We missed Illuminate in 2000 at Doomsday which we kick ourselves for quite a bit (almost as much as missing Unheilig). At the time we were unacquainted with Johannes Berthold and his illuminary project. It was through meeting Alex, one of the guys doing Terminal Choice's web site, that we were introduced.

He told us how moving and inspirational the band was and how impacting lyrically and vocally the project could be. He sent us a small sample of their music later and we have been hunting down CD's since. The band has a fairly large discography dating back many years but the style has mainly remained unchanged.

Johannes is in charge of all music, composition and male lead vocals and then he has female vocalists: singing in duet fashion with him, doing lead vocals on select tracks, or providing back up support depending on the song.

I believe the female vocalist was Daniela Dietz from what I have found at their website. I don't know if she we will continue working with them and record material on the albums or not but she was really good live.

In addition, there was a keyboard player (Markus Nauli) and a live guitarist (Jörn Langenfeld). The lights and smoke lent good atmosphere to the already characteristic Haus Auensee stage.

I have seen pictures of some performances where he has used performance artists acting out dramatic and tragic scenes on stage (primarily for the trilogy of albums with the Renaissance style paintings for covers) but for the newer material it was just the two vocalists and two live musicians.

I think Illuminate have a pretty unique sound that varies slightly from song to song in that some are very beautiful, melodic songs and others, Johannes adds a slightly more evil or dark touch to his vocal delivery. This contrasts slightly more to the female vocals which I like quite a bit. I was impressed with the music live, it sounded very full and compelling but the vocals were especially captivating.

Both Johannes and the female singer did a great job and sounded really good live. It is very difficult to perform duet type pieces and be in harmony live but they succeeded and the sound at Haus Auensee deserve props as well, it was a really great show. Johannes also just came out with a solo album so it will be interesting how he decides to differ his styles between projects. I look forward to hearing more from him/them in the near future.

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