Illnath is a Danish quartet formed around 1999. After trials and tribulations that comes with frequent line-up changes, Pete Falk the guitarist remains the driving force behind Illnath. “Third Act in the Theater of Madness” marks their fourth release since inception. It will be interesting to see where this release lands the band on the metal landscape.
This opens on some rather odd sounding circus type of calliope sounds but alas brutality is only bars away. Illnath comes out with power in the first track, “Third Act”. One gets lost so quickly in the fury that one forgets that this is female fronted, which is a good thing. If we have to think about what gender is doing the vocals something is lost. Mona Beck is in perfect scream, commitment and emotion packed is the best description I can offer. She adds layers to the sound of the band, in short she is brilliant. This does not mean that Pete, Dennis and Kenneth do not add their own flair and power to the music. The riffs are properly chunky and the beat drives like hail through the storm. As a group they present themselves as a proficient metal musicians and we are only on the first track.
Three groove collections in and we land on ‘Lead The Way’, one of my personal favorites on the release. It is really a collection of all that is right with Illnath and this release. Atmospheric lead in keeps it in line with the theater feel established by the album name and instant full force power to follow. Falk’s riffs are fast and chunky in all the right places, accentuated by some nicely executed pinch style harmonics. Dennis and Kenneth provide a backdrop of driving bass and perfect drum rolls and blasting all in proper time and spot on. Mona provides layers of brutality and even has a rather alluring interlude. In short this track captures the essence of not only the album but the band as a whole. One warning though, this track does cause spontaneous throwing of devil horns, but that’s okay, I mean it is a metal album after all. It may cause some public embarrassment but are you metal or not!
As people clamour more and more for progressive and technical metal, I think we overlook some aspects of our roots. At the essence of it all, to me personally metal is loud, hard, and in your face. Certainly, I enjoy and love the progressive and technical stuff but I also enjoy the more no frills heart pounding, devil horn throwing inducing type of metal. Illnath may never set the progressive world on fire but is that a bad thing, no it is not! They have it going on, their soundscapes are an amazing collage of riffs, screams, beats, and lines that becomes intoxicating to the listener. This band from Denmark is pure brilliant metal and is the perfect example for more flash is not necessarily better flash! One need only get lost in the ‘Snake of Eden’ and ‘Spring Will Come’ tracks to realize this argument and how they, and all the songs on this release, add to the shine on their already metal sound.
This is a top quality release in terms of music and production. They exhibit a certain flair and panache in “Third Act in the Theater of Madness” culminating in a top flight outing, with all the right riffs, beats and screams in the proper place. This one is not to be missed and come highly recommended. Give it a chance and with headphones as the perfect addition you too can become lost in the world of Illnath, and if that is what being lost is count me in!