Australian power metal outfit Ilium is presenting Genetic Memory, their 2nd album with Mike DiMeo who seems to be perfect for the Ilium sound. Two years after the release of Ageless Decay it's time for Genetic Memory.
They kick off with Kinaesthesia, a power metal track with heavy riffs and symphonic keyboard passages. Partly their NWoBHM roots are audible, but they also show similarities to melodic / symphonic metal bands. It's the 2nd album with former Riot / Masterplan singer Mike DiMeo and obviously Mr. DiMeo feels more comfortable with Ilium then with Masterplan - at least when it comes to singing their songs. The opening passage of Littoria is keyboard-based, symphonic and quite dramatic, but the song changes a bit when the guitars join in. They change speed and atmosphere, but it's the memorable guitar lead and the catchy chorus which will win over the listener. Great guitar play by Jason Hodges!
For Grey Stains The Rainbow they ease off a bit which gives Mike DiMeo more space for his emotional vocals. A memorable vocal line will which is backed by guitar. Perhaps the easiest way to get into the album. Time to speed up again with The Immortality Gene, a song based on sharp, heavy riffs. One more time Mike DiMeo is adding powerful vocals and shouts, but also some emotional parts which due to his raspy voice never sound too sweet. Jason Hodges' guitar leads you into the title track Genetic Memory which is a heavy, guitar-driven tune. The opening passage seems to be influenced by Irish or Celtic music, but then they head into an up-tempo riff-based rocker. Due to speed changes they can keep the listeners attention on this tune which is just shy of 8 minutes. The synthesizer which opens up Hostile Sky is very 80's, but the mid-paced rocker is based in traditional metal - even if it has an 80's edge. Again it's DiMeo / Hodges who ennoble the tune. A stomping rocker is Neanderthal Within, but it isn't as simple as one might expect. And then Jason Hodges surprises the listener in an instrumental passage with some shredding. One of my favorites is Ghosts In Flesh which once more offers speed changes, but has an epic, symphonic touch. An ear catcher. The closer Irrinja is kicked off with didgeridoo and so sticks out, but then they head into an atmospheric tune. It takes bit, but as the song is more then 11 minutes long there is more then enough time to build up. It becomes an up-tempo track with a dark edge, sharp riffs, melodic leads and varying vocals. Well done!
The album was mixed by Martin Kronlund who found the right balance between the instruments and vocals, giving everybody the chance to shine.
If you look for something completely new, then Genetic Memory won't be the right choice, but if you like melodic power metal with memorable guitar leads and great hooks, then this one will please you.