Illuminandi - The Beginning...
Illuminandi hails from Poland and this is a collection of their earlier demos, Demo I (2000) and Demo II (2002), along with some live material (recorded in 2004). I actually reviewed the band's Demo II quite a while back and was quite impressed with their orchestral gothic metal sound. The band does a great job of mixing somber, clean male and female vocals, violins, and cellos with heavy guitars and growling vocals. Bombworks Records has done a great service to all in picking this band up.
The three songs from Demo II start this disc, and with this newly remastered sound, the songs have more power than ever. You can read more specifics on these songs on my previous review of the demo, but I must say that the band has some great chops. My favorite song on Demo II still has to be the track, "...so We..." It just typifies everything that attracts me to this band...heavy use of strings, brutal guitars, and the perfect combination of clean male and female vocals with growling vocals. While the songs are alternated being sung in Polish and English, they at least switch the song titles all over to English on this release...along with including all English lyrics.
Next up is the live material and even though there is not a crazy crowd to speak of, the live songs have a very good sound to them. I've heard much worse coming from more established bands. The live material include some of the songs from Demo I and Demo II along with some newer tracks. The standout live cuts include older songs like "The Cup" and "...so We..." and then some newer ones like "Hallelujah", and "Get on! (Zacchaeus)". I loved the stringed intro to the song "The 40th Day", and the song overall is very well executed, except for the fact that they include some Polish rapped vocals!! It just doesn't even come close to fitting in with any other thing on this album. Other than that, the song's great.
The last four songs on the album are all from the band's original release, Demo I. These songs, while still incorporating strings, seem to be more guitar-based and rockier as a whole then the newer songs. The production is also a step off from the Demo II material. Good, quality songs though.
Overall, I think Bombworks has done a great job with this release. It should provide a great springboard for whatever the band does next.
Review: Matt Morrow
Label: Bombworks Records
Total Songs: 15
Total Time: 67:33
Tracklisting: 1. Who Will Set Me Free?, 2. The Light, 3. ...so We..., 4. The Light (Live), 5. The Cup (Live), 6. Who Will Set Me Free? (Live), 7. Hallelujah (Live), 8. Get On! (Zacchaeus) (Live), 9. ...so We...(Live), 10. The 40th Day (Live), 11. ...And About the Others...(Live), 12. ...and About the Others..., 13. Don't Be Afraid, 14. The Cup, 15. Hallelujah.
Best Songs: Tracks 3, 5, and 8.
Band Lineup: Patrycja Pyzinska - Violin/Female Vocals, Antonina Kraszkiewicz - Cello, Aleksander Kraszkiewicz - Bass Guitar, Szymon Grych - Drums and Percussion, Aleksander Koziot - Guitar, Jan Trebacz - Clean Vocals/Additional Growls/Guitar, Rajmund "Melon" Jelen - Growls and Screams.
Band Website: http://www.illuminandi.kdm.pl