Just over 3 years ago was when my ears first officially heard the
screams, haunting violins, and psychotic guitar work of Chiodos.
Since then the band has gone through some lineup changes and with
a new drummer and lead vocalist they released another borderline crazy
There was naturally some loss of confidence when the band announced
that Craig Owens would be leaving his post behind the microphone.
His ability to balance the hardcore alternative sounds that would
only come from the bottom of a gut, with the pleasant and almost beautiful
octaves, was one of the main reasons I originally fell in love with
Chiodos. However, when the first song off the new album, "Caves",
came across my car stereo, hope was restored and it was in the form
of Brandon Bolmer. Previously working with Yesterdays Rising,
not much has been heard of Brandon. But in the opening track he's
putting his own elegant choir-esque twist on top of the very powerful
alt-rock guitar riffs.
In the song "Closed Eyes Still Look Forward" Brandon's
voice has gone nearly ballad beautiful. The entire song was obviously
paved for the way of the lyrics and vocals. But what makes it characteristically
Chiodos is that slight hip-hop beat busting out mid-way through. This
kind of beat is something some of you may have heard of before, say
from "The Words 'Best Friend' Become Redefined" off of All's
Well That Ends Well, as I'm sure it stopped you in your head-banging
tracks. This song comes out as a favorite and most likely because
it stands out from the rest.
The insanity stemming from those fellas holding the guitars (Jason
Hale, Pat MacManaman and Matt Goddard) is still
very prominent and show worthy on this album. One song in particular
that doesn't even give you a chance to ease into the tempo is "His
Story Repeats Itself", instead its all systems go from the very
first second. A nice addition for the fans is a chorus that is easy
to sing along to. "This war will tear apart the sky/letting through
the light/and we will survive" are some lyrics that, when Brandon
puts his elegant-protest-worthy emotion behind them, become undeniably
The title track is completely unexpected and rather original. Clocking
in at 1:45, it's nothing more than an intro, yet falls at the #5 spot.
Set to the background of electronic pulses, it's merely a soft lullaby
by Brandon. And just before the end, as the energy builds, it all
drops off suddenly with and ending of the word "Stop". This
sets the stage for the next number, "Let Us Burn One". A
song for fans wanting the recognizable Chiodos sound, circa Bone
With all the gossip surrounding the band, of course they've got to
address it somehow. So, they took "Thermacare", a song previously
featuring Mr. Owens (originally recorded just before his departure),
sucked out the music portion and mixed it into the new song, "Stratovolcano
Mouth". The result - a song Coheed And Cambria would be
proud of, full of drama, those previously mentioned violins and the
favorite psychotic guitars. If that wasn't enough, during an intermission
of sorts, the tickling of some ivories can be heard. The desire to
see this song performed live might eventually be overwhelmed by the
insanity to surely ensue in the crowd. Still, probably worth the risk.
The album is definitely a step in the growth of Chiodos. Not a huge
one, but considering the major changes that took place right before
its release, it's a notable one. No song is the same among the twelve.
But to really understand this one has to embrace each song, in other
words - don't give up after 30 seconds! Illuminaudio will sit
next to Bone Palace Ballet as an album permanently in my music
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