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Iluvatar: From the Silence

Iluvatar...remember the name? Chances are if you happened to discover the growing underground US progressive rock scene in the early 1990's, you no doubt happened to stumble upon this very special band from Maryland. Both their self-titled debut from 1994 and 1995's follow-up Children showed Iluvatar's penchant for melodic prog, clearly influenced by classic British acts such as Genesis, IQ, Marillion, Pendragon, and Pink Floyd. After 1999's A Story Two Days Wide..., the bands output became quite sporadic, with the occasional festival appearance popping up but no new recorded material...until now.

Once again with the same line-up that appeared on A Story Two Days Wide..., but a new record label in 10T Records, Iluvatar have returned to show the world that their place in the so called 'neo-prog' space is just as strong as it was nearly 15 years ago. The band, Glenn McLaughlin (vocals), Dennis Mullin (guitar), Jim Rezek (keyboards), Deam Morekas (bass, backing vocals, bass pedals), and Chris Mack (drums), have put together 11 extremely solid & enjoyable examples of modern progressive rock, with of course the obligatory nod to the greats of the past. McLaughlin's vocals continue to be one of the highlights of Iluvatar's music, his powerful yet charming vocal delivery shows some slight hints to Peter Gabriel. Phil Collins, Fish, and Peter Nichols, but he's done a great job over the years developing a style all his own. His quirky vocal passages on the engaging "The Storm" are a joy to listen to, as he soars and dodges through a wide assortment of vintage sounding keyboards, tricky rhythms, and tasty guitar riffs. While the band can and does shine on the more symphonic styled material, they also excel at lush, pastoral prog in the vein of Wind and Wuthering era Genesis, as evidenced by the gorgeous songs "Favorite Son", "Across the Coals", and especially "Between", each one littered with soothing vocals, alluring acoustic guitar tones, and haunting keyboard passages. Still prefer the bombast? Well, cue right to "Open the Door" and "Resolution", two of the more upbeat and aggressive songs on the album, or the absolute, drop dead successful King Crimson impersonation that is the ominous "Le Ungaire Moo-Moo", complete with Fripp styled jagged riffs, acrobatic drum work, booming bass reminiscent of John Wetton, and of course, that creepy Mellotron. Scary good.

It's not hard to get really, really excited about the state of modern progressive rock while listening to From the Silence. Full of memorable melodies, strong vocals, expert instrumentation, and more than enough challenging passages to satisfy any lover of the genre, Iluvatar have crafted a moving & varied album here, that while a long time in the making, was well worth the wait. Welcome back guys!

Track Listing
1) From the Silence
2) Open the Door
3) Resolution
4) Le Ungaire Moo-Moo
5) Across the Coals
6) The Storm
7) Favorite Son
8) Between
9) The Silence!
10) Older Now
11) Until

Added: September 17th 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 5305
Language: english

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Iluvatar: From the Silence
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-09-17 22:48:29
My Score:

American neo prog band Iluvatar is back after a fifteen year absence with their new album From the Silence. It has been a long time coming but I have to say the wait has been worth as From the Silence is an outstanding slice of melodic progressive rock.

Just as it was on their 1999 release A Story Two Days Wide, the line-up is the same; Chris Mack (drums and percussion), Glenn McLaughlin (lead and backing vocals), Dean Morekas (bass, backing vocals), Dennis Mullin (guitars) and Jin Rezek (keyboards).

I have to say this is one of the most melodic prog albums I have heard this year. Everything is top notch, from the wonderfully fluid and melodic lead guitar to the great choice of keyboard sounds, this one is a winner. The rhythm section also deserves high marks, not overly flashy but more than competent enough, laying down some nice grooves. All that's left are the vocals and we all know this is one area that can be suspect, especially, it seems, in progressive rock. Not here folks. McLaughlin has a warm and inviting voice, sometimes recalling Gabriel or or even a restrained Geddy Lee and is always on key. His delivery is quite laid back so very little histrionics here.

I cannot reiterate enough just how easy this album is to listen to. That is not to say this is simple music because that is clearly not the case. They just have a knack for writing some damn fine melodies. Whether it's the poignant acoustic prog of "Favorite Son", which reminded me a bit of Rush, or the rockier "Open the Door" with melodic keyboards and fluidic Gilmour-like guitar, any fan of melodic prog will surely find much to love. More great tracks include "Resolution" where the guitar and keys are played to perfection and the grandiose "Across the Coals", the album's longest track. A pretty guitar intro with colourful keyboards adding depth all lead to a Floydy section that screams "Another Brick In the Wall". The song courses its way through mellower parts to big symphonic swells of synths and keys. It really is a beautiful track and one that will have synth/neo prog fans hitting the repeat button.

