Canadian thrashers Illyrian are old school. I don’t just mean because of their album cover, or the fact they used to be called something else. No, they’re old school because their classic thrash gimmick is watertight and vintage. Formerly known as Hellborn Death Engines, Illyrian’s new record ‘Round 2: Fight! is a moshpit destroying collection of killer riffage! You can find it self released on their Bandcamp page.
Opener ‘Walking in Sunshine’ is a chunky, riff led monster with some killer hooks, and a solo that is a tapping thing of beauty. Catchy as hell, dense thrashing is the order of the day for Illyrian, with a crisp modern take on some old school thrashing riffs. You can feel loads of Bay Area legends sneaking into each song, from the Testament speed of ‘Mindbender’, to the infectious technicalities of ‘Wings of Freedom’. But Illyrian also have that modern crunch that was first redelivered to thrash by the likes of Unearth and the Haunted. That plays well with the classic melodies and soloing that flows throughout tracks like ‘Sound of the Serpent Siren’.
There are plenty of stand out moments here, from the killer riffs spraying from my favourite track ‘Zeta Reticulan’, to the progressive riffs spiralling through ‘Technodrome’. Illyrian have ditched the goofball stylings of their past to become a mature and musically thrilling proposition. ‘Round 2: Fight!’ is a record made up of instant pit pleasers, and you can guarantee that this band in the live arena will be taking names and kicking ass. Excellent stuff!