The style on Ash of the Womb is a hybrid one that takes liberally from post-metal, post-rock, shoegaze, grunge, and doom. The end result is a captivating collection of tracks with its own voice. Illudium write music that has recognisable components that you can attribute influences to, but the band exist very much on their own terms.
The album offers the listener a dark journey across 48 minutes. It’s quite the experience, as the band’s very capable ability to cross genre boundaries with ease is laid out in full. Post-metal’s build/release mechanic is well-deployed, as is post-rock’s intricate nuance. The dreamy brightness of shoegaze washes over the music like a light tide, while the darkness at the heart of much grunge is laid bare in an enticing and compelling manner. Over everything exists the shadow of doom. It’s almost like listening to Isis, Alcest, and Messa collaborate together to interpret a long lost grunge song. Or something.
Ash of the Womb is frequently ethereal and beautiful, but it’s also dark and menacing in places. The songs are filled with atmosphere and feeling, yet aren’t lacking in heaviness or immediacy when they need to. This is an album of great emotion and delicate depths. Taking a layered approach to songwriting, these songs seem to spread out and expand over the running time, growing organically into different shapes and sizes, before dying back as the album closes, only to revive again when it is inevitably revisited.
The singer has a powerful clean singing voice that’s well-suited to conveying emotion. Her performance may be an obvious focal point in the songs, but the rest of the music is no less well-delivered.
Ash of the Womb is a cut above the average. If you’re a fan of intelligently-crafted music that embraces both beauty and darkness, then I can’t recommend Illudium’s latest album highly enough.