Lilitu - Memorial
Self Financed
Doom / Melodic Death
7 songs (50'00)
Release year: 2001
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

Lilitu have always been a small cult band led by founder H (for Henry) Derek Bonner. The origins of this group go all the way back to 1998 with the release of The Earth Gods and its primitive black metal slant. If anyone is at all familiar with the name of this band it is probably because of 2004's The Delores Lesion that was released through The End Records. The Delores Lesion was a fat slab of melodic death and modern heavy metal. Bluesy, classic sounding solos were interspersed between the harsh screams of Derek and the fast paced double bass driven drumming. But to go back to this album, Memorial, one finds that Lilitu used to be a band of epic proportions. The seven songs on this release are of a darkened broody demeanor. They ooze sorrow and pulsate with a deep underlying rage. To sum it up in a genre labeling fashion this would be a mix of doom, gothic, and black metal thrown into a big melodic melting pot of progressive rock.

What makes Memorial even more fascinating is that this is a completely self financed album. For having no label backing the production job is remarkably clear. Even the illustrations that adorn the sleeve are of top quality. There is nothing cheap about this. Memorial begins with an impressive number, the ten minute long I Can Not Be Saved. This is an epic track of Opethian proportions. Acoustic passages are sprinkled in to give off a folky feel and guest female vocals in the chorus provide a fantastic counterpoint to the screams of Derek. Speaking of Derek his vocals here have not been repeated since. He has two modes that are employed throughout Memorial, a low brooding bass tone and a high shrieking scream. The harsh vocals fit the music well but they tend to lose clarity in the higher registers. His ability to move around vocally are illustrated much better when he sings clean. A truly great song and one that could go toe to toe with other lenghty epics like Demon Of The Fall or Crimson. Joining Derek on the guitar front is his long time friend Jason Piona. A great example of the two's chemistry is the slick This Is Not An Exit. Beginning with a "Van Halen riff" it segues into calm phrase of clean guitar with a broken spirited questioning of life. The tempo of this one goes up and down throughout, following each calm moment is some mighty riffing that gets even more intense as the song progresses. Unwill is another nine minute long monster. The first half is comprised of slower mid tempo arrangements that are marred by some weak keyboards. At the midpoint though a break occurs and when distorted talked vocals kick in so do the guitars. The strength of the song picks up but is too late to be compared to their opening scorcher. Other highlights inlclude the pounding Unhallowed Be Thy Shame which is the simplest song on the album. A great hook and sweet drumming make it a winner.

Memorial is a perfect example of how an unsigned band releasing material that is mind boggling for its level. While not a perfect release by any means, this does have maturity and depth that is missing from many other albums that I've heard. Since Lilitu has recently been reactivated by Derek as a two piece I am curious as to what kind of music they will be making. Even if you have never heard of this band before, Memorial is a solid slice of authentic heavy metal that fans of Opeth, Insomnium, Moonspell, and Dark Tranquillity will enjoy.

Killing Songs :
I Can Not Be Saved, Unhalloed Be Thy Shame, Memorial, This Is Not An Exit
Ben quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Lilitu that we have reviewed:
Lilitu - The Delores Lesion reviewed by Alex and quoted 78 / 100
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