Kiljin – ‘Master Of Illusion’   Leave a comment

A Michigan metal quartet, all belonging to one family, KILJIN are out to play pure metal, with an explosive individual twist. Former members of Known Felons and KISSTER (KISS tribute), they clocked up 20 years worth of American tours, with those bands. They’ve played support for many well-known bands, including Candlebox, Ratt, Brett Michaels, Quiet Riot and Motley Sure. Now, they’re ready to rock, once more.

Path Of The Warlock – Classic sleaze riff intro’ing, on a very trad metal refrain, complete with evil laugh. Very Rose-esque vocals. Definite strong hits of 90’s metal here. Easy rhythms, lots of melody, delivered in a loose arrangement, with an easy groove. Comfortably old school, mid-paced, with a big catch, reminiscent of G’N’R’s ‘UYI’ era. It just rolls along, happily, on an upbeat tide).

I’m Still Alive – Heavy hitting intro, moving into a slightly darker melody. Breaking down, comfortably, incorporating more drum rolls and vocals just slightly edgier. This just gels together easily. Very natural feel to it. Flowing well, without missing a beat. Plenty colourful riffage. Good production standard. Staying with that marginally darker thread, without missing a beat. Just a very intuitive sense to it. Again, a lot of Rose-esque vocal strength, pulling it off well, in terms of sustain and consistency. Great screaming riffs, ending.

Personality Treason – Skidding into the opening steer, with powerful riffs and catchily timed drum rolls. Vocals here just very slightly quieter, but growing gradually louder and still sustaining that strength and key well. Plausible lyrics. A good beat to it, feeling it, audibly. Lots of melody, again and some great intricate riffs. This one slides along, effortlessly. Skilfully hit vocal tones, just after the mid-section. That evil laugh returns. The rhythms are the strength behind this track. Plenty of time to revel in it, before the smooth fade-out. Just a tiny bit of dead space, at the end, but barely noticeable.

New Disease – Opening on a bluesy groove. Then right into the mood). Liking the sound of those Rose-esque vocals. The drumming gives this a colourful backdrop. It’s another rhythmic number, with plenty of melody. That consistency runs throughout it, melodically, rhythmically and in the audio values. Tasty bit of fret-bending, around the mid-section. Great pitch alternations and every note’s hit, with precision. You’ve got to admire those vocals. These guys have just got their sound together and it all works in complete synch.

Beard Of Wizard – Dramatic thunderstorm intro, with narration of a legend, spoken with true feeling, evoking real intrigue. Then right into an electrifying riff and powered vocal. This track’s the versatility deal maker. It’s a track likely to appeal to all fellow alternatives and lovers of magic. Those vocals just fit that melody. Riding along, on the crest of a riff). It’s like a new Rose, with an added twist. Just a delightfully mysterious track.

Master Of Illusion – Heavy breakdown intro. Succinctly timed, harmonised riff and drum sound. Moving into a spaced out, breathier section, before taking it up, into Metallica-esque speed riffs, with all the atmosphere of ‘Kill ‘Em All’. Vocals adding a deliciously creepy taint. Once more, it’s got that easy groove to it. Drums spacing out those hits, strategically, as the riffs grow more intense and frenetic. Lots of power stacked up in here. Riff wizardry takes it higher. Instrumentals account for the greatest portion of this track, but if anything, it highlights the vocal section’s significance, even more. Getting more virtuoso, just before the end.

Drowning In My Dreams – Smooth riff and drum intro, with a clearly pronounced heaviness. Stacks of groove again. Breaking it down, with pure perfection. A little more vocally dramatic. Moving, so easily, from one tempo, to another, playing with pace. It all lines up together again. Melodically strong, still, with loads of expertly delivered riffage and the track just flies along. A few tricky notes in there, well handled, without an issue. Very rhythmic and moving to an end, with complete confidence.

Point Of No Change – Taking a different turn now, with a beautifully played acoustic intro, quickly joined by electric riffs and vocals, showing their softer side now. Collectively, it’s very ‘Civil War’-esque. Exploding, into a passionate, fiery refrain. Energy level ratcheted right back up again). Alternating the pace, a bit, but handling it deftly. Thought-provoking lyrics. Well performed, dramatic drum section. Bringing it up and down, with self-assured ease. More melodic riffage, giving it so much feeling. Notes impressively sustained. Returning to the gentler sound, for the outro.

Cold – Vibrant riffage intro’s. Nicely sustained. Very familiar sound. Memorable, uplifting energy, easily accessible pace and it just climbs higher, to the peak. Well-placed stop-start section, 3/4 in. Once again, echoing G’N’R’s ‘UYI’ era, with a few added individual twists. Just so assured and rightly so. Coming to another easy end. Similarities to Black Tide’s ‘Let Me’.

Impaler – Great riff sound opening, onto an equally impressive volley of drums. Powerful passion in the lyrics. A very visual track. Something of a classic anthem to this. Interweaving shades of light and dark. Drums gaining in power. Still handling those vocals confidently, adding a stronger bass presence and more pronounced scales, but keeping it melodic and throwing in a few more varied arrangements. A little more complex, structurally. Gorgeous bit of riff sustain, towards the end, fading out smoothly, on a beautifully metallic sound.

My Reflection – (Bonus) – Moving carefully and softly, onto a gorgeous velvet riff. Poignant lyrics. Into a cautiously paced refrain, compounded by the contemplative vocals. Now surrounding the delicacy of the lyrics, with a wall of comforting riffage. Demonstrating the many facets of KILJIN, moving, so fluidly, between so many moods, always so consistently and cohesively. There’s a lot of melodic and lyrical beauty in this ideally placed closer. Coming to a passionate end, with each segment synchronised.

Overall – An apt album title, ‘Master Of Illusion’ certainly proves that KILJIN have mastered their own sound. Featuring strong resemblances, throughout, to GNR’s ‘UYI’ era, perhaps the title’s no surprise either, but it unarguably cements KILJIN in the minds and memories of listeners, for all the right reasons. Proficient, professionally produced, stacked with fulsome melodies and seamless sound, throughout, ‘MOI’ is a must listen, for 2020.

9/10 *********

For fans of G’N’R’, Metallica, Black Tide, Free, Boston, White Wizzard, Steppenwolf, B.O.C, I.C.O.N.

Clean It Up Productions

Music available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple music, Deezer, Napster, Pandora, Heart Radio etc.

Posted September 13, 2020 by jennytate in Uncategorized

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