1995 (Inside Out)
“Children” the second CD of Iluvatar from America, has a dazzlingly beautiful cover, one of the most beautiful of all time, as far as I am concerned. Personally, I absolutely love this kind of magical realistic artwork. Due to the great imagination of the image, the music often gets something of that atmosphere as well. The cover of “Children” is rather spiritual to say the least.
Iluvatar is not unfamiliar to the music scene. However, if you don’t know the band yet: the Americans make tasty neo-prog that sounds like a variant of the old Marillion and bears a lot of resemblance to Galahad and other contemporaries such as IQ and Pendragon. The work of Rush from the 80s must also have provided a lot of inspiration.
The Jon Anderson-esque vocals of singer Glenn McLaughlin and the rousing guitar work of Dennis Mullin are the most attractive features of the band sound. On “Children” you can enjoy both to the max. Given Away and Late Of Conscience have fine guitar solos and in the ballad Eye Next To Glass McLaughlin sings excellent. He has a special voice that sounds both beautiful and endearing throughout the album.
In addition to a number of modern synthesizers, keyboardist Jim Rezek makes a lot of use of oldies such as the Hammond organ and the Mellotron. His playing is mostly accompanying but in a number of songs he profiles himself with smooth solos. There are Late Of Conscience, Your Darkest Hour and especially the beautiful closing song The Final Stroke. I think Iluvatar surpasses itself in this epic final track, what a brilliant song, for fifteen minutes there is really nothing wrong with this. The galloping piano keeps it all together. It delivers great moments. Another beautiful passage is when the bass is joined by the electric guitar and then by the organ. When the drums start a monumental rhythm, it gives a kind of satisfaction. I’ve been going crazy about this song for years.
The thumbs also go up when it comes to production, streamlined, polished and especially in the base very solid. This requires a great bass player. The new player Dean Morekas is with his taste and skill an asset to Iluvatar (a kind of Geddy Lee).
All in all, “Children” is a beautiful CD. Iluvatar will not receive a medal for originality, but the commitment and energy with which they give shape to their songs at least commands respect. The beautiful package is not just there, it contains an album that is at least as beautiful.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022