ILLYRIAN - Round 2: Fight!
January 10, 2017, a year ago
Calgary thrashers Illyrian’s sophomore release, Round 2: Fight!, hits you like a sack of hammers to the face. Combining aggressive riffs, vicious vocals, machine gun-like rhythms and head-splitting guitar solos, the four-piece band delivers the goods on its 10 fiery tracks. Opener “Walking In Sunshine” teases you slightly with its pulsating synth intro and slow, power chord buildup which soon explodes with a hefty-like delivery. With a mix of hardcore raspy barks and deep growls, dual vocalists/guitarists Scott Onofrychuk and Brandon McNeil consistently deliver this vocal approach throughout the album. Hints of Revocation, Nuclear Assault and Battlecross are noticeable, yet the band’s use of forceful gang chants and alternating lead vocals separates Illyrian from its peers.
The production is sharp with a punchy presence on the guitars. Onofrychuk and McNeil consistently tear off tasty solos and blazing riffs with ease throughout the 45 minute runtime. The ability to shift musical gears seamlessly is one of the band’s most endearing qualities. “Mindbender” displays some Bay Area tendencies, á la early-era Testament, while those Battlecross influences shine through on “Five by Five (The Dark Slayer Comes).” My favorite track is “Zeta Reticulum” with its fiery display of technical prowess decorated with infectious melodic guitar passages. Illyrian’s potent blend of thrash and tech metal makes Round 2: Fight! an enjoyable listen.