My favourite track is "Between" where the band seems to channel a '70s Rush vibe and the guitar builds to one of the best solos on the disc.

Iluvatar has really done a tremendous job with From the Silence. A must have for fans of Pink Floyd, Rush, Genesis, Marillion and related bands.

Iluvatar: From the Silence
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-07-31 17:59:00
My Score:

Now this is a treat; some 15 years on from their A Story Two Days Wide release, the US Progsters Iluvatar return. Now truth be told, on my side of the Atlantic, this is a band who never really made their mark, a dearth of acceptance towards Prog in the UK at the time one stumbling block, the variety of home grown acts desperately attempting to squeeze into that decreasing market another. Therefore Iluvatar were more a mythical band on my landscape and one only caught up with as the years passed, a band of amazing depth and substance revealed as the catalogue was slowly sought out; all manner of vintage Prog acts and Neo newbies reminded of and rivalled in the process. However simply lifting from other bands was never the Iluvatar way and even a decade and a half down the line, the same is true. Iluvatar remind of Genesis, IQ, Fish, King Crimson, but more importantly they sound like Iluvatar. Although as you'll gather from that list, they do sound much more UK, than they do US.

Close your eyes and delve in wherever you fancy and delights are pulled out on every turn. "Across The Coals" a gentle meander through increasingly claustrophobic beauty; keyboards building, drums ever busier, vocals retelling tales of mental strain and increasingly thankless tasks. In fact across the whole album there is a loosely conceptual feel of a journey through a life sometimes extraordinary, sometimes mundane. Musically however things couldn't be further from boring, the interplay between Jim Rezek's keys, Dennis Mullin's guitars and Dean Morekas's bass swooping from frantic to poised, but never less than precision tight. Add to that the percussive punctuations of drummer Chris Mack and expressive storytelling vocals of Glenn McLaughlin (who also dabbles in percussion) and the likes of the jaunty "The Storm" (vintage Marillion at its best!), pensive acoustic led "Between", or the simply stunning (almost) title track, "Silence" where even the spacey bent of Ozric Tentacles is alluded to amongst the more readily Progressive ideals and you're assured a winner every time.

Impressively after all this time the five musicians involved here are the same ones who recorded ...Two Days Wide and it shows, for From The Silence finds a group of musicians who are undoubtedly reading from the same page, combining superbly to make each and every song here more complete as a result.

Fifteen years is a long time for any band to be absent from the recording studio. Impressively with this sparkling return, it feels closer to fifteen minutes for Iluvatar; such is the seamless manner in which they've picked up from exactly where they left off, while adding aspects new. Hopefully we don't have to wait so long for the next time they come in From The Silence...

Iluvatar: From the Silence
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-07-31 02:11:52
My Score:

Iluvatar are an American progressive rock band deeply influenced by British prog giants such as Genesis, Marillion, Pendragon, and IQ. Their 1995 release Children is perhaps still my favourite from this band, not only because it was the first disc I heard by them but also because it contains some of their strongest musical ideas. That said, every release they've put out has been consistent and offered a great example of progressive music. From the Silence is their long-awaited album and their first disc since 1999's A Story Two Days Wide. Although the previous album was released 15 years ago, the songs presented on this album do not demonstrate a significant change in style or form. They are solid examples of neo-prog, highlighted by melodic keyboards (lots of Mellotron and Mini Moog sounds here) underscoring the compositions. The interplay between the instruments is still as elaborate as before, punctuated by complex arrangements and early Genesis-like movements. Some of these songs were actually released about 10 years ago as a rare three-song demo. They have all been re-arrangend and re-recorded, though. Of these three pieces, "Revolution" and "Favorite Son" follow the band's classic sound, with nods to Wind and Wuthering-era Genesis right down to the Peter Gabriel-style of vocals crossed with Marillion's Fish. However, the third piece "Le Ungaire Moo-Moo" finds the band venturing into darker, more experimental realms, evoking King Crimson's most complex work. The song deploys plenty of dissonant chords, atmospheric passages, nifty drum parts, powerful bass lines, and interesting meter changes. It's certainly one of their more daring compositions.

In short, From the Silence is a varied album with great ideas and instrumentation. Fans of Iluvatar will not be disappointed.

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