Album Title: Quantum Evolution Event EP
Label: Independent Release
Date of Release: 14 January 2021
At the beginning of 2020, I reviewed the eighth album from Australian melodic power metal band Ilium and was really rather taken with it. It made me question the fairness of the music industry too, because to me, there appeared to be no earthly reason why such a good band could still be unsigned to a label. These days, labels aren’t always necessary, but for Ilium to be independently releasing their excellent material after nearly 20 years in the business just seems plain wrong to me. To further hammer home this point, I present to you their latest EP, ‘Quantum Evolution Event’.
In keeping with ‘Carcinogeist’ and the accompanying EP entitled ‘Enviro-Metal’, ‘Quantum Evolution Event’ is a cracking release that can only further enhance the Aussie outfit, and rightly so. As before, Ilium is comprised of founder, guitarist and songwriter Jason Hodges alongside guitarist, bassist and keyboardist Adam Smith. The two musicians are joined once again by guest vocalist Lord Tim, alongside his LORD colleague Tim Yatras on the drums to create what is clearly and demonstrable a forceful quartet.
Comprised of five new tracks, ‘Quantum Evolution Event’ is a relatively brief affair, but it makes a big impact all the while it is playing. Full of intensity, speed, melody, flamboyance, and a host of other ingredients, Ilium manage to enter stage left via the title track in a really hurry, batter the listener with their brand of high energy melodic power metal, and exit stage right via ‘Mothcaste’ in what feels like the blink of an eye. A frenzied, high-octane blink, but a blink nonetheless.
I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve pressed play and taken a cheeky listen to this EP. What I haven’t forgotten however, is the effect that this music has on me. I’m energised, I’m invigorated, and I’m left feeling thoroughly entertained and uplifted. To my mind, that’s exactly what this music should do and it achieves it with aplomb.
Beginning with the title track, Ilium waste no time in making an impression. The intro is full-throttle and exuberant led by a fast paced lead guitar melody, ably backed up by some thunderous double-pedal infused drumming and underpinned by a depth provided by some synths. But then, the synths move to the front and centre within a chorus that takes the song in a noticeably different direction. The riffs that accompany the track are crunchy and very satisfying, but most impressive is the ground covered in three-and-a-half short minutes, everything from a soothing AOR-style section to an all-out solo that’s reminiscent of the excesses of a band like Dragonforce. Lord Tim once again delivers a power metal masterclass behind the microphone, fitting the music that surrounds him like the proverbial velvet glove, hitting high notes with ease alongside the lower, more aggressive delivery.
Bearing in mind that Ilium only have five tracks to get their point across, it’s great to be able to report that barely a moment is wasted. The pace and ferocity is maintained into ‘Tsetse’ which has a more progressive air about it without delving too far into this genre. At it’s heart, it’s a hybrid of classic NWOBHM and European power metal, complete with chunky, no-nonsense riffing, wailing neo-classical guitar leads, galloping rhythms, and a strong chorus to tie everything together.
‘Undergods’ follows and is very reminiscent of early Edguy, with Lord Tim sounding similar to Tobias Sammet at points within the song. Whether it’s deliberate or coincidence, it’s a happy result, one that only serves to enhance the Teutonic flavour of the song. Helloween references are also present, alongside a touch of Primal Fear in the potent riffing that dominates at points. The chorus is a more expansive beast too, providing a more epic, majestic feel to the track overall.
I love the cinematic intro to ‘Hostile Sky’, although I wish it lasted longer. Mind you, when it gives way to wailing twin lead guitar harmonies, it’s hard to not be quickly won over. The pace is noticeably slowed to a more mid-tempo stomp but again, the synths come to the fore to enhance the melodic nature of this rather lovely song. The hooks are strong as I have discovered over the past week or two.
The final song is entitled ‘Mothcaste’ and it ends the release on a high thanks to yet another very strong performance from all concerned. More lead guitar histrionics, more ballsy riffs, more immediate melody, a deeper, grittier vocal delivery from Lord Tim, and a relentless galloping rhythm laid out in tandem by drums and bass – it’s all here and it serves to more than satisfy my appetite for this kind of music.
Had ‘Quantum Evolution Event’ been a full-blown album, then we may be talking about an early contender for my end-of-year ‘best of’ list. As it is, this is ‘just’ an EP, although saying that feels like it is marginalising a really rather excellent release regardless. Human nature dictates that we always want more of a good thing and that’s exactly my feeling towards Ilium and this latest release of theirs. It may be a twenty-minute EP, but ‘Quantum Evolution Event’ is a huge success that needs to be checked out by anyone who takes their melodic power metal seriously. Two great power metal releases in the first week of 2022? I’m starting to like this year already!
The Score of Much Metal: 91%
Check out my other 2022 reviews here:
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: