Sound — 9
Not much has changed for the sound of Chiodos. The biggest difference between Chiodos last album, Bone Palace Ballet, and their latest work, Illuminaudio, is the addition of the the new lead singer, Brandon Bolmer. Still present are the haunting vocal melodies, the Classical-inspired guitar solos, and the over the top, theatrical sound that Chiodos has become known for.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics on this album range from brilliant to just plain dumb. Over all, I would say that the lyrics on this album generally fit with the dark, eerie feel of the album. Some of the lyrical concepts seem a little over-done, like a song about werewolves("Modern Wolf Hair") or zombie attacks ("Those who Slay Together Stay Together",) while some are interesting and well done like "Hey Zeus! The Dungeon" which is loosely based on The Phantom of the Opera. The vocals on this album are overall, very impressive. Brandon is technically a better singer than Craig Owens, the former lead singer. Nevertheless, the uniqueness that Owens brought to the table is gone. My biggest complaint with the vocals is the screaming. Whenever there is any screaming, heavy distortion and compression are applied to the vocals. Also, all of the screaming is dropped back in the mix. The intention of the band may have been to give the music a more commercially accessible sound. There is one line in "Modern Wolf Hair" where all the instruments stop playing and the heavy processing on the vocals can be heard clearly (about 2:25 into the track). The only screaming that is untouched by these effects is one line which can be found about halfway through "Love is a Cat from Hell" (which has to be the worst song name i've ever heard in my entire life).
Overall Impression — 8
My favorite songs on this album are "Let us Burn One" and "Those who Slay Together, Stay Together". If you have heard Chiodos before and liked the music, but not the vocals you are in luck. Long gone are Craig's purposefully, slightly off pitch vocals from "Alls well that Ends Well" and gone as is his soaring whine from "Bone Palace Ballet". If you haven't heard Chiodos before, I would recommend starting with this album. If someone ever stole this album from me, I wouldn't be too worried about it. I would be too busy laughing at the thief for leaving all of my guitars and just taking this album. Overall not a bad disk.