Denizens of the deep caverns of American progressive rock will be quick to recall Iluvatar, a Maryland based band. (I did not.) At the same time, these fans are probably wondering whatever happened to this promising band whose success spanned a good portion of the Nineties. The good news is that Iluvatar is back after a 15 year studio absence with From The Silence, now signed to 10T Records.
The curious thing about Iluvatar (named after the supreme being from Tolkein's Middle Earth mythology) is that they seem transported in time and space. They should be located in the UK in the Eighties to play their neo-progressive rock. This does not make their style or sound dated, but rather a point of reference. They remind of parts culled from Genesis to Marillion to Arena to IQ. And for some strange reason, at least to me, you could toss some Rush into the mix. This is not as bizarre as it sounds.
Fundamentally, the band works from the strength of good composition, integrated musicianship, and an emphasis on melody with their diversity. Their single best strength might be that every player and instrument contributes to a greater whole. Iluvatar seems not especially long on improvisation or shoe-gaze jam moments. Rather, parts form and inspire the whole. You catch this especially on long pieces like Resolution, The Silence, and Between. Alternatively, Between seems lead by a single instrument, from the bass line but, again, not with some unnatural exclusivity against the other instruments. Also, this formula works with shorter pieces like the instrumental Le Ungaire Moo-Moo (do we want to know?) or Older Now. It's just that they're more compact. The former is more dense with instrumentation; the latter more sparse, engaging less instruments.
Finally, I'll admit I was easily drawn to the lead guitar work of Dennis Mullin who has a clean, melodic, and fluid style which flows with vivid clarity. Two of best solos come within Across the Coals and Until. Quite nice, but there is more throughout. In the end, Iluvatar's From The Silence is quite engaging and entertaining melodic progressive rock, and should be instantly appealing to their fans and others who love the genre. It appears the band has lost nothing in it's absence. I just hope they stick around for more, but not wait another 15 years. Quite recommended.
Iluvatar's From The Silence is quite engaging and entertaining melodic progressive rock, and should be instantly appealing to their fans and others who love the genre.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]