Chiodos - Illuminaudio

Album cover
Post-hardcore
Equal Vision Records
Chiodos
Illuminaudio
Chiodos - Illuminaudio Review rating:
4
User rating:
Average: 4.6 (9 votes)

Just the mention of scene staple Chiodos is enough to invoke a variety of emotions in ardent scene followers. On their two former releases, 2005’s All’s Well That Ends Well, and 2007’s Bone Palace Ballet, the band created both avid fans and rabid enemies with their brand of post-hardcore combined with the sometimes-crooning, sometimes-shrieking, and always overpowering, presence of then-frontman Craig Owens. The band’s career seemed to be going extremely well until the controversial booting of Owens late last year. While Owens has since recovered with a multitude of projects (including supergroup Isles and Glaciers), Chiodos’s future was still in question: Could the band survive without the frontman that undoubtedly helped launch them to such heights? On Illuminaudio, the band proves that the answer is a resounding “YES!”

The album kicks off with intro track “Illuminaudio,” which has an almost orchestral ambience that serves as the best intro to Bolmer’s croon, and serves as the perfect launching point for the drum hits and haunting harmonies that pervade the beginning of “Caves.” Without a doubt, this track presents everything that is good about this new version of Chiodos. While Bolmer shrieks, screams, and croons as much as Owens ever did, his presence is nowhere near as overwhelming as Owens’. The result is a balance between an extremely capable vocalist and a band that was, until this point, overshadowed by their frontman. The pounding of new drummer Tanner Wayne doesn’t miss a beat, while the rest of the band comes together to present dense post-hardcore that will actually be appreciated this time around. “Love Is A Cat From Hell” sees Chiodos getting the heaviest they’ve ever been, while “Modern Wolf Hair” is the best Chiodos track Craig Owens never wrote, underlining how this record is more of a progression of their sound, rather than a departure, despite the new vocalist. “Notes In Constellations” proves that Bolmer truly has the vocal chops to lead a band like Chiodos, and that the rest of the band deserves such an able frontman as Bolmer. His soft croon works perfectly even over dueling guitar riffs that recall certain aspects of progressive rock. And so the album, continues, with track after track of what can be described as nothing else but good, diverse post-hardcore, with elements ranging from haunting intros (“Stratovolcano Mouth”), to punishing guitar work (“His Story Repeats Itself”), to twinkling piano lines (“Those Who Slay Together, Stay Together”). The only breath of fresh air that the album takes is in its final moments, with the ballad “Closed Eyes Still Look Forward” letting the album exit on a subdued, but still outstanding, note.

To put it simply, Illuminaudio is beyond excellent. While new frontman Brandon Bolmer (formerly of Yesterday’s Rising) screams, shrieks, and croons as much as Owens ever did, his presence brings a sense of balance that was previously missing from Chiodos’s work, allowing the rest of the band to showcase their best performance to date. From delicate ballads to crushing riffs, from the softest croons to the most manic shrieks, the band has proved without a doubt to fans and haters alike that they are still a force to be reckoned with in today’s post-hardcore scene, and, if the world is fair, their career will continue to climb to even greater heights.

1. Illuminaudio
2. Caves
3. Love Is A Cat From Hell
4. Modern Wolf Hair
5. Notes In Constellations
6. Scaremonger
7. His Story Repeats Itself
8. Let Us Burn One
9. Hey Zeus! The Dungeon
10. Stratovolcano Mouth
11. Those Who Slay Together, Stay Together
12. Closed Eyes Still Look Forward

Chiodos is an American post-hardcore band from Davison, Michigan, formed in 2001. Originally known as "The Chiodos Bros." the band's name was a tribute to filmmakers Stephen, Charles, and Edward Chiodo, responsible for the movie Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Their second full length album, Bone Palace Ballet, was released in North America on September 4, 2007 and debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200 and number 1 on Top Independent Albums. Warner Bros. Records released Bone Palace Ballet on January 26, 2009, as part of a new distribution deal in the UK.

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