band: The Chronicles of Israfel
album: A Trillion Lights, Tome II
record label: BOH Records
release: Out Now
The Chronicles of Israfel (TCoI) was formed in Quebec, Canada, circa 2009 in the ashes of a band’s fall. Mastermind Dominic Cifarelli, the founding member and guitarist of Pulse Ultra, was struggling to continue a life with music until he created a concept band to express and explore his mind. The debut release, Starborn, Tome I, was greatly received in the metal community – many underground journalists applauded the debut, while Metal Hammer gave it an 8/10. A Trillion Lights, Tome II, follows through with the articulation of a truly talented and learned musician.
Colors of the Energy Construct begins the concept album’s journey with a fantasy/folk composition of acoustics, mandolins, and a MultiOud. A stunning progression of a folk European feel, the lush chords strummed behind the melodies pulls it all together, hypnotising the listener before taking a plunge back to Earth. Goddamned‘s introductory riff harks back to the early-mid 00’s metal scene, rips into a Devin Townsend/Meshuggah riff, then tears into alternative metal that takes me back to high school. Cifarelli’s vocals are crystal clear and almost a blend of The Used and BFMV. The last thing you’d expect on top of this nostalgic hit is a solo tearing in respects to Vai and Abasi.
Blowing a hole in the wall with low 7-string shredding, I remember shifts into third gear, then up again with Nightmare. Cifarelli shows his strength in wielding a guitar as well as any of today’s in-demand guitarists, but also has an aptitude to write killer hooks and breaks, always turning the dial up every song and section along three hard-hitting tracks, each strong enough to be an opener. Spirit Carousel takes a break with a wonderful acoustic progression and a duo vocal performance. The female vocals are very similar to Amy Lee in delivery, and Cifarelli here shows his versatility as a vocalist.
Life I Know sees the band keep it catchy and comfortable, yet the interlude stands out with Periphery vibes, revealing the utter ease that Cifarelli moves between influences that span the last 20 years easily. In Ruin blends the progressive metal elements with the early-mid 00’s influence for the most part, which transitions into a TesseracT/Periphery/AAL climax in the end (their heaviest, most prog moment.) Nearing the conclusion of the album, the music switches between quiet and loud to prepare the end. Hatred in my Heart provides another softer and delicate piece, returning to a similar atmosphere as Spirit Carousel to bring the dynamic down, letting Violet Empress (Last Love) to re-establish the height.
Each filler was written for its own trajectory of compositional focus, reaching its peak at Greet the Sun. The title track A Trillion Lights struck gold; a fantastic track to introduce a mate to prog. Incendia bridges A Trillion Lights to the conclusion, The Turning of the Heavens, a 12-minute instrumental epic containing pieces of the previous songs in a frenetic structure.
TCoI is a guitar-buff’s album, yet easily accessible to fans of metal of the last 20 years.