Chiodos – Illuminaudio

by Brandon Isaacson (Marketing), published October 15th 2010

Michigan band Chiodos is at the forefront of the post-hardcore movement along with bands Alexisonfire, A Day To Remember, The Fall of Troy (recently broken up), and Thrice. They became popular immediately with their Equal Vision debut All’s Well That Ends Well. The record propelled them to fame because of its pop flair and unpredictability. All’s Well tackled the same serious issues as other acts on the scene but in a highly stylized, even fun way.

Chiodos followed All’s Well with Bone Palace Ballet an even more stylized, mature LP with better songs; the big problem however was its jarring lack of coherence. Because of personal disputes, drummer Derrick Frost and vocalist Craig Owens were asked to leave the band in between Bone Palace Ballet and new album Illuminaudio. They were replaced by Tanner Wayne (Underminded, Scary Kids Scaring Kids) and Brandon Bolmer (Yesterday’s Rising) respectively. While both bring impressive pedigrees to the band, many feared Frost and Owens’ shoes were too big to fill, especially Owens’, since he was the face of Chiodos.

Illuminaudio doesn’t feel like the third album in a Chiodos saga; instead, it reinvents the identity of Chiodos. The album is the first step in a new Chiodos, a band that functions as a collective and not a pack of skillful individuals. Owens was always the center of attention, making all other band members virtual afterthoughts. While Bolmer is talented, especially at screaming, he doesn’t take the spotlight. Jason Hale (lead guitar) and Bradley Bell (keyboard) take more leading roles on Illuminaudio however there isn’t a clear-cut leader. Bolmer commands in ‘€œLove Is a Cat from Hell, ‘€œI’m not foolin’ around;’€ Chiodos is ready to start a career.

Illuminaudio is fiery, brash, and epic in scale. In early track ‘€œLove Is a Cat from Hell,’€ Chiodos comes out swinging with one of the catchiest choruses of the year, exclaiming, ‘€œwhat goes around, comes back around!’€ The power of the song comes from Bolmer’s commanding vocals, Wayne’s potent use of double bass, and most importantly Bradley Bell’s poignant keyboard. Next song ‘€œModern Wolf Hair’€ embodies the new Chiodos sound best- it’s angry, it’s frustrated, and it’s damn fun. This continues later on ‘€œHis Story Repeats Itself’€ with even more intensity highlighted by Bell’s excellent piano. It’s here that the instrument really becomes Chiodos’ defining characteristic in place of Owens’ voice. While many doubted it, Chiodos is ready to continue leading the post-hardcore movement.

Illuminaudio proves that the band doesn’t need Craig Owens. Chiodos is an excellent band that will continue to hold a major presence in the scene  for years to come. They will continue to prevail because they mix harsh anger with elegant, flavorful pop. Chiodos is currently on the Congregation of the Damned Tour headlined by Atreyu (with Blessthefall) and Endless Hallway.

There are no dates scheduled for Boston yet, but hopefully Chiodos will do a headlining tour after Congregation of the Damned!

Rating: 4.5/5

Recommended Songs: Love Is A Cat From Hell, Modern Wolf Hair, His Story Repeats Itself, Hey Zeus! The Dungeon

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