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Illuminated Minerva

Enigma Adamantine

Review by Gary Hill

This new set is an instrumental one. That said, there are voices, but they are spoken ones, coming from sound bites of interviews and such. There is a theme to this about a conspiracy theory involving extraterrestrials. The music really does land pretty firmly in the middle ground between heavy metal and progressive rock. I can see people arguing with it being placed under prog, but I don't think it fits right under metal, either. I think the experimental nature along with sections that are decidedly progressive, mean it has to go where I put it. This isn't for everyone, but it is compelling stuff. There may only be five songs here, but they are not short tunes. The briefest one runs over five minutes, and the closer is over thirteen-minutes long.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
The Heartbeat of Creation
Screaming out with metal fury, this is fast paced and prog oriented in the timing and changes. It shifts to more of a fierce metal grind from there. After driving forward like that, a spoken sound bit comes over the top. The track shifts into more of a melodic progressive rock sound to it. The cut gets into more grinding metallic zones from there, and the bass really shines for a little while as that change happens. This moves out into some fierce thrash meets prog jamming from there that leans toward Dream Theater territory. The spoken part, gone for a short time, returns. This song keeps evolving and growing. It's an ever changing tapestry that merges metal and progressive rock in intriguing ways. The spoken section on this is a crazy treatise on conspiracy theories involving aliens and bankers. Somehow the barely controlled craziness of the music seems almost an allegory for the calm way the speaker talks about such weirdness. There are really some fiery, crazed moments in the music, particularly after that voice is gone for a while. .
Sightings
With an alert signal starting it, we get a vintage news item about the Roswell incident to bring things into being. The music comes in from there with some killer jamming that really gives the bass a chance to shine. The piece is ever changing and dramatic. While it still showcases both the metal and prog edges, the prog ones seem to be more in control. This even leans toward fusion at times. It includes more spoken sound bites. Those are talking about Roswell. Later we get voices that seem to be talking about different UFO sightings. There seem to be voices on top of voices. The music gets intense and heavy. .
Abductions
This opens with a spoken voice about a UFO abduction. The music fires out with a fierce metallic edge from there. This is edgy, metallic and very cool. It has more of the sound-bites built into it. Around the half-way point, it shifts to a killer melodic prog movement. A heavier part serves as a piece of punctuation as this moves onward. The mellower stuff gets intensified from there with a bit of a fusion element added to the vibe. The cut continues evolving, though, getting into some faster paced and harder rocking sounds from there. It drops to atmospherics as it approaches the end with the spoken voice over the top of that.
Wilder (Mother Goddess)
An interview brings this cut into being. From there we get a fierce metallic jam. This thing is screaming hot and has some great thrash meets prog changes. It's intense. As you might guess the spoken part is heard throughout. A cool, more purely prog movement is heard as it approaches the halfway point of the number. It makes its way back to the heavier, more metallic zones as it continues. The cut just keeps shifting and changing and really gets seriously thrashy at times.
Illuminatus Majoris
Again, the number starts with a spoken sound-bite. A cool dramatic prog metal ballad approach brings the cut upward from there. This is decidedly progressive rock oriented. You know you've hit conspiracy theory gold when the Rothschild's and the Illuminati are in league with aliens, as this speaker suggests. The music drives onward with a much more melodic and proggy sound that just keeps gradually growing and changing. As the speaker talks about war, the music turns decidedly metallic. The cut continues to grow, getting back into the melodic zones later. Again around the nine-and-a-half-minute mark the cut screams out into killer metallic jamming. The cut shifts to more melodic zones again further down the road. It ends with an ambient movement serving as the backdrop for the final spoken words.
 
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