Illnath – Third Act In the Theater of Madness CD review

Formed in 1999, Illnath are a female fronted melodic death metal band from Copenhagen whose latest release, Third Act In the Theater of Madness, was released in November of 2011. Their dark, ambient mix of gothic, murky melody lines and driving, rabid rhythm sections gives them an extra progressive dimension musically and standing them out from other bands playing the same genre. This is Illnath’s fourth album and although it isn’t as good as 2006’s album, Second Skin Harlequin and the band’s debut, Angelic Voices Calling. Third Act In the Theater of Madness is still a really good album with some astounding moments on it.

The first thing to point out about this is how clean the production is. For a melodic death metal album, Third Act In the Theater of Madness has a massive production and tries not to focus on being as brutal as humanly possible – not to say this album isn’t brutal at points though. Everything is equally balanced so that melody balances with heaviness and each instrument can be heard whether it be the twinkling keyboard lines in the sinister sounding ‘Snake of Eden’ to the all out anthem of ‘Lead the Way’, every little detail his heard and it’s this excellent production and mastering which really makes this album enjoyable.

Guitar is a big element to melodic death metal and Illnath have hit the nail on the head perfectly when writing the guitar lines on this album. Fast, ferocious and fiery guitar riffs – that’s what drives Third Act In the Theater of Madness forward, and without guitarist Pete Falk behind the wheel; songs such as ‘Scarecrow’, ‘Tree of Life and Death’ and ‘Spring Will Come’ would not be as memorable as they are. There are fast guitar lines, chromatic sweep picking, shredding solos and crazy licks on this album… It’s like a guitarist’s wet dream!

There is a lack of ideas, so to speak on Third Act In the Theater of Madness and this is Illnath’s downfall. There are some brilliant songs on this album, but a lot of the songs do sound a bit samey and similar. If Illnath experimented a bit more on their next release, adding diversity and something musically stimulating into their music then we could be seeing the rise of one of the greatest female fronted metal bands. It’s just the lack of originality that let’s Illnath down at the moment and if they really put their heads together their next album will most definitely blow your mind.

There are a few tracks on this album that are worth a listen, but other than these, Third Act In the Theater of Madness is jammed full of filler. There is nothing musically wrong with this album, but it would be nice to see Illnath try something new and fresh in the future. [6/10]

About Del Preston

So there I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about 3 o'clock in the morning, looking for one thousand brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn't go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head 'round the door, and mentions there's a little sweet shop on the edge of town. So - we go. And - it's closed. So there's me and Keith Moon and David Crosby, breaking into that little sweet shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they've got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shop owner and his son, that's a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business really. But sure enough, I got the M&Ms and Ozzy went on stage and did a great show.