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ILUVATAR

Neo-Prog • United States


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Iluvatar biography
Very good band from Baltimore, which plays a symphonic Neo Prog music with total influence of Peter GABRIEL's era GENESIS, MARILLION and PINK FLOYD. The musicianship is very good, but the vocals are real GABRIEL clone like.

"Children" is perhaps a bit more to my taste as it employs more of a 70's feel, particularly with the keyboard sounds. "A Story Two Days Wide", their most adventurous work to date, is one of their best album, on a level playing field with noted bands such as IQ, PENDRAGON, and ARENA. If this fact doesn't bother you, ILUVATAR is highly recommended for your collection!

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A Story Two Days WideA Story Two Days Wide
Kinesis Records 1999
Audio CD$33.96
$29.09 (used)
ChildrenChildren
Kinesis Records 1999
Audio CD$650.84
$39.99 (used)
SideshowSideshow
Kinesis Records 1999
Audio CD$858.99
$74.95 (used)
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ILUVATAR discography


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ILUVATAR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.14 | 46 ratings
Ilúvatar
1993
3.65 | 77 ratings
Children
1995
3.30 | 46 ratings
A Story Two Days Wide
1999

ILUVATAR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ILUVATAR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ILUVATAR Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.47 | 10 ratings
Sideshow
1999

ILUVATAR Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ILUVATAR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Children by ILUVATAR album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.65 | 77 ratings

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Children
Iluvatar Neo-Prog

Review by Memo_anathemo

3 stars Iluvatar presents us their masterpiece CHILDREN which is a complete neoprog sound with nice guitar movements and keyboard environments all the way through. Completely inspired in early Marillion, Iluvatar created good compositions. Sometimes the songs sound a bit from the eighties. Had Iluvatar been known, maybe this album would have had a lot of excellent reviews in the mainstream world. All the songs maintain a rhythm which never falls to mellow sounds, although I feel that maybe at times it was necessary to vary a bit. Late of Conscience is the track that got me more, and Your Darkest Hour has really good orientation. The concept of the album is also really good.

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 A Story Two Days Wide by ILUVATAR album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.30 | 46 ratings

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A Story Two Days Wide
Iluvatar Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Iluvatar;s final album sounds rather lightweight and a little simplistic next to the somewhat meatier material on Children, or even their debut album. Once again heavily Marillion- influenced melodic neo-prog is the order of the day, but this time around the band's approach seems a bit more pedestrian, failing to distinguish itself from the ranks of other bands who follow this general formula. The concluding epic, Indian Rain, is probably the album's high spot, but even then it suffers a little from padding and pales in comparison to more imaginative works by numerous contemporaries of the band. At the end of the day, it's an OK album, but there's plenty of better albums to get through before you turn your attention to this one.

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 Children by ILUVATAR album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.65 | 77 ratings

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Children
Iluvatar Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Iluvatar's second album sees them expanding their range of classic neo-prog reference points, adding a welcome IQ influence to their sound (whereas the preceding album more closely resembled Marillion). This is particularly evident in Dennis Mullin's guitar playing; meanwhile, Gary Chambers' vocal and lyrical approach recall Fish's characteristic cadence at points. The end result of all this is an album which once again manages to present standard middle-of- the-road neo-prog, but does so with such confidence and at a sufficient level of quality that they stand out from most of the other Marillionalikes out there. Neo-prog fans will probably find a lot to enjoy about this one, whereas those who can't stand early Marillion and IQ won't hear anything to win them over here.

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 Ilúvatar by ILUVATAR album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.14 | 46 ratings

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Ilúvatar
Iluvatar Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Iluvatar are named after the supreme deity of Tolkien's Middle Earth, a mysterious and distant figure who is not discussed especially directly in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; what we know about this character, we know mainly from the Silmarillion. Which is, of course, the book which Marillion took their name from (chopping off the "Sil" to avoid any legal unpleasantness)... so that's a fairly clear hint right there where the band are getting their inspiration from.

Sure enough, this is fairly straight-ahead neo-prog in the mould of early Marillion, with perhaps a dash of Pendragon added. I was ready to give this one an average rating and move on... except that to my ears there's something special to it which makes it earn a higher rating than I'd usually give to fairly unoriginal neo-prog groups. Take, for instance, vocalist Glenn McLaughlin, whose vocal style is in the main rather generic and bland... except he's able to add just a little extra pinch of emotion and sincerity to his delivery than the vocalists of many similar generic neo-prog groups. The same goes for all the other instrumentalists, the band's talents coming together to powerful effects on tracks such as the spooky Marionette.

In short, Iluvatar play a style of perfectly generic, middle-of-the-road neo-prog... except they play this style significantly better than any of the other groups partaking of this particular style. Maybe they don't have the sheer personality and individuality of the top rank of neo-prog bands, but I'd say they're amongst the best of the second tier.

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 A Story Two Days Wide by ILUVATAR album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.30 | 46 ratings

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A Story Two Days Wide
Iluvatar Neo-Prog

Review by kirklott

5 stars First off, I am more generous with 5-star reviews (and 1-star reviews) than most. The top 20% gets 5 stars from me, and this album is top 20%.

