Ihlo - Union

(CD, 2019, 53:48, Self-released through Bandcamp)

The tracks:
  1- Union(6:07)
  2- Reanimate(5:31)
  3- Starseeker(7:33)
  4- Hollow(6:58)
  5- Triumph(4:54)
  6- Parhelion(7:26)
  7- Coalescence(15:14)

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I can say it in one sentence: “If you like Tesseract and Skyharbor, you'll like Ihlo too.“
That sums it up, end of the review? No. I'll take u with me.

The first track (Union) pulls you straight into the heart of Djent. Lucky enough with the clean voice of Andy Robison who has many similarities with Daniel Tompkins. Maybe not his excellence but in this Djent music he made me think of no other. Screaming and grunting is not really my cup of tea so I'm glad it's clean on this record. The rest of the album is spot on. It goes on in the same fashion and lets you hear what Djent is all about. “Phatt” riffs and quiet tempo changes. Hollow could be written by Steven Wilson. Yes, it's that good. It begins with a nice and quiet Porcupine Tree like bassline and builds up to a wonderful climax where Andy shows how emotional a good singer goes to his max. Supported by his great band it explodes into your ears. The only short (below 5 mins) track Triumph is another example of how a Prog Metal track should sound! Speakers on max! Parhelion lets you hear that harmonies are possible too. It Djents, riffing bombastic, synths swirling and soundscaping, complex rhythms. It has all the ingredients. And it's not even the end of the album as Coalescence the epic track of more than 15 minutes treats you to even more than the awesomeness of all that was before. It builds and builds to even more aggressive riffing that is smoothed by the clean voice of the singer. To put you on your feet after a whopping 8 minutes of violence. And to be pulled back in over and over again into this hurricane of deep guitar riffs. Not heavy shredding like the great Ayreon, but deeper. Does it end? Yes... but do you want it to end?

This was intense. For many prog fans this would be too heavy, but think of it as an experience.

I read somewhere that Djent is dead. Ihlo proves that it's still alive!
I hope to hear more from them in the future. This album is one of my top picks of this year.

***** Erik van Os

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