Out today is this stunning new release from UK prog metal band IHLO — Union.
Take a long look at that fantastic album cover. With high quality artwork like that, clearly the band values both attention to detail, as well as the art of the album as a coherent artistic whole.
The album has a notably excellent sound to it. Phil Monro did an amazing job on guitars, production, and mix. Andy Robison contributes the top-notch vocals and also the distinctive sound design. Clark McMenemy lays a solid foundation with crisp drum production.
The first five tracks draw you into a unique sonic universe. Surprisingly, the album takes a sharp turn upwards to undeniable prog excellence in its final two tracks, which are the very best on the album. The first five take time to grow on you, but the last two tracks are knockouts from the get-go.
“Parhelion” (7:26) is arguably the standout track, and if you need convincing that this album is worth your time and effort, this is your go-to track. Then again, the closing ambient prog epic of “Coalescence” (15:14) is a fine summation of this band’s widest capabilities. If you are the patient sort, you can enter through that long and winding prog path.
The promise displayed on this album is evident. If the track listing corresponds to the historical order of recording, then the last two tracks hint strongly that the best from IHLO is still to come. We look forward to future releases, while enjoying this delight that we already have at hand.