Thursday, March 30, 2017


"Texas-based Illustrations have been quietly molding themselves into one of the most exciting bands in extreme music."

From San Antonio, Texas, Illustrations presents sophomore album Acts of God – a giant leap forward in this young band's career.

To be released by the band on May 26th, Acts of God sees Illustrations add a bold palette of colors to the punishing blackened hardcore established on its 2014 debut, In Vain. Synths, field recordings, saxophones, crooned vocals, whispers, and soaring guitars bring a whole new dimension to the music, evoking the vast landscapes of the band's Texas home, and elevating the album to the next echelon.

Frontman Matt King names influences that span from At the Gates to Cocteau Twins, and this range is well represented on Acts of God. With aggression and serenity working together to create striking contrasts, the album is more than a collection of songs, it is one glorious arc. 

Make no mistake, the heaviness of In Vain is still in effect – the sound The Needle Drop referred to as "an onslaught of caustic death metal growls, bonecrushing guitar riffs, and unrelenting percussion" and Consequence of Sound likened to "the heaviness of Entombedhas only been sharpened. Not unlike the writing of longtime Texan Cormac McCarthy, it is the marriage of unspeakable violence and desolate beauty that makes Acts of God so compelling.

Stream "War Have Mercy," featuring sax by Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Corrections House), here:

Befitting an album titled Acts of God, a Biblical streak runs through King's lyrics, with references to God, The Devil, Paradise, and souls; his words seem to point toward a sense of purity in absolute anguish. From the closer, "Eternal Plight": "To live a lie, to die alone / Take my soul / In the end of all things, I chose to suffer / Alone, where I belong / All for nothing / Nothing for it all."

Acts of God was recorded by four engineers in four locations: Chuck Macak at Electrowerks Recoding in Chicago, Aaron Bastinelli at Big Orange Recordings in Austin, Justin Douglas at Shine Studios in Austin, and Illustrations guitarist Nicodemus Gonzalez at Public Profile in San Antonio. The album was mixed by Gonzalez and mastered by Brad Boatright (Nails, Full of Hell).

1) This is the Dark Era
2) Pestilence
3) Iron Rain
4) Libation
5) A Blessing from Below
6) Harrowed End
7) Chains of Reality
8) The Killing Field
9) War Have Mercy
10) A Vacant Stare
11) Last Communion
12) Eternal Plight

Matt King - vocals
Nicodemus Gonzalez - guitar
Cesar Bernal - guitar
Carlos Zamora - bass
James Beveridge - drums

Acts of God, self-released, 2017
Iron Rain 7", Head2Wall Records, 2016
In Vain, self-released, 2014

Photo by Matt King

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