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Iluvatar - Children CD (album) cover





3.70 | 128 ratings

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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
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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