Angst ridden and in-your-face, but also bordering on derivative; Southern Florida hardcore unit Illuminate Me‘s first record with new label, Tragic Hero Records, brings the ferocity and vibrancy that comes with hardcore. However, it doesn’t quite reach the extent that they possibly intended.
It’s a shame, really. ‘I Have Become A Corpse’ initially fires open with some intent in the shape of ‘Voodoo Blues’. We’re subject to a cluster of distorted guitars and torture-like vocals, and for the best part we feel involved in the anger and angst that Illuminate Me wish to channel. This track also features the first of three guest vocals on the album, this one coming in the shape of Garrett Rapp of The Color Morale.
That being said, Illuminate Me carry on their rampage with ‘No Sunshine In The Sunshine State’ and ‘Ouija Board Taught Me Everything I Know’. However, it’s at this point it becomes evident that their angst charged sound with generic lyricism becomes rather tiresome and uninteresting.
Though it’s evident that Illuminate Me mean well and do show intent in their sound, their biggest challenge will always be to overcome the shadow of their more reknowned peers. In truth, there isn’t much about this record that hasn’t been done musically elsewhere. Intense hardcore with velocity and ferocity can be found on a more established scale in the shape of The Chariot or Every Time I Die. In more recent times, Beartooth have been championing a similar sound with far more interesting results.
Perhaps I’m being vague, but Illuminate Me are going to have to be more innovative in sound to achieve more should they wish to. For instance, the only break in musicality we’re subjected to on this record is the distant and eerie guitar opening on ‘Funeral Friends’ along with the distorted guitar pickings at the end of the album’s title-track. Other than that, ‘I Have Become A Corpse’ is business as usual.
Illuminate Me clearly have the best intentions for this album, and that’s evident by the enthusiasm in performance. However, in order to clench the fist tighter on their audience, they’re quite simply going to have to offer something in substance. At the moment, it’s just a bombardment of hardcore; breakdowns, string bends and in-your-face lyrics. It’s derivative in areas, but it doesn’t have to be when you have the energy, enthusiasm and intent that Illuminate Me do. I’ll hold out hope for these guys.
Written by Calv Robinson (@Calvparty)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.