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As you're surely aware if you've looked at IO's front page lately, we are in a full-blown year-in-review tizzy this week. This part of December provides a useful break from processing new music, but it comes with its own stress factors.

This Illustrations song is apropos in two senses: it's a product of the year that was, and it gives me a break-within-a-break from the past several weeks of year-end reflection (and from editing said reflections). It comes from the band's debut album, In Vain, which briefly saw the light of day via Bandcamp back in July. Illustrations have since taken it off the site in preparation for a proper vinyl release in February of next year.

It's heartening that the band feel confident in their ability to sell enough copies of In Vain to justify a physical pressing, because it is a very good album. The first few riffs in "Heaven" suggest straight-ahead metallic hardcore of the HM-2 collector's variety. There's a big, strutting mosh groove; the guitar and bass seethe with mids; the vocalist sounds like he might not have a tongue. But then, about halfway into the tune, one of the guitarists unexpectedly takes off into delay-pedal melody-land. Good cop/bad cop dynamics are endemic to the meeting points between metal and hardcore, but Illustrations play them more subtly than most. Wise choice.

Illustrations are currently on tour in the Southwest; you can find their remaining dates below. I hope to see them here in New York soon.

— Doug Moore

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Remaining Illustrations tour dates:
December 18th - Albuquerque, NM @ The Cathouse w/ The Greenery
December 19th - Yuma, AZ @ Jefe's Venue w/ The Greenery
December 20th - Long Beach / LA, CA @ TBA
December 21st - Las Vegas, NV @ Shamansmith w/ They As In Them
December 22nd - Phoenix, AZ @ Wallstreet

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