Inspired in equal measures by the chaos and beauty of mankind, Perth WA’s Illyria have utilised the vitality of their early adulthood to maintain the charm and impact of their debut self-titled album three years prior.
Eleven fresh compositions have now resulted in progressive post-black metal epic The Carpathian Summit, which was launched on May 3rd at Badlands Bar in Illyria’s home city on with supports from Deadspace, Yomi Ship and Waste Pot. On the back of this unique and surprising album, standout singles ‘Wilderness’ and ‘Kenopsia’ have already made their presence felt within our contemporary metal scene.
The beauty of 19th century Russian painter Ivan Shishkin’s ‘Morning in a Pine Forest’, used for the cover art, serves as a central visual grounding for the emotional resonance of the album, as Illyria explore the fragility of humanity’s relationship between love and hate and our interaction with nature, carefully positioning the extreme against the sublime. This is similar to the family of wild bears depicted on the cover, who have a fierce stigma placed on them, but are actually shown to be peaceful and playful in their natural habitat, just as our stereotypically tough metal musicians often bear their soul into many moments of relaxing bliss on The Carpathian Summit.
While often contrasting uplifting and epic guitar sections against the extreme vocals of guitarist Ilija Stajić, sudden heavy transitions on initially peaceful pieces like ‘Autumn Fades Away’ also surprise and thrill the listener before returning us to soft passages of acoustic guitars and ambient choral vocals in tracks such as ‘Echoflower Part 1’. Within an overall atmosphere of melancholy elegance, sorrow and loss, the five-piece approach these compositions like classical virtuosos in their graceful and dynamic performances, where every note, drum beat and vocal line count. The technicality and musical trickery on shapeshifting first track ‘Resurgence’ are in stark contradiction to the simple opening bass line of ‘Wilderness’, with a picked, descending pattern almost reminiscent of the bleakness of Joy Division. The introduction of clean sombre vocals and guitar over a funerary disco beat are a radical comparison to Ilija’s deep death metal vocals on the first track, a stylistic decision heard to repeat itself at certain times throughout The Carpathian Summit. Refreshingly, this is a band that understands the importance of pacing, gradual development and the concept of space speaking more than sound in certain scenarios, while allowing individual instruments their own turn in the spotlight and building things around this. Often easing listeners into a false sense of security before radically altering the course of certain pieces, Illyria also give themselves the freedom to properly establish musical concepts and instrumental passages as every track transforms tirelessly and redesigns its artistic approach. Inside the epic thirteen-minute title track, the apex of this playing style is definitely reached.
Through the entirety of this album, the diehard metalhead will be kept satisfied with a generous amount of piercing screams, thrashing, blasting, and many occurrences of aggressive and impressive riffs. However, we also gauge a strong sense of Illyria being disciples of the grandeur and emotion of the classical music, the instrumental flexibility of jazz, and the atmospheric developments of post-rock. Through continuing to forge this truly eclectic and indefinable style, Illyria have proven themselves as seasoned professional artists and will hopefully continue to surprise and baffle their peers in the scene as time goes on.
- Autumn Fades Away
- Echoflower Pt 1
- Echoflower Pt 2
- The Second Day of Spring
- The Carpathian Summit
- The Final Bastion
- Winters Wedding