This music is like no other, and it should be, as the instruments are like no other. Drummer/metalsmith Steve Hubback hand forged all the gongs, cymbals, chimes, and bells played here, out of bronze, brass, steel, and nickel-silver. There is something exotic, yet familiar with their sounds.
The opening Winterland
features arpeggiated tuned metal sounds resembling the peeling of Sunday church bells. This gives way to more metallic timbres and crashing sounds, sounding not unlike a foundry. The Legend
starts off again with arpeggiated metals. Beautiful harp-like sounds are layered on top, and then more bell-like sounds on top of that. The music is hypnotic and serene. The Alchemist
keeps the mood going with gongs and tuned clangs
accenting the gentle melody. The formula here is fairly simple, with arpeggiated metal percussion layered with various gongs and chimes, but the effect never becomes boring, as the variety of sounds and timbres keeps changing.Storm and Distant Flares
is a collage of drums and metallic sounds that echo the songs title. Things come and go, like thunder rumbling in the distance, then crashing right next to you. Then they calm down as a series of chimes enter, as if blowing in the wind of the storms passing, giving way to clear skies and rainbows. The title track, Illuminator
, features blown metal horns of Steve’s construction. These add contrast to the shorter percussive sounds by their long sounding notes. One can picture Viking warriors blowing them out over the sea from the cliff tops. Bowed string
type sounds enter and wash over the jangling chimes and bells, like a fog rolling into shore. This keeps building until you are engulfed in sound, and then not so much fades away, as evaporates into the air.
This is music that begs repeated listenings, as the material is rich in imagery and sonic scope. Recommended to all imaginative listeners.