“A Monument to Our Gilded Age” is a must-listen album for anyone
who has ever flirted with the metal genre. Formed in San Francisco,
Calif., this is The Illness’ first swing at a full-length album. A
whirlwind of constantly fluctuating chord progressions throughout
each song, the band’s hybridization of typical metal strumming with
more progressive rock tinged guitar riffs really serves to differentiate
them from today’s other metal outfits.
“Lengua De La Murte” is the album’s benchmark song, encapsulates
the band’s sound. Listeners are greeted with a brief heavy metal riff that
dissolves into mild, dreamy progressive guitar, slowly descending into
The Illness’ visceral realm; not wanting to escape. This effective mix
of progressive and metal sensibilities is where The Illness succeed over
many, and is often the album’s greatest appeal.
Beyond that, vocals have a warm, smooth quality that can only be
described as a cross between Alice in Chains and Slayer. Especially
evident in the album’s namesake song, the unlikely cross serves to
better The Illness’ overall sound.
The same, however, can’t be said for the lyrics. Often overshadowed
by the blending vocals and deafening guitar, the lyrics of each song
on “Monument to Our Gilded Age” are relatively ho-hum and
don’t exactly overstep their genre boundaries. Except for the more
politically-angled tunes “Take a Number” and “Defenestration,”
many of the other songs instead opt for more traditional metal lyrics.
Going forward, The Illness could benefit by injecting more social
commentary into their songs.
Overall, “A Monument to Our Gilded Age” is an excellent first album
for the fledgling progressive metal band. With a little more lyrical focus,
the Illness’ sound could spread to many by the end of the year.
For fans of: Alice in Chains, Coheed and Cambria, Slayer