There’s often a fine line between all out and out Power Metal and sweet sugary Melodic Metal. It might not be to every one’s taste but Australian Metal heads ILIUM stride that line like seasoned pioneers. ‘’Ageless Decay’’ is the bands fourth offering and with production handled by none other than the epoch making Tommy Hansen it seems that something is perhaps brewing up down under.
Perusing the bio on ILIUM it’s not to difficult read that the band has had a hard time retaining members and that is more surprising given the choice of vocalist this time round. None other than the invincible Mike DiMeo, who has put in star turns in both RIOT and MASTERPLAN. He is a redoubtable Metal vocalist to be sure.
As for the music this is pretty strong, heady Melodic Metal tempered with SUPREME MAJESTY and even HAMMERFALL type riffing. There’s definitely no shying away from the power house riffing contained across much of this album. The sound is fresh and unclouded. Not surprising given the man in charge of that but most importantly there’s a great vibe of energy through the charging beat of ‘’Xerophyte’’, the Euro Metal HELLOWEEN sounding ‘’Mothcaste’’, and the HELLOWEEN/MAIDEN connection is not lost on the rabid pseudo Thrash of the title track. Easily a stand out track, the impressive punch and drive of ‘’The Neo-Mortician’’ (check that title out!) encourage the head to nod and foot to tap.
Although the running time is a touch too long - even the die-hard Melodic Rocker will be hard pressed to stick the whole album in one sitting - there’s more than enough decent songs to cherry-pick for the MP3 player. Even though Australia is more famous for the Young brothers than serious Metal bands I reckon there’s room for ILIUM and plenty more like them in the Melodic Metal spectrum. ‘’Ageless Decay’’ could well be the undiscovered gem in years to come.
(Online July 5, 2009)