I tire of critics whining about "nothing new here." People, prog rock is a genre, and artists are not expected to knock themselves out and come up with something new every time. The 23rd James Bond movie is slated for 2012, and it's a formula, and a very satisfying one. Same with symphonic prog. If you prefer Rock in Opposition, go listen to that.

So on to this album: what more could you want? Genesis and ELP are done releasing albums, and Yes has only released one in the past decade. So if you want new music that sounds like those bands,Iluvatar is a great choice, and in my opinion their 3rd album is their best yet. On the first album, they were finding their way ? still immature. On the 2nd album, Children, their songcraft improved, but they weren't ready for extended pieces.

On this album, it all comes together: great melodies, extended mini epics, constantly changing tempos, great guitar and keyboard interplay, very good and sincere singing, and lots of big bombastic organs and keys and walls of sound that we prog fans know and love.

So if you're tired of listening to ELP, Genesis and Yes for the 1,000th time, this is a very satisfying substitute.

Best tracks: Dreaming With the Lights On, Sojourns, and Better Days.

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 Children by ILUVATAR album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.65 | 77 ratings

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Children
Iluvatar Neo-Prog

Review by Gerinski
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A very good melodic Neo-Prog album from this american band. Admittedly it did not bring anything new, but then Neo is quite by definition a "regressive within the progressive" sub- genre, isn't it?

Take the style of Genesis' And Then There Were Three / Duke period, combine it with melodic Neo such as Jadis and some other typical cliches from Marillion Fugazi period or IQ and you get a pretty good idea of what this album offers: nothing new but they still somehow manage to create their own sound, and it sounds really good provided that you are keen on this style of music.

The keyboards of Jim Rezek dominate the soundscape, with good guitar interplays by Dennis Mullin. The bass is quite good as well and the drums while not being particularly outstanding do their job nicely enough. The vocals of Glenn McLaughlin sound as a hybrid between Phil Collins, Fish and Gabriel, in other words they fit perfectly with the music style, although his singing is sometimes a bit too nasal for my taste.

The quality of the songs is very consistent, all of them really good and they provide a good dynamic flow alternating a sufficient range of different moods and tempos. Even if it stays fairly melodic all throughout, it does not lack harder energic moments. The strongest tracks are the opener "Haze", the wonderful mellow "Given Away", "Late of Conscience", "Eye Next to Glass" / "Your Darkest Hour" (the former of which I tend to consider as the intro to the latter) and the 12 minute long "The Final Stoke". In other words, practically the whole album is really strong, and the other 2 tracks "In Our Lives" and "Cracker" are not bad at all either, just a bit weaker according to me.

The production is fairly good and as a plus the Dali-esque cover is great.

For sure purist die-hard proggers seeking innovation, experimentation or dissonance must stay away from this album as from the plague, but if you are receptive to melodic Neo this is a very enjoyable record.

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 Children by ILUVATAR album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.65 | 77 ratings

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Children
Iluvatar Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars "Children" by Baltimore group Iluvatar has a gentle Genesis feel that is immediately apparent both in the rhythmic sector as well as the guitar and keyboard work but most especially with Glenn MacLaughlin's smoky Collins/Gabriel voice paving the melodic avenues. "Haze" starts out with all those hallmark traits we all know and love, elegant piano, organ and synths from Jim Rezek , Dennis Mullen providing jangling guitar strands and a stinging lead , a sharp well- crafted opening barrage. "In Our Lives" has a tinge of Galahad, a children choir used to maximum effect and three sumptuous axe solos, all flutter and feel while Glenn rages along emphatically, infuriated about unnecessary youthful alienation. "Given Away" tackles the topic of orphanage with graceful class, a timelessly painful ordeal that has no real therapy, so the guys really heap on the symphonics , turning this into an ostentatious and heartfelt message of hope amid the despair. The vocals are stunningly close to Phil Collins' timbre and the lead guitar excursion is outright lovely. Very nice track, indeed. The nearly 9 minute "Late of Conscience" is possibly more natural in feel, a swinging ballad with scouring Mullen leads amid the well-endowed keyboard pangs, MacLaughlin singing his heart out with vivid passion and flair, sounding closer to Michael Sadler of Saga fame. The chorus is bold and powerful; a magical allusion of harpsichord and echoing synths, an absolute joyride. Mullen's sustained lead fade out is authoritative. "Cracker" is a harder edged guitar/organ charge that while interesting just doesn't have the same previous fantasy, perhaps more cheese than cracker (oops! that was corny!) and despairing subject matter about faith. The shimmering "Eye Next to Glass" is a haunting little piece, armed with sweeping keyboards and serene vocals, ringing guitar arpeggios and voice effects, almost experimental in scope that really pins some serious medals on the entire work, showing that the progressive spirit is not just formulaic. Bravo! "Your Darkest Hour" is another massive jab into the melancholia of resilience amid obscurity and gloom, frilly organ runs vying with rumbling drum fills, a brief slithering synth solo that weaves like some searchlight peering in the mist, this perhaps closer to Marillion territory finalized by a sweet guitar solo. And for a final 12 minute epic "The Final Stroke" is just that, a romantic piano-led lullaby that addresses life's legacy, the motor that revs our lives and that guides our journeys, hopefully consecrating those "misplaced childhood" dreams. Another interesting piece and a theme that impels introspection and afterthought. The album's undisputed acme. 4 precious kids

