Since the depature of original vocalist Craig Owens in 2009, Chiodos were under scrutiny and fire from fans and critics alike. Many saw Craig as the “face of the band” and were unsure how the band were to continue without him in the line-up. Just over a year later the band release their first album without him ‘Illuminaudio’, and in his place stands new vocalist Brandon Bolmer.
We all know die-hard fans of Craig Owens and everything he touches are instantly going to establish some level of hate for Chiodos, new vocalist Brandon and/or ‘Illuminaudio’ even before listening to it, but upon hearing the record, disregarding any messy history and taking it as a whole body of work will be delighted with the end result.
It’s clear Chiodos have made a smart move in their replacement for Craig, as Brandon Bolmer‘s vocals range both clean and harsh is a strong and worthy competitor and a great match for recreating the band’s older songs at future shows. Leading in after the eerie title-track intro is the relentless ‘Caves’, bringing into play some almost theatrical backing piano lines with crunching guitar riffs, and fast drum work from other new addition Tanner Wayne. ‘Love Is A Cat From Hell’ keeps this essence going strong, and the assitance of guest vocals from Pierce The Veil frontman Vic Fuentes adds an extra something to the almost jazz tinged track.
‘Notes In Constellations’ brings Brandon‘s clean vocals clearly into the spotlight, and forefronts how great of a replacement he makes in Craig Owens‘ almost unfillable shoes, whereas ‘Let Us Burn One’ brings out the darker harsh vocals which are almost just as impressive. Again Tanner‘s furious double-bass and quick smashes against the snare drum are on full show.
Album closer ‘Closed Eyes Still Look Forward’ shuts the curtains fittingly, with Brandon‘s vocals driving forward the piano and string based track to a dramatic yet humble end, and confirming through a final engrave via the record that he’s a great fit for Chiodos, and that the band are far from dead without Craig Owens.
Written by Zach Redrup