Ilenkus – ‘The Crossing’ [Review]

The Crossing ArtworkIrish prog-metallers Ilenkus sure know how to stir things up. The moment opening track Devourer kicks in, we’re chucked into a merciless rhythmic maelstrom and dragged through tangential twists and turns punctuated with screams that might echo our own, were we allowed to pause for breath. Relentlessly intense, skin-rendingly cathartic, and hectic as fuck – and that’s just the first track.

Title piece The Crossing finally offers a limited chance for sanctified rest before anxiety mounts and anticipation builds. Haunting harmonic structures take a Between The Buried And Me-esque turn as melodies pass, clean vocals enter and leave, and dirty arpeggios add to the mix. By the time the horizon-spanning wall of distortion kicks in, we’re ready – and it’s worth the wait. Crazed trem-picking, ultra-fast galloping riffage, raging vocals, fragmented guitars, symphonic grandeur, guitar torture over serrated stabs, and much more await the adventurous as Ilenkus push onward through almost ten straight minutes of gorgeously distressed prog-metal.

The Crossing is worth the cash for its title track alone – but there’s still more left on the menu. Be A Weapon opens ominously before mathy riffs and scorching screams duel with epic melodies and fresh sections spiral out of control; Over The Fire, Under The Smoke surges and seethes relentlessly while taking in hardcore vocals, Dillinger Escape Plan-style riffs and note bubbles, and ethereal cleans; and closer Goodbye Denial slips in easily for another brilliant build into skybound songcraft.

More than anything, that’s what Ilenkus are all about – songcraft. Ilenkus structure their songs with a finely honed and emotive vision, backed up by the knowledge that the technical and compositional chops required to realise that vision are right there, ready and waiting after thousands of hours of development, evolution, and bloody-minded hard work.

Overall, The Crossing is a sprawling and ambitious work that meets every possible expectation with a terrifying level of apparent effortlessness. A must for fans of near-BTBAM-level progressive genius.

Thanks to Lauren at Inception Press for the heads-up about this release.


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Posted on 03 September 2014

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