The Illness – The Monument to Our Guilded Age

The Illness come from San Francisco and by their words these guys bring a new sound to the progressive rock world. Their music can easily be assigned as progressive, judging by the range of subgenres San Franciscans cover. The best description of what can be heard on A Monument to Our Guilded Age is compiled by picking up the tags from the band’s Bandcamp profile. These are: Deftones, Mastodon, System of a Down, The Mars Volta and Tool, with a slight addition of Alice in Chains, here and there.

Comprised of 12 songs (although their Bandcamp says there are 13), The Illness breaks all possible conventions of what’s being considered progressive rock/metal. Their variant of progressive is slightly different, the complexity in the songs structure compiled together with the energy which blasts off from any single tone is the best example of how “new“ progressive music sounds. Or at least, how it should.

There is no hesitation in their sound to not employ “second hand“ subgenres such as punk or metalcore which fall beyond grungy and new metal cross-rhythms wrapped  up with whole lot of progressive rock and metal cannonballs (Eyes in the WalsFire EscapeMisanthropy). Aside that, to not keep the things overpushed, in some parts of the album the band sweeps into calmer waters with an emphasized sense of melody (SlowpokeKrakatoaDownside Outright), and based on what was previously said this helps the album become a well balanced record in terms of its structure.

The strongest ardour comes in the shape of the vocalist Josh Viers, whose vocal skills fall far beyond the already excellent album. The Illness has their own Mike Patton, considering what this dude is able to provide in short intervals, coming all the way from screams to soothing voices. I wouldn’t be surprised hearing this guy singing the chansons in some French restaurant around SF.

If you think that Pink Floyd, Genesis and Yes told everything about progressive rock and progressive music in general back in the heydays, then you are absolutely wrong. In that case, The Illness’ A Monument to Our Guilded Age is a direct hit to that same progressive rock, a hit that awakes and inflames the fight. With the closing Victory, The Illness wins the twelve-round match quite convincingly.


01. Lengua de la Morte
02. Eyes in the Walls
03.  The Monument to Our Guilded Age
04. Fire Escape
05. Slowpoke
06. Krakatoa
07. Misanthropy
08. Turn Your Head
09. Take a Number
10. Defenestration
11. Downside Outright
12. Victory


* Chris Thalmann
* Joshua Viers
* Carlos Villarreal
* Matthew Zipkin
* Cyrus Wong-Weissman


Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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