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iLUMiNATiVE – ‘Shapeshifter’

by Thomas Bedward May 29, 2022

iLUMiNATiVE – ‘Shapeshifter’

For those in the know, iLUMiNATiVE is arguably one of the most promising up-and-coming talents in Australia right now. A musician, rapper, artist, and most recently, children’s author, iLUMiNATiVE has been a tireless and prolific force in the music industry for the last few years, releasing four impressive projects while becoming a powerful advocate for freedom, human rights, neurodiversity, Autism/Aspergers (ASD) and universal law. 

Previously, iLUMiNATiVE has made his name with releases like ‘Kundalini Rising’ and ‘The Awakening’, but today, it’s ‘Shapeshifter’ his new seven-track release that has us really excited. Initially led by singles ‘Natures Raw’, ‘No Means No’, and the thunderous title track, iLUMiNATiVE has already had fans and critics in tither over the new release, and now that it’s finally here, it’s sounding better than anyone could have hoped for.

A fierce release that exists between the worlds of contemporary rap and more exuberant nu-metal, ‘Shapeshifter’ more than lives up to its name, creating a distinct and expressive sound that perfectly reconciles with straightforward lyricism and stark, deliberate tones. Musically, it’s a bold and notably sonic transformation from his most of iLUMiNATiVE’s previous work, which makes it all the more surprising, empowering, and undeniable.

Opening with ‘Ascend Hell’, iLUMiNATiVE wastes no time in delivering his new sound, creating a harsh nu-metal and industrial sound that howls with tempered electronic tones and crashing guitar chords. Musically, it’s a heavy, unassailable sound, and it blends perfectly with his delivery, creating a hybrid sound that is affecting, immersive, and totally irresistible. Following the opening cut, iLUMiNATiVE treats us all to the familiar, though no less invigorating sounds of ‘Shapeshifter’ and ‘No Means No’, two powerful anthems that see him at the very top of his game.

From there, the pitch shifts cleverly to ‘This Is War’, a controlled anthem that finds it feet through light-stepping beats, layered cuts, and more of iLUMiNATiVE’s evocative flow. Capturing a mood with a dramatically orchestrated chorus, the cut hits with a simple refrain that never lets up. Along with the instrumentation, the track is a perfect example of iLUMiNATiVE’s hybrid style, particularly in the vocals, where his well-known flow mixes deliberately with more aggressive, almost caustic lines. It’s an inspired sound, one that echoes old school NDH sounds perfectly, offering a new and welcome side to the Australian hip-hop scene.

The last of the original tracks on the release, ‘Natures Raw’ sees iLUMiNATiVE once again fusing fuse singing, rap, and growl vocals with a fierce musical backing, laying waste to more linear soundscapes and creating something far more explosive. It’s a damning and brilliant cut, and it hits harder than ever, completing the circle and setting the stage for two final radio edits.

The start of something new and undeniable for iLUMiNATiVE, ‘Shapeshifter’ is a career-defining moment, one where he’s broken free from the past and found new creative ground. It’s a brilliant experience, and one that establishes iLUMiNATiVE as one of the most exciting and inventive artists in contemporary Australian music.

Score: 8.5/10

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