The Australian nu-metal rapper taps into his ‘higher self’ across the spiritual new album, ‘Endangered’.
A swift follow-up to his entrancing ‘Shapeshifter’ EP, the Australian’s 5th formal release constitutes an outspoken and self-aware album, whose intricate combination of hip-hop flows and inauspicious death growls provide the best possible outcome from a hip-hop/metal crossover.
Opening with the spiritual ‘Higher Self’, Iluminative introduces the concept of a multiple belief system. Fusing his introspective lyrics with sophisticated rhyme schemes and a symphonic instrumental, the Byron Bay rapper delivers some absorbing one-liners while seeking release from the “wrong version” of himself. A philosophy adopted throughout the duration of ‘Endangered’, Iluminative conveys these focused perspectives through visceral lyrics and diverse instrumentation. Adhering to similar themes on the subsequent ‘Duality’, the rapper contends with the resounding strings as he pursues a balance between alternate forms of himself. But not exclusively a representation of his higher and lower selves, the term ‘duality’ is symbolic of the music itself, with Iluminative identifying a potent equilibrium between aggressive rap flows, devastating Hard-Rock riffs, and some truly guttural vocal inflections.
The back-to-back tracks ‘Psychedelic’ and ‘Schizophrenia’ showcase the Australian’s musical diversity, both while exploring the effects of hallucinogenic drugs. Casting an adept, effortless flow over what feels like a Gorillaz’s ‘Feel Good Inc.’ inspired bass groove, Iluminative denotes the significance of existing in the presence, and how doing so has helped him with both “living and learning”. The latter of these tracks sees the intuitive musician tap into a more experimental soundscape, with the brisk percussion and frenetic synths inducing an immersive atmosphere which resembles the fierce nature of a 90s video-game soundtrack. Tying in with the chaotic nature of the track, the rapper opens up about his battles with mental health, as his playful, yet profound lyrics, delineate the harmful and reductive nature of placing labels on beliefs and behaviours which deviate from the societal norm.
Closing with the emphatic title track, ‘Endangered’, Iluminative ties the album together in exceptional form. Combining the rich and authoritative instrumentation with the wearied refrain of “we’re in danger”, this particular ‘trip’ concludes on a tense and somewhat ominous note. A cohesive spiritual experience which combines the assertiveness of hip-hop with the vigour of nu-metal, ‘Endangered’ is an overwhelming success from front-to-back