Late last year Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson launched his independent record label EMP Label Group. The upstart company has been making quite the name for itself ever since its launch, signing notable up and coming bands such as Another Lost Year, Apollo Under Fire and Even The Dead Love A Parade to its roster just to name a few. All three bands have proven with their latest records to be some of the label’s leading acts. Early this past June, another new member of the EMP roster stepped up and proved itself to be one more of the label’s leading bands when it released its new album. The band in question is Cage9 and its new album goes by the title of Illuminator. It is a fitting title for the album. That is because after working so hard for more than a decade, putting out some six albums and selling more than 25,000 copies of its records, Iluminator could be the album that finally sets the spotlight on Cage9 and breaks the band into the mainstream realm. That is due to the mix of the album’s radio-ready musical arrangements and its equally well-thought out lyrical content from beginning to end. The album’s opener ‘Open The Sky’ is just one of the songs included in the record that proves this but definitely not the only one. ‘Everything You Love Will Someday Die,’ one of the album’s singles, is another example of what makes Illuminator a bright, shining spot in the band’s life. The same can be said of the album’s title track, which is saved for a spot very late in the album’s run. All three songs are key inclusions in Cage9’s new record. When they are set alongside the rest of the album’s songs, the album in whole proves to be one of the brightest spots in Cage9’s history.
Cage9’s recently released album Illuminator is an aptly titled record. That is because the album is one of the brightest spots in the band’s history. It could be the album that, given the right support, could finally put the mainstream rock realm’s spotlight on the band. That is due to the combination of the album’s radio ready musical arrangements and its equally well thought out lyrical content. Both elements will keep listeners engaged from the beginning to the end of the fifty-six minute record. That is obvious right off the top with the album’s opener ‘Open The Sky.’ The song’s musical arrangement is driven largely through the dual guitar attack of front man/guitarist Evan Rodaniche and guitarist Matt Borowski. The melodic hard rock arrangement is complemented expertly by Leslie Wyatt’s low end and drummer Brian Sumwalt’s time keeping. The collective work of the band’s members results in an arrangement that is instantly infectious and ripe for the picking by any mainstream rock radio programmer. Of course, it is only one part of what makes the song stand out in the record’s overall body. The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement. In regards to its lyrical content, it will keep listeners’ ears just as easily as the song’s musical arrangement. That is because of just how well thought out it is. Rodaniche sings here, “You can call me an alien/In a superstitious land/But I’m flipping the pages, rattling cages/In the age of man/Staring out into the night/I know we’re living in black and white.” He comes across as saying to someone, “you can call me different all you want, but I’m here and I’m doing what I do. I don’t care what you think.” When he says, “Staring out into the night/I know we’re living in black and white” is followed by a statement that, without lyrics to which to refer, is a little difficult to understand. But the first part of that statement is easy enough to understand. He is saying this world is set in its ways, but I don’t care.” That is, at least, this critic’s interpretation of these lines. He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “We’re so afraid to be alone/We want to know what can’t be known/Are we just an anomaly…stuck in the Twilight Zone.” These lines will leave listeners thinking and talking just as much as the lines in the song’s lead verse. That is because of the metaphorical language used here. The seemingly contemplative verse works with the song’s lead verse and its chorus to say people need to “open the sky and let the stars in” or rather, open up their horizons and let in all of life’s possibilities. That is, again, just this critic’s own interpretation. As always, it should not be taken as musical gospel. It could very well be a completely incorrect interpretation. Hopefully not, though. Regardless, the sheer depth of the song’s lyrical content proves in the end to be another reason that this song stands out in Cage9’s new album. When the song’s musical content and coupled with that well thought out lyrical content, the two elements make the song a solid opening statement from the band on its latest offering and a clear example of what makes Illuminator such a bright spot for the band.
