ILLUDIUM release second video single ‘Sempervirens’ taken from the forthcoming new album “Ash of the Womb”

Sometimes, it snows in summer. ILLUDIUM have released the haunting video‘Sempervirens’ (“Evergreen”) as the second single taken from their forthcoming album“Ash of the Womb”, which is scheduled for release on October 15, 2021.

The Californian dark dreamgaze act headed by singer and guitarist Shantel Amundson have previously revealed the cover arttracklist, and further details of their new full-length, which may all be viewed below

The frostbitten clip ‘Sempervirens’ is available for immediate publication via the following link:

ILLUDIUM comment: “The song ‘Sempervirens’ represents the salient connection between human and non-human worlds”, states frontwoman Shantel Amundson. “It was written during the devastating wildfires that California has endured these last couple of years, and is an attempt at transmuting some feelings of horror and sadness into ideas of reverence and refuge, which these coastal giants (sequoia sempervirens) embody so well. Ash and light fell from the sky, and amidst all this fear and heartbreak, there was a gleaming newness in the emergence of life all around. Growing up in the Redwoods, these forests were always a haven, ever verdant and brimming with sentient beings. We are not removed from our environment, as we are so defined as humans. Nor is nature rendered mute and revoked of agency, as many systems have led us to believe. It is through our actions with other-than humans and one another that we are woven into continuity, regenerating the world and all of its inter-relationships. This song seeks to imagine a different sort of flourishing in this world beyond the human in which we live, and is a harbinger of hope during these apocalyptic times.”

1. Aster
2. Sempervirens
3. Soma Sema
4. Ātopa
5. Madrigal
6. Where Death and Dreams Do Manifest

“Ash of the Womb”, the sophomore full-length from California’s ILLUDIUM was born in the fiery pandemonium of the burning season of 2020 when huge tracts of the sunshine state went up in flames, while skies glowed orange at night. The lands were scorched, forests and houses turned to ash, lives were lost and what remained was covered in black soot. During this hard time, mastermind, guitarist, and vocalist Shantel Amundson experienced profound changes in her life as well, which amount to a personal ordeal of fire. The many layers of dark and harsh metal shading on this album can easily be seen as a residue from those events.

Yet, this is far from all that has influenced “Ash of the Womb”. There are still those sun-drenched textures and honey-rich passages from the band’s beginning on “Septem” (2016) that reflect the beautiful landscapes of the Pacific Coast, the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz mountains, and the blue ocean among which Shantel grew up and to which she returns time again in search of inspiration for ILLUDIUM.

The singer’s musical inspiration stems from a wide variety of sources, of which some may have left an echo in her current work, while others have clearly not. As any self-respecting artist, Shantel prefers her music to be seen on its own terms, but she is willing to give some insights into musicians that have shaped her formative years such as SMASHING PUMPKINS, ISIS, KATE BUSH, and COCTEAU TWINS among many others. The difficulty to pin her resulting music down, is indicated by previous critical attempts to categorise Shantel’s debut “Septem” that range from the somewhat long shot “progressive stoner doom” to the wide label of post-rock with comparisons to previous works by ALCEST and LANTLÔS for example.

While “Ash of the Womb” clearly builds on and expands “Septem”, the new album intensifies the darker and heavier elements, which results in a more dynamic and holistic musical experience. ILLUDIUM have most definitely found a new balance with their dreamy and sophisticated side. Yet there is also continuity from the previous album for example in the shape of collaborator Gregory Wesenfeld, whose emotive drumming provides a steady drive to the songs again. After the recording, former DEAFHEAVEN and WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM drummer Trevor Deschryver has been announced to replace Gregory for all future endeavors of ILLUDIUM.

Taking their name from a concept coined by Mircae Eliade, ILLUDIUM can be seen as the musical embodiment of the religious philosopher’s idea of “illud tempus” (“that time”), which is referring to the mythical sacred time of the first creation of this world. With a degree in cultural anthropology and art history, it is hardly surprising that Shantel’s lyrics revolve around mystical and metaphysical ideas.

In ILLUDIUM‘s words: “Walking through the fire and building a healing centre from ashes is the overall message and vision of this album”, explains Shantel. “The lyrics deal mostly with the human body and its vulnerability through the transitions of life. They examine the natural cycles of birth, growth, death, and rebirth. Death within the womb and life within the tomb.”

With “Ash of the Womb”, ILLUDIUM have created an equally heavier, darker and yet more honey-combed vision of their musical exploration that gently asks for extra attention and diligent listening before revealing its true depths.

Release date: October 15, 2021

Recording line-up
Shantel Amundson – vocals, guitars, synthesizer
Gregory Wesenfeld – drums
Josef Hossain-Kay – bass

Current line-up
Shantel Amundson – vocals, guitars, synthesizer
Trevor Deschryver – drums
Josef Hossain-Kay – bass

Style: Dark dreamgaze

Recording and mix with Sammy Fielding at Ancient Owl Audio Recording Studio
Mastering by Jack Shirley at The Atomic Garden Recording Studios


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