Ilium
Ageless Decay

What names do you recall when it comes to Power Metal from Australia? Perhaps Vanishing Point? Pegazus? Lord? Maybe even Dungeon? Well, add to this an outfit by the name of Ilium. I did some research and found out that Ilium is a science fiction novel by Dan Simmons, the first part of the Ilium/Olympos cycle, concerning the re-creation of the events in the Iliad on an alternate Earth and Mars. I think the guys are actually into a variety of different mythological and fictional aspects, which is confirmed by such song titles from their different albums as “Sirens Of The Styx”, “Romulus And Remus”, “Beowulf Defeats Grendel”, “The Little Witch Of Madagascar”, and so on. At least we don’t have to deal with yet more doltish fairy tales of princes rescuing damsels from fire breathing dragons, and other such nonsense. Certainly, when it comes to Power Metal, some different heroes, along with alternative monsters and plots are a welcome change, I think.

Their newest album, Ageless Decay is the group’s fourth studio release and the first one featuring Mike Dimeo (Riot, ex. Masterplan) on vocals. And while I can’t say I’m a big fan of their previous records, it’s surely a different case with this new material. Firstly, I like the fact that I find it difficult to draw any evident parallels with other Power Metal bands from their country, since Ilium really manage to sound like none of the others, while at the same time remaining a Power Metal band from head to toe. Secondly, despite having in their arsenal such a weighty force as Mr. Dimeo, they place a strong emphasis on the instrumental facets of their music, which is very impressive with tons of lead passages, spectacular soloing, Maiden-esque virtuosic bass work, and unpredictable, I would even say unconventional melodic digressions. And finally, the overall atmosphere is quite dark, with most of the tunes being based on the minor rather than major scales, which adds a shade of inimitable dramatics and melancholy to their songs. The only glimmers of happiness are heard on the rather predictable and generic “Fragmented Glory”, which is probably the sole “black sheep” track which I could do without. For the most appealing tracks I would choose “Omnipedia” with its slightly dirty guitar tones and infectious solos, while “Nubia Awakes” blazes with gorgeous Eastern melodies and rich vocal work from Mike. Last but not least, I would also select the closing eight-minute epic “Idolatry” that is literally a fountain of emotions conveyed by frequently changing paces and spectacular instrumental interplays.

Reminding me at places of early Iron Maiden, Axel Rudi Pell, Icarus Witch and Nostradameus, Ilium, nonetheless show their own character and will surely suit the tastes of the majority of Power Metal fans and especially those who are fed up with the bands like Rhapsody Of Fire, Hammerfall, Dragonforce and others of this ilk. I believe that Ageless Decay should open a new chapter in the band’s history and usher them right to the vanguard of the Australian metal elite. So, should you ask me now what names I recall when it comes to Power Metal from Australia, I will definitely put Ilium among the top of the list.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Igor Stakh
August 12th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    i will be checking this out. always looking for power metal that doesn’t make me itchy.


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