Los Angeles-based progressive alt-rock outfit Illuminaut recently released their debut self-titled EP.
Illuminaut began life as the instrumental solo project of multi-instrumentalist and producer Ben Taylor. Yet the project remained dormant for two years because it lacked a vocalist. When the pandemic appeared, Taylor decided it was time to energize the project. He started searching for the right vocalist. Luckily, he came across vocalist and lyricist Blaze Powers, who had the potent vocal chops and range to round out Illuminaut.
Collaborating remotely, the two artists wrote a number of songs, including the four tracks on the EP. Illuminaut’s sound encompasses influences from Tool, The Mars Volta, Sound Garden, and the Queens of the Stone Age.
Entering the studio at Bedrock LA, the guitar and bass tracks were laid down, followed by vocals and drums being recorded at ES Audio Recording Studio. Engineered and mixed by Chad Carlisle, the EP was mastered by Dave Collins (Soundgarden, Chevelle, Alice In Chains).
The EP begins with “The Grey,” opening on emerging guitars riding light percussion. A mesmerizing voice enters, followed by the rhythmic elements escalating and growling guitars. Dual contrasting layers, the luminous vocals, and heavy guitars imbue the tune with potent harmonic washes. Elusively reminiscent of Tool, “The Grey” surges with an array of tasty textures.
“Dead Messenger” travels on trickling guitars and then ramps up to ferocious waves of guitars. Powers’s deluxe voice infuses the lyrics with bewitching timbres, at once powerful and velvety, as well as seductively dangerous.
“Native Alien” rolls out on misty colors as Powers’ ethereal vocals glide overhead. Then the song shifts to a rumbling, rapid-fire rhythm, while Powers’ voice takes on scorching tones. Whereas the final track, “Two Wolves,” offers a muscular intro full of resonant drums and a massive, vibrating bassline. As the song assumes shape, Powers’ femme fatale tones inject the lyrics with risky flavors.
Two highlights on the EP deserve mention: the drumming and Blaze Powers’ excellent voice. Finessed yet Jovian, the drums surpass superb and enter the realm of superlative, while Powers’ vocals are simultaneously cashmere, intoxicating, and voluptuously formidable.
Illuminaut definitely has it going on! Imagine Tool fronted by one of Homer’s Sirens and you’ll have an idea of how remarkable Illuminaut’s music is.