Thursday, October 27, 2016

Illyrian – Round 2: Fight!

Illyrian is a thrash metal band hailing from Western Canada. “Round 2: Fight!” is their debut album, but presumably, the title refers to the fact that the band had released a full-length a couple of years ago under their old name: Hellborn Death Engines. Regardless of their history, this record is a solid offering of thrash. The most obvious comparison would be to Lazarus A.D. for a couple of reasons. Illyrian’s vocalist has that similar spitting thrashy take on metalcore vocals. He leans more towards thrash, but you can definitely hear the metalcore influence. It isn’t so prominent that it diminishes the enjoyment of the record; in fact, it’s a nice change of pace from the typical thrash vocalist. Illyrian’s singer also hits some deeper growls on more than a few occasions, providing even more variety.

The other reason that “Round 2: Fight!” is reminiscent of Lazarus A.D. (at least on their debut) is because some of the riffing can be pretty similar. It is firmly rooted in thrash, but shows an ability to groove that most bands lack (check out "Mindbender" for one stellar, bouncing example). Illyrian does tend to utilize more tremolo picking, which is occasionally complemented with blasting (best exemplified on the title track). On “Opulent & Imperial”, this tremolo picking is used to create some atmospheric moments, which is a major rarity for thrash metal.

Where this record struggles is the same place most thrash bands struggle: creating memorable songs. There’s no shortage of great riffs and headbanging moments, but it largely goes in one ear and out the other. Illyrian does a lot of really standard things with the occasional twist, so while this album is worth revisiting for the band’s unique take on thrash, it isn’t substantial enough to stand out on a song by song basis. Nevertheless, “Round 2: Fight!” is an impressive thrash album from a country that has been lacking in modern thrash!

Be sure to check out and like Illyrian on Facebook!

All of it

Final Rating
3.8/5 or 76%. 

Written by Scott  

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