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Cage9: Illuminator
Cage9 Illuminator CD Album Review

Cage9: Illuminator

Modern Alternative Hard Rock/Metal
4.0/5.0

I've never heard of them, and perhaps I should have. Formed in 1993 in Panama by vocalist, guitarist, principal songwriter and producer Evan Rodaniche, Cage9 has released nine albums, including this year's Illuminator, in the last 23 years. In that time they've also had the opportunity to play with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Queensryche, Filter, Seether, and many more. Oh yeah. They did the Dukes of Hazzard theme song for the 2005 (dog of a) movie of the same name. With the new music of Illuminator, they caught the ears of Megadeth's David Ellefson, who quickly signed them to his label. Other alt rockers are praising them also like Korn's Brian "Head" Welch.

Cage9 Illuminator Band Photo

Cage9

So what have I, and maybe you also, been missing all these 20 odd years? What's all the fuss about? What makes Cage9 one of the better bands in the alt rock genre that you may have missed? Well, one, Rodaniche writes and the band delivers some very catchy and varied music. You can tell there some latent classic hard rock and metal underneath. But then their sound has been washed through the alternative music uprising of the Nineties and then rinsed through the 21st century post-grunge metamorphisis. Did you follow that. I almost didn't.

Opening songs like Open The Sky, Gallows, and Starry Eyes have groove and melody, and pop accessibility, attached to their edge. Other songs, like the title track, Birds Of Prey, and Take Back Tomorrow twist to modern metal with sharp riffage and a heavy d-tuned bottom end. In another song, Aleatoricism, Cage9 can do both, bring heaviness, groove, and rock accessibility into a three minute song. Yet the real masterpiece is the song that got Cage9 buzzingin Ellefson's ears: Everything You Love Will Someday Die. The song has much going on, definitely some hard rock groove, notable melody, memorable vocal harmonies to set up lyrical hooks and then, just to make things more lively and provactive, some shattering thrash metal riffage. Listen below and convince yourself. Also, something I just touched on, the vocal arrangments, the appropriate harmonies, are outstanding throughout this album. The production like fine crystal, smooth and elegant.

I'll admit it. At times I have little regard these days for what passes for modern and alternative music. Too much cookie cutter bullshit. But Cage9 is the real deal. Good songwriting and musicianship delivers some creative and entertaining music. Recommended.

Cage9 - Everything You Love Will Someday Die


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The Bottom Line

At times I have little regard these days for what passes for modern and alternative music. Too much cookie cutter bullshit. But Cage9 is the real deal. Good songwriting and musicianship delivers some creative and entertaining music. Recommended.

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