ILLUMINATE Augen Blicke (Hardbeat Propaganda/Metal Blade) (2004)
I can assure you that having to make a review for a band that you have never heard before, knowing that the promo that was given to you is actually their eleventh studio release, can really bring you to a very embarrassing position. I had all sorts of insecurities as to whether I was going to be able to give justice to the album, since I am not aware of what they are really capable of and also not being aware of the bandís evolution through the years.
Well, every insecurity that I had turned to frustration after I decided to listen to Illuminateís latest studio effort 'Augen Blicke'. Thatís when I realised that either the band or the label (I really donít care, nor does it make any difference to be honest with you) decided to sent me a ten track promo, with nine of them being 'fade out' tracks!
In case you are not aware, 'fade out' is a method that normally music magazines use. What they do is that they normally give away bonus CDs with short samples of songs that most of the time refer to upcoming releases.
Now, what happened is that I ended up with a twenty four (!!!) minute CD, to help me understand who Illuminate are, and what they want to present in Augen Blicke rubbish!
With an average of one and a half minute for each song, I consider it an insult if anyone would expect me to get into the mentality of this album - I am a music fan after all, not a medium!
Anyway, my duty is to try to present this album, and thatís what I will try to do. 'Augen Blicke' is a German speaking multi-influenced album that can apply to some people, but not to Metalheads. The basic instruments are Piano/Synthesisers and the annoying voice of the German frontman that I didnít manage to get used to, even after I listened to the album for the fifth time!
If it was to be labelled, it would probably go under the Alternative/Darkwave section, which I personally find less than attractive. I have to admit that I really liked many Piano parts, but the general feeling of the album is such, that they are destined to be forgotten in no time.
It is quite obvious that Illuminate are targeting the German market, in which case I donít understand why they bothered sending their promo outside their own country. I am quite aware of all the reasons that could make a band try to protect themselves from allowing their music to fall in the hands of all the wrong people, but bands and labels need to understand where to draw the line. Neither I nor any of my fellow-colleagues will ever be able to promote any bandís job under these circumstances - there has to be another way.
If Iím being hard on Illuminate with this review, well - Iím afraid that Iím not the only one to blame, but with what I heard and the way they were presented to me, I had no other choice...
Review by John Stefanis