‘Open The Sky’ is a solid opener for Illuminator and a clear example of what makes this record such a bright spot for the band. That is because its musical content is just as infectious as anything else out there across the mainstream rock realm today. The song’s deeply contemplative lyrical content couples with that infectious musical content to make the song in whole one of the album’s best compositions just as much as it is a solid opener for the album. It is just one of the songs that serves to show what makes Illuminator such a bright spot for the band, too. ‘Everything You Love Will SomeDay Die’ is another of the album’s best compositions. Rodaniche explained in an interview some months ago that he wrote the song a long time ago after having lost his father to cancer. The song’s musical arrangement expertly conveys the pained emotions that Rodaniche must have felt in losing his father beginning with the power of the song’s opening measures. The minor chords that are used in those trodding measures lead to a powerful explosion of musical emotion, which takes listeners straight through to the end of the song. It is just as expertly complemented by the song’s lyrical content, which makes the song’s picture even richer. Rodaniche sings here, “We’re built to suffer/We’re built to question every breath we take/We’re like a cancer without a cure/And we don’t’ know just what we’re fighting for/But everything you wish for/Everything you make/Everything that’s perfect slowly fades away/So open up your sleepy eyes/Cause everything you love will someday die.” Yes, it is a seemingly nihilistic statement. There’s no getting around that. But Rodaniche does eventually go on to remind listeners that even in the bleakest, most painful moments, it is possible to keep going. He does this as he sings, “I know everything’s a circle/Everything is made/Everything seems to always end the same/But don’t give up and hang your head in sorrow/It comes around again.” This is a wonderful reminder that Rodaniche offers to listeners and a great way to lyrically cap off the song even as the band’s members reprise the song’s chorus from here and adds, There’s no time to close your eyes.” They are saying life happens. People come and go. We have to go on in life. It is such a small statement but it speaks such loud volumes, again showing in its own way why the song’s lyrical content is just as important as its musical arrangement. When both elements are coupled together they show why ‘Everyday You Love Will Someday Die’ is one more of Illuminator’s key compositions. In turn, it is yet another example of what makes Illuminator its own bright spot for Cage9. It still is not the last song that could be cited in making this statement. The song’s title track is one more example of what makes Illuminator shine so brightly.
‘Everything You Love Will Someday Die’ and ‘Open The Sky’ are both key inclusions in Cage9’s new album Illuminator. That is due to the combination of the songs’ musical arrangements and their equally well thought out lyrical content. They are not the only songs that show just how brightly this record shines. The album’s title track stands out just as much as those songs for the same reason. In regards to its musical arrangement, the song is a solid slab of hard rock that any true hard rock purist will appreciate. It mixes the band’s melodic hard rock sound in its chorus with shorter but still heavy riffs in its verses, resulting in a work that is just as ready to be used on radio stations nationwide as any other song featured in the body of Illuminator. It is just one part of what makes this song stand out. The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note here as the song’s musical arrangement. The song’s lyrical content seems to paint a picture of the bright and dark spots in life, from all of the lows to all of the highs. Its seemingly introspective approach will keep listeners just as engaged as the duality in the song’s musical arrangement. When both elements are set against one another, the end result is yet another high point for this album that shows even more what makes Illuminator such a bright spot for Cage9. When it is set alongside the album’s opener and ‘Everything You Love Will Someday Die,’ the trio show clearly why this album could be the record that shifts the mainstream rock realm’s light to Cage9. When the album’s other offerings are taken into consideration with these songs, the end production is a record that is one of Cage9’s most brightly shining musical offerings.
Cage9’s latest album Illuminator is one of the brightest spots in the band’s already extensive history to date. That is because from the album’s musically intense and deeply lyrical opener to its equally stirring single ‘Everything You Love Will Someday Die’ to its equally deep and powerful title track and beyond, this record is a solid offering. It is a record that is both a bright spot for the band and for a mainstream industry that is in need of another big name. It isn’t the band’s first album by any means. But it is definitely among the band’s best offerings to date. It could be the album that puts that mainstream spotlight on the band and finally takes the band to the next level. Illuminator is available now and can be directly ordered online via the band’s official website. More information on Illuminator is available online along with the bands latest news at:
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