Liliac is a hard rock/heavy metal family-band hailing from Los Angeles, California. There’s something incredibly special about them, besides their killer musical skills; these siblings are all between the ages of 12 and 21. You heard me correctly, the youngest member of Liliac is only 12 years old. At 12 years old, I was a fourth-grade mediocre recorder player. Now, I’m just a washed up clarinetist and mediocre guitar player, so not much has changed.
The lineup is as follows: Samuel, 21, is the lead guitarist; he makes playing look effortless, but don’t be fooled, the licks he’s capable of are just as complex as they sound. Next, we have Abigail, 20, the drummer. Her drumming is solid, dynamic and always on beat.
Lead vocalist, Melody, 18, might as well be the female version of Ronnie James Dio incarnate. The first time I heard her raspy vocals on their cover of Dio’s “Rainbow in the Dark” it was simply jaw dropping. Melody’s voice is a natural fit for singing metal and rock, especially because her singing is so powerful and driving.
Then we have Ethan, 13, and Justin, 12, the youngest members of the crew. Ethan’s bass playing is tight and easily discernible, and Justin’s keyboard skills are Tuomas Holopainen-worthy at his age.
Liliac kicked off its career playing on the Santa Monica pier every weekend for years, when it’s covers of famous rock and metal songs like “Enter Sandman” by Metallica went viral. The band lives up to its unique sound in a live-performance setting, something that not all artists can do.
Their first original EP, “Chain of Thorns,” was released in 2019 when Liliac embarked on its very first North American tour. I’m actually kind of ticked I didn’t discover them earlier, because they played some locations in New York and Massachusetts that I definitely could have gone to.
When I learned that the band was working on a full-length original album, I was beyond ecstatic. Liliac’s songs have always been in rotation on my own heavy metal show, “prkl RadioMetalli,” and I knew that as soon as the album dropped I’d have to write a review.
“Queen of Hearts” released on Oct. 30, 2020, consists of 13 tracks, culminating in 47 minutes of epic music. The songs feature driving guitar riffs as well as smooth and technical solos. Many of the intro licks are catchy as well with some of my favorite being “Wild One,” “Queen of Hearts” and “We Fight We Fall” to name a few. There’s also some really nifty piano riffs in “Crazy Nights” and “Dear Father” that complement the guitars on those tracks.
All the tracks are very musically consistent both in terms of instrumentals and song quality. The vocals are refined yet still possess a raw grit that will forever remind me of Dio. There are many female fronted metal bands out on the scene, but not all of them are particularly memorable; Melody undoubtedly falls into the category of memorable female vocalists.
“Queen of Hearts” feels more symphonic than “Chain of Thorns,” something I’m very happy about. Personally, I think it has to do with incorporating more keys riffs and classical instrumentation – “World Comes Down” is a perfect example. However, the classic metal qualities are 100% still there (check out “Vertigo”). Additionally, as with any metal band, there’s a characteristic ballad song – “Sail Away.” On one last note, pun very much intended, the guitar solos in “Dear Father” and “We Fight We Fall” are my absolute favorites.
Liliac is certainly blazing their way through the metal scene by pioneering their own unique “vamp metal” sound. These young musicians have incredible talent and technical skills, and I have no doubt that they’ll continue to be successful. I wholeheartedly recommend giving this album a listen.
Best songs: Crazy Nights, Queen of Hearts, Wild One