Tuesday, 23 December 2014
Title: J.O.Y. (or j.o.y.)
Format: Currently a free download available through the band's Bandcamp page, recorded in December 2014
01. j.o.y. 7.26
We last encountered ILL back in the mists of time (July 2011 to be precise) when their debut demo "s.t.r.a.n.g.e" came to light. It was a someone eclectic mix of Bonemachine-esque machinations, both in the industrial/martial sense but also in the more synth based recording style that was "Extraterrestrial Death".
Despite being an enjoyable listen, the general belief was that the ILL project had been a short-lived whim of Hugin's and that single tape release was both their beginning and their swansong. As Hugin himself commented at the time, 'with ILL I wanted to do something noisy but still atmospheric - it was just this release only, I never wanted to me with with ILL....'
And so it had proven to be ever since, until a random email found it's way to Castle Nazgul from deepest Austria, clearly suggesting that a germ of an idea had been flourishing in the dark, dank Austrian forests and that the time was now right for ILL to lurch forth once again from fetid ruins into the glare of the public spotlight...
Or - in other words - ILL is back!
Hugin's been very busy penning and recording new music for the project, as you will quickly see by a quick visit to their Bandcamp page. Now reveling under the title of Doom Ambient Metal, Nazgul's expectations for the band was for some dark and perilous material to invoke fear and trepidation in unwary listeners the world over. And the first proof of that supposition would be the newly deceased - errr, sorry, released - song 'j.o.y.' released in December 2014.
Thus prepared the media player was cued up, and the Castle Nazgul inhabitants prepared for an onslaught of doom metal of bone-crushing weight and of soul-destroying vibe, where the title of the song 'j.o.y.' would surely prove to be a monstrous irony. But.... that's not what came from the speakers at all. Oh no, Hugin's played a cunning card here, and instead of jumping into an existing genre at appropriately funereal pace he has instead created quite unexpected and actually rather awesome!
It's just possible that 'j.o.y.' is the catchiest thing Hugin has ever recorded, and it's in some pretty good company across the canon of Uruk Hai and COI releases in that regard. Seemingly out of nowhere, that wily old Austrian fox has summoned the deceased souls of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal musicians and has channeled the resultant organ and guitar riffs into one monumental song. Don't believe your old uncle Nazgul? Then follow the link above and check it out - for free - for yourself.
From the first keyboard trills (repeated at the conclusion of the song) your expectations are thrown far out of the window, to drop aimlessly into the moat below. Composure regained, some mighty riffs from what sounds like Uriah Heep's 1970s Hammond organ kick in, complemented by tasty guitar licks and bags of groove.
With all due respect to the Beastie Boys, if this is the future direction of the band then we should all lobby to give Hugin a 'Licence to ILL' at the first opportunity.