Music Review—ILL

Artist: Royal Deceit
Album: ILL

Danish metalcore four-piece Royal Deceit will be releasing their sophomore album ILL on August 11th, 2023.  The album will be available for streaming anywhere you get your music.

The band was formed in 2014, the members “hailing from the darkest corners of Jutland, Denmark.” They describe themselves as “a bastard child of Killswitch Engage and Letlive.”

The album consists of ten tracks: Ill; War Inside; Let Me Burn (featuring Hanging the Nihilist/Alexander Hall Kristensen); Undertow; Lowlife; Cursed Mind; Make Me Numb; This Hell; Self-Destruction; and Wolves.  Several of the songs have already been released for streaming, and four tracks have music videos on YouTube: Wolves, This Hell, Make Me Numb, and Undertow.

For those of us who may not be as well-versed in the various subgenres of heavy metal, “metalcore” (also known as metallic hardcore) originated in the 1980’s and incorporates elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk.  This type of genre is well known for its application of intense breakdowns, which are (apparently) perfect for moshing.  The instruments feature distorted double bass, drumming, guitar riffs, and the occasional use of blast beats.  The vocal techniques used in this type of music also range from clean falsettos to death growls.  Popular metalcore bands include Underoath, The Devil Wears Prada, As I Lay Dying, and Bullet For My Valentine.

I will preface my review by giving a huge trigger warning for the content of this album.  The lyrics contain significant and continuous references to extreme depression, suicide/suicidal ideation, and self-harm.  There are no visual references to any of these topics in the currently released music videos—the music videos are only comprised of shots of the band performing.

While the lyrics certainly cover some disturbing content, they are very powerful and well-written.  Anyone who has struggled with mental health in their lifetime will identify with the very accurate and vulnerable depiction of being consumed by their mental illness.

According to the band, the song “This Hell” is “a song purely about self-loathing and hatred.  It’s about that feeling you get when you freeze in place.  Instead of opening yourself up you shut out everything, while feeling trapped in some sort of hell.” With lyrics like: “I can’t see, I can’t hear/This void consumes my sanity/I don’t want to be here, but I deserve this shit/So don’t try to pull me out/Cause I will pull you down/Pull you down.”

Meanwhile, “Wolves” is about “depression and how it can hunt you down before you even realize that it has its grip and its teeth around your throat.  It expresses how a depression just completely consumes your mindset.” With lyrics like: “The teeth are sinking in/It’s tearing through my skin/Can’t take it anymore/The wolves are at the door.”

Overall, ILL is simply not my cup of tea.  However, Royal Deceit is very talented and fans of the metalcore genre should absolutely give ILL a listen.  You can check out Royal Deceit on Instagram and Facebook.