Illuminata - A World So Cold

11 songs
58:10 minutes
***** ****


Illuminata are three ladies and three gentlemen from the Austrian state of Styria who have been playing symphonic metal since 2006. In the past they self-released two EPs and a longplayer. Now they are signed to Twilight Records with whom they published their second album A World So Cold.

The CD starts with an orchestral intro that reminds me a little of early Mekond Delta. This is followed by pure symphonic metal which, based on the upbeat structures, shows parallels to their countrymen Edenbridge. This isn’t meant as a criticism as Illuminata are acting quite skilfully. Despite the omnipresent keyboards, the metal parts are never neglected. The band has one lead singer, but the three ladies share the vocals, which makes for some great harmonic elements that give the songs a bombastic, dramatic touch. I especially like the choirs on Silent Poet, even though commercial sounding this track has quite some airplay potential. Less catchy is the somewhat confusing Dead Warden Dreamer, but the song is so lively that it is, next to the longer Lost In Picturesque, one of the album’s highlights. Most of the time Illuminata are showing their playful side, but occasionally there is also room for dreamier and darker moods. Whenever that happens, comparisons to Anneke van Giersbergen are in order. Some tracks contain quiet parts, but fortunately the band makes it over the rounds without the obligatory ballad. As a matter of fact, Illuminata subsist on their variety, so that no track is limited to just one genre. Even though they have influenced themselves here and there, it would be unfair to call them the new Edenbridge, Epica or Nightwish.

Usually I am not overly fond of symphonic metal as this genre has crossed its zenith already quite a few years ago. But I have to concede that Illuminata are absolutely able to bring fresh ideas to the movement. Their varied sound should enable them to target fans of melodic, symphonic and gothic metal alike.

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