Galway’s Ilenkus returned this month with their first release since 2014’s EP The Crossing. Hunger sees the quintet moving from the sludgy Neurosis-leaning sound of their previous work into a considerably more frenetic, uninhibited direction. This has done them plenty of favours, the tracks on this 15 minute offering being a step up both in terms of technicality but also in its immediate appeal. While it is by no means a re-invention of the wheel, it is a triumphant chunk of energy that deserves to stand front-and-centre within its realm.
Written as a single piece, Hunger‘s four sections flow into one another with hurricane ferocity. From the offset of ‘Hunny Bunny’ with its rattling snares and screeching guitars that will make fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan jump for joy, the swerve to the more “extreme” and mathy end of metal is deliciously apparent. Vocalist Chris Brennan has upped the game considerably on this release, his visceral scream carrying the EP across the chaos with similarities to be heard with Converge‘s Jacob Bannon or even Deafheaven‘s George Clarke.
‘Exhume’ is a particularly abrasive beast but excels with its soaring atmospheric guitars reminiscent of Cork’s Altar of Plagues. ‘The Romantic’ starts off with an early Deftones type vocal jaunt before leading into a restless crescendo that gives into the EP’s last frenzied outburst.
Hunger might leave you out of breath, it might make you kick over a potted plant on the street. Before you know it you’ll have listened to it four times in a row and you’ll probably be growling. It’s a vicious, hefty release from one of Ireland’s strongest hardcore and metal acts. Eoin Murray