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The Illumination: Departures


(The Illumination)
Release Date: 
Monday, September 30, 2013
The debut of The Illumination on InVogue Records, titled Departures, was a mixed bag for me. Of course I’m in my late thirties now and have seen the second coming of hardcore music, the expansion of the world via couch with new technology that’s made just about anyone an overnight star (and overnight burn out). That being said I really thought the band had a sound down, not exactly the most original sound, but a great emulation from the bigger picture that is the hardcore/post hardcore scene. 
The album opens up, as many do in this scene, with heavy drums, heavy guitars, and blood curdling growls that all but erase any kind of sentimental, emotional, or otherwise effect the lyrical would have had (unless you have liner notes with lyrics, which I did not). Fortunately the band has the sometimes standard loud/clean style on vocals which frees up the lyrical a bit to tell the bands, albums, or tracks story. 
I hate to say it, but back in my day (as I shake my cane) hardcore bands would prattle off about sociological issues such as the misogynistic way men see women (one band even flipped that and sang about the rising tide of women who used the same tact), politics, even religion (both for and against). Since working as a music observer and writer I’ve seen a decline in substance in this particular genre when it comes to the narrative. You either have an aggressive front which involves violence, drugs, drinking, the usual vices that used to be signs that someone was a cool rebel. Or you have emotional songs about how nobody understands you and you’re all alone in the world and the ones you reach out to end up stabbing you in the back. 
I understand that musical expression is a very personal thing, but if these are your depths, how are you any different from Kelly Clarkson or Taylor Swift. Sure, one or two songs about personal crisis when it comes to trust or love, but there’s more to the world then just following the norm, especially in this genre. 
Fortunately the album is very well performed. Again, nothing I haven’t heard before on all fronts, but the band shows a lot of potential that they could be bigger and possibly make a larger impact then just rattling off teenage diary entries. This is a debut album so who knows, maybe their sophomore effort will incorporate a bit more worldly experience that puts their obvious skills to good use. Until then, I can see myself throwing this album on to work out to or to mow the lawn, but it hold very little interest for me with its limited point of view. As always, final judgment is yours. Enjoy.
AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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