ILLUMINATA - Where Stories Unfold

Illuminata - Where Stories Unfold

11 songs
62:12 minutes
***** ***
(self-released)

Bandpage

Cinetatic metal is an expression you donít often encounter in the metal community. So one might as well define Illuminata, who were founded in 2006, as a symphonic metal band. They come from the Austrian city Graz and consist of two women and three men. As vocalist Katarzyna Nieniewska singers with a very clear and distinct voice, a (justified) comparison to Edenbridge is in order.

The band decided that they wanted to head into a downright orchestral direction with the new album Where Stories Unfold by trying to combine metal with film music. For this they hired the services of the 60 people comprising Czech Film Orchestra. And as this didnít seem to be enough, they recruited some more string players and a choir. Visions Of Atlantis vocalist Mario Plank also performs guest vocals on Arbitrary Asylum. This was of course not a cheap endeavour, so that Illuminata decided to fund a big part of the expenses by crowdfunding.

The album begins with an opulent intro which carries the audience into the fitting mood for the following cinematic sounds. Up next is very powerful symphonic metal where just as with Edenbridge the charismatic voice takes the centre role. The orchestra takes also a very dominant position, which puts the traditional metal instruments a little into the background. This makes sense, considering the effort of getting a real orchestra to play, but it might be possible that some metalheads might miss the more powerful guitars. Illuminata are possibly overdoing the pathos bit here and there, but the songwriting always stays highly complex and comes with numerous mood swings that always fit in harmonically. A first real highlight is the duet with Mario Plank. Arbitrary Asylum has the structure of a musical and displays songwriting skills similar to those of a Danny Elfman. The following White Heart is a mournful piece of drama that sets a nice contrast to the preceding track. The ten minute long The Brass Ring is very playful with some circus moments and thrilling choir parts, thus being another highlight of the album. Some tracks are a little too kitsch for my taste, like Entwined and Constructor, which both canít seem to maintain my attention. The hour long album still comes with enough good stuff to justify an overall highly positive listening experience.

At their third attempt, Illuminata still havenít found a record label, but they definitely can be more than just satisfied with Where Stories Unfold which has become a mature and well-balanced album. They donít need to hide behind their already established countrymen Edenbridge. Nearly 8.000 Likes on Facebook are testimony to the fact that the band has already garnered quite a few followers. Fan of symphonic metal should definitely check out this more orchestral variety of their already quite luscious genre.

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