IlluminaudioFeatured review by: UG Team, on october 08, 2010 4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Sound: Warped Tour connoisseurs are no strangers to change. Out of every genre, they lose and replace more personnel, almost to the point that it's natural and if they haven't incorporated a new singer and drummer into the band, they are not a band. In some particular cases, a group strives off the new energy, kicking and screaming their way to a new found glory, that is until they crash and burn every last piece of their existence. In other cases, you have a band like Chiodos. The post hardcore act known for releasing the well-respected All's Well That Ends Well in 2005, saw the departure of a dear friend (drummer Derrick Frost) and a iconic vocalist (singer Craig Owens). Knowing Owens was practically the face of Chiodos, it isn't disrespectful to say the end seemed near for the Michigan act.
Brandon Bolmer changed all that. The Yesterdays Rising vocalist was handed the reins and as the opening of Illuminaudio shouts, he's capable of steering this voyage for years to come. Built from common theatrical undertones, the self-titled opening track swoons in with Bolmer's hindered wail to introduce "Caves" and it's childlike hooks preceded by true American post-hardcore hooks that have given Chiodos a serious reputation. Similar to past work, Illuminaudio won't inflate your senses with an honest amount of experimentation. It will reassure the group hasn't lost it's adoration for eery spine-snapping guitar work, a constantly fueled rhythm section and keyboard work as witnessed on "Love Is A Cat From Hell" that extinguishes any misconceptions that Casios are for the lonely art types. // 8
Lyrics: As a frontman, Craig Owens defined a half-decade with a talented set of pipes that flirted between the boundaries of clean and unclean vocals. It gave Chiodos the voice it needed and to say he won't be missed is like saying you don't miss the hot instructor you had in high school. Knowing he has big shoes to feel, Bolmer steps in with an intent to redefine, not replace. With the use of complex post-hardcore lyrics that don't differ from any material written by Chiodos before, the vocalist twists your arm with a sense of innocence ("His Story Repeats Itself") before knocking out your shin with vicious unclean vocals.
The only disappointment is Bolmer's scream is sparsely littered on Illuminaudio, leaving perfectly balanced pieces of work ("Scaremonger", "Hey Zeus! The Dungeon") looking rather weak in various sections. The lack of ferocity followers admire sets up the flaw that the new vocalist flirts with the ability to sound almost too close to Owens at times ("Those Who Slay Together, Stay"). An unpolished whine does separate the two as Bolmer is an impressive voice, but its a minor tear in his character that could transform into a disease if not treated. // 7
Overall Impression: In all honesty, many believed Chiodos would feel the wrath of a finishing blow and become another alternative punk casuality. Instead of surrendering to a labeled fate, the group excels with Illuminaudio, highlighting what's made them groundbreaking in the past. They don't turn into an untamed screamo beast but refine their craft, improving every aspect of their sound providing Brandon Bolmer with a space to make him comfortable and confident enough to break out from a shell of backlash, negative predictions and comparisons that stray away from his evident talent. // 7
theheirapparent, on october 08, 2010 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 9
Lyrics: 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) // 7
Overall Impression: 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. // 9
jekke_rocks, on october 08, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 9
Lyrics: 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). // 7
Overall Impression: 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. // 8
spidersquasher, on october 11, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Being their first album following the departure of vocalist Craig Owens, I was excited to see what the rest of the band, along with Brandon Bolmer created for Illuminaudio. For me, it's a bittersweet album. Partly because of the lack of Owens's signature style which I had always associated with the band and also due to what I see as a lack of interesting catchy hooks. This album is devoid of simpler songs with a more pop-punk feel that work to blend the album better and give it a better sound overall. Bolemer's voice is not bad, in fact he's a good singer, but he doesn't interest me very much. In fact, my favorite parts vocally were the parts in 'Love Is a Cat From Hell' that feature Vic Fuentes of Pierce The Veil. Bolmer's voice just doesn't do it for me, I think he may be trying to hard to emulate Owens but he needs to change it up and find a way to make his voice stick. Musically wise, Chiodos seems for the most part the same but I don't feel the same emotion behind the licks and riffs of Pat McManaman and Jason Hale or the bass parts of Matt Goddard which used to be an integral part of many Chiodos songs and at many points Bradley Bell's piano parts seem amateurish and boring. It may just be the production though, because I have difficulty hearing a lot of the individual parts. A lot of the focus is put on Bolmer's vocals, which as I mentioned earlier do not intrigue me. Perhaps the album will grow on me but I don't feel it could compare to their earlier work.Better luck next time around, Chiodos. // 5
Lyrics: The lyrics seem fake and bland compared to Owens's words. How can you even compare "Attention all of my worst critics, who were once best of friends, you're all just crows on the power lines" from 'I Didn't Say I Was Powerful, I Said I Was a Wizard' off Bone Palace Ballet to "Here we are, we knew this day would come, those who slay together, stay together in the end" from of 'Those Who Slay Together, Stay Together' off Illuminaudio? Owen's lyrics seem more real and deep than Bolmer's. He also seems to sing it with more passion. Bolmer does have some stronger points on the album but nothing he writes seems to have too much substance. Let me just say, there's nothing on Illuminaudio I would have tattooed on me. // 3
Overall Impression: Illuminaudio may not compare to other Chiodos albums but it still ranks high above the average Post-Hardcore band. My favorite song off the album is "Love Is a Cat From Hell' ft Vic Fuentes of Pierce The Veil (an amazing band). 'Hey Zeus! The Dungeon' was another enjoyable one. Chiodos still shows potential, they just need to find a new sound to match their new voice. // 5
rannikhal, on may 11, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: "Illuminaudio", in my eyes (and ears), is an album worth buying. From the creative guitar work found in within each song to the tenderness of Brandon Bolmer's voice, this album captivates the attention of the listener and maintains their ears entertained. "Illuminaudio" marks the departure of former vocalist CRaig Owens but opens the doors to new frontiers with Brandon, the new vocalist.
This was the first I've heard of the band and I was truly amazed by their sound. The record sounds great but I would be lying if I said it was perfect, but it still was a pleasure to listen. // 7
Lyrics: The album begins with a slow-paced, short track called "Illuminaudio" that serves as an intro for the album and as a bridge for the next song which is "Caves". Although each song is defferent musically there are numerous similarities in each one of them the number one being Brandon's singing. His voice adds a different vibe to the record but it can get kind of boring in the final tracks because of how alike they are in that area.
There is not much screaming throughout the album and is a shame that the few parts that have screaming are so distorted that you can't fully appreciate the aggressiveness and emotions that were meant to be there. This can get repetitive too throughout the album.
The lyrics are one of the most impressive elements in the album. They're all well written and talk about different subjects. From overcoming one's fears to relating the story of The Phantom Of The Opera, each song has a different feel to them when it comes to their lyrics. // 9
Overall Impression: This is a brilliant album from start to finish if you find the singer's tone amusing. The creativity of the instruments make up for anything wrong about the album. This is a great way of introducing the new singer and I see great things coming for them. Can't wait for their next product. // 7