The debut album from new-ish Perth five-piece, Illyria, is as impressive as it is diverse. Though it could be filed under 'post-black metal', to do so would almost be a disservice. Not only do they draw influences from a diverse pool of bands and genres but, throughout the nine tracks, they convey a wide range of moods and emotions.
Opener Cold Summer's melancholy reminds me of both Alcest and Norwegian avant/prog oddballs, In The Woods. Temptation follows with all the rage and fury of Deafheaven, mixed with Ihsahn's vocal style. However, Sarim is a joyfully upbeat slice of cinematic post-metal that is reminiscent of Baroness in a way and stadium radio rock in others—it also should be in the credits of some major movie.
Other highlights include the proggy epic Origins and the blasting metal finale God Of Chaos.
Illyria started out as a duo and I'd gather that perhaps the lions share of the album’s material was composed as that Having recently expanded to a five-piece unit can only mean greater things to come, and they are already tearing it up live. For a debut, this is classy stuff. If one was to nitpick, occasionally the genre tropes sneak up a bit (screamy heavy part followed by clean/delayed guitar). But there is such an infectious enthusiasm on display here that it forgivable. Tremendous stuff.
Scott Bishop is a regular host on RTR FM 92.1's Critical Mass, which airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) in Perth, Australia.