from being somewhat close to sleep inducing. Unfortunately in situations like this when you uncover the diamond in the rough, often it makes the rest of the music pale further when they don't keep up to the same standard. That and Rod's clean cut boyband singing is so damn polished that the contrast to the screaming and the heavier moments seem too wildly unnatural. This is all the more compounded by the abundance of generic and forced transitions between song parts. Furthermore, the hearty ballad "Invincible" is perhaps so cliched sounding and corny that the emotion and sentimentality feels cheap, despite it being one of the better written songs. The last on the album though the first official single "Separations" has a pretty decent, sensible chorus admittedly, but does little else to ruse any enthusiasm before closing out.

While uninventive and frequently uninspired it may ultimately be, "Departures" is by no means a truly, unspeakably awful record. It is largely saved from falling to the lower depths of atrocity by their singer being above average, but little else will impress. If The Illumination can ultimately unshackle themselves from trying to imitate the trends, there could be potential for the band to produce something wholely recommendable, but for now that work has yet to be done.

Download: Giving Up My Pride, Holding On, Separations
For the fans of: The Devil Wears Prada, Memphis May Fire, Woe, Is Me
Listen: Facebook

Release date 01.10.2013
Invogue Records

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