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 Ilúvatar by ILUVATAR album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.14 | 46 ratings

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Ilúvatar
Iluvatar Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Several years ago I checked out many (some 200) streamsongs (downloads back then) and I remember there were two new bands that stuck out for me: Anglagard and this Iluvatar with Children's Late of Conscience. Anglagard was the most special to me but Iluvatar was the band I hoped to find with their extremely melodic neo prog. In that sense it's truly of the same quality as Pendragon, Clepsydra and Satellite. As soon as I realized that I resolved to buy all their albums. So far I bought the first three and their last is more of a compilation so I might as well forget about that one.

This debut is the last one I bought but the first I will review to keep things in the right order. First track is the title track (same name as the band's name) and is a short instrumental overture with a dreamy atmosphere (3*).

In the Eye is a short epic consisting of three parts. First part is the longest (Look us in the Eye) and starts pretty fierce for Iluvatar standard. The band is not known for an aggressive approach but here they prove they can also play in an energetic way. The second part (Blind) is more in the same style but totally instrumental. With the third part (Through the Eye) the vocals are back and round this great mini-epic off in a worthy way (4*).

Eagle is a wonderful, more ballad like track with a much more quiet impact than previous song. With this one we are introduced to the two extremes this band is capable of. Another high class track (3,75*).

New found Key is one of the shorter tracks and is not really of the same high quality as the previous two. Still the basic standard of Iluvatar is so high it still deserves 3,25*.

Exodus is a song that's charactarized by a continuous acoustic guitar riff of 10-15 notes going on for 7 minutes and is thus played somewhere between 75 and 100 times. You would think this starts to bore after some 20 times but somehow it doesn't. And that's amazing I think, the other elements of the song are so impressive it keeps its value and beauty. For instance another acoustic contribution from 4:00 till 6:00 is very compelling and makes this another successful song (3,75*).

Wait for the Call is a song for which the same description as the one for New found Key can be used. Also the rating is the same (3,25*). Good, but not really significant.

Dream Visage starts strangely with a deep vocal sound but soon after gets to become a regular Iluvatar track. Special feature of this one is the stand out vocals besides a nice atmosphere at times (3,75*).

Marionette is the highlight to me, a song that can compete with the best songs on their later albums. Especially the instrumental part in the second half makes it a magical composition (4,5*).

Emperor's new Clothes is a dignified closer of a very good debut by Iluvatar (3,75*). Some great guitar here.

I give it 4, although rounded up (3,7). Recommended for all neo progressive fans. This band deserves more attention than it got so far.

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 Ilúvatar by ILUVATAR album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.14 | 46 ratings

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Ilúvatar
Iluvatar Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars ILUVATAR's story goes back in 1983 in Maryland,USA with the formation of the progressive rock cover band ''Sojourn''.While the years passed by,''Sojourn'' were turning from covering famous songs to composing their own material.In 1992 they were renamed to ILUVATAR and thus,begun an intense live activityfor the group.In 1993 ILUVATAR released their eponymous first album,which was a really hot-seller for their label,Kinesis.The sound of ILUVATAR is split between the 70's soft symphonic prog rock and the 80's accessible British prog rock and they sound actually like a cross between GENESIS and bands like IQ or PENDRAGON.All tracks are well-arranged and performed,covered with beautiful,atmospheric keyboards and nice guitar melodies,while Glenn McLaughlin's voice seems like a mix between Peter Nicholls of IQ and Phil Collins.This is very nice and easy-listening prog rock,based on great melodies,symphonic delicacy and sensitive vocals,recommended for all lovers of soft-symphonic progressive rock.

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 Ilúvatar by ILUVATAR album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.14 | 46 ratings

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Ilúvatar
Iluvatar Neo-Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

2 stars It's hard to be critical of this band and it's first release, since it really isn't that bad... but it's hardly anything especially good either.

For those not familiar, Iluvatar is typically classified as a neo-prog group heavily incorporating elements of classic groups (Genesis, Fish-era Marillion), performed earnestly but lacking anything especially interesting to catch one's ear. Songwriting is mildly ambitious, in regards to its atmosphere and occasional rhythmic flash, but performances are as bland as one could imagine. The production and style is very banal, with cheesy synth and straightforward guitars-- not bad mind you, just corny and ordinary; the listener will be struggling to find much to latch onto. McLaughlin's vocals are a mish-mash of influences, but lack much in the way of range and emotion.

Nice but not enough to stand out among the other neo-prog bands doing more, better.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

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