Sound — 9
Even with the departure of Craig Owens, Chiodos manages to keep and even bolster their old sound with Brandon Bolmer. This CD is excellently produced, and nothing is ever drowned out in the mix, props to producer Machine. The guitarists shred, even more than in Bone Palace Ballet, and they bring back the hardcore influences from All's Well That Ends Well. Bradley Bell leaves behind the strings samples, and brings some more originality this time around on keys. You can definitely that everyone in the band has improved musically. The drummer is also new, and unfortunately he leaves a little to be desired. All in all, this is the best Chiodos has sounded.
Lyrics — 7
I haven't paid very much attention to the lyrics on this album yet. That is to say, I haven't looked them up and sang along, which is what I will do very soon. However, they seem to work well with the music. I was a big fan of All's Well That End's Well, what with the teenage angst, raw emotion, and threats of murder. BPB definitely lost me with the poems and fan letters come song lyrics. This album's lyrics are more emotionally charged, about girls and love, as far as I can tell, but they don't have the same power. Nevertheless, the Zombie Apocalypse anthem "Those Who Slay Together Stay Together" has me hooked. Brandon Bolmer, C. Owen's replacement fills in well, but he tries to be Craig a little too hard. He has some go-to vocal styles, and after listening to the album through, you can recognize them. 90%, if not 100% of all the screams on the album have some fuzz effect on them, which leaves me a little suspicious about how good his screaming is. Generally, the melodies are beautiful, fit the music well, and lead the song in its emotion. The screams are more prevalent than in the last album, and not over done, and you aren't left wanting more. Good job Machine. (PS I miss the funky song titles)
Overall Impression — 9
Illuminaudio blows Bone Palace Ballet out of the water. Its hard to compare it to All's Well That End's Well, but it sounds just as good, and I will listen to it just as much if not more. I've been a Chiodos fan since '06, and I'm proud of their accomplishment that is this album. I'll go through a quick track-by-track. 01. Illuminaudio (1:45): is a haunting opening, it really piques your interest in what they have to offer this time around 02. Caves(3:40): with an awesome drum-heavy intro, this one is a great song to show you what the new Chiodos is really bringing. 03. Love is a Cat from Hell (4:16): the guitar and piano save this song, in my opinion. 04. Modern Wolf Hair (3:49): a great track, has an awesome breakdown that will get you moving live. 05. Notes in Constellations (4:22): one of my favorites off the album, a slow and more calm track with good lyrics and a catchy chorus. 06. Scaremonger (4:09): this one is pretty fun, hardcore, filled with screams, catchy hooks, excellent guitar, and drums galore. 07. His Story Repeats Itself (3:53): I love the chord progression and harmonies in this one. 08. Let Us Burn One (3:57): a bit generic lyrics wise, but the music might redeem it. Bradley is excellent here. 09. Hey Zeus! The Dungeon (4:24): this song is one of the best on the album. All the elements mesh perfectly, and everyone is bringing their best. Shredding, falsetto, rolling drum fills, pizzicato strings, what more could anyone want? 10. Stratovolcano Mouth (4:22): Thermacare part II. Unfortunately, Craig did it better. 11. Those Who Slay Together Stay Together (5:05): my favorite track on the album, this song just needs to be listened to. 12. Closed Eyes Still Look Forward (3:28): an equally strong close to this album. The keys are great, the vocals match.