Picking up a pair of drumsticks at the age of eight, he formed a band with his brothers the same year and by the age of eleven he already emerged on Woodstock gaining entry into the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest musician to ever play on a Woodstock stage. He was given the title “Best Undiscovered Drummer Under the Age of 18” by Modern Drummer Magazine and also performed at the 2000 Modern Drummer Festival at the age of twelve. He has since filled in for numerous drummers in famous bands such as Lostprophets, Nine Inch Nails, Paramore and has recently become a permanent member of Angels and Airwaves.
These are all accomplishments of the young Ilan Rubin. But he’s more than a great drummer. Despite having participated in all this projects, he still found the time to venture into making a solo album and even recording all of the instruments and vocals by himself. This album is actually his second attempt and it’s called Speaking Through The White Noise.
Despite his young age this is a serious and mature album, a shout against media manipulation. It can be heard that he’s a fan of classic, blues-influenced rock, but with a more modern feel with some minor industrial influences along the way. Ilan is a capable vocalist, his voice is not too different from that of Liam Gallagher, but he uses it differently, in a much more exciting manner that bares more resemblance to a young Mathew Bellamy before he got overwhelmed by over-the-top operatic singing (although in all fairness he never reaches such great heights). There are other elements that bring to mind Muse; apart from the delicate and all too many piano passages that could’ve easily have been taken directly of Muse’s Sunburn, there is a certain sense of grandiose and glory, which is apparent that Speaking Through The White Noise tries to achieve after the intro track. It’s this same sound that marks and for the most part plagues Angels and Airwaves’s releases. Just like Apocalypse Please on Muse’s classic album Absolution sets tone for something great to come, a fore coming of a storm if I may, an apocalypse; so does Clairaudience, but unfortunately the storm never arrives or at least far too late. Rubin’s drumming, which is otherwise never really in question, combined with the over the top production creates a feeling of tension that makes the album increasingly exhausting. You see, Rubin knows how to be mellow, but he’s never subtle and he doesn’t let the music breathe the way he should have, so the album crumbles under its own weight. Almost anyway, towards the end Rubin redeems himself by giving us For The Taking, a powerful track we’ve been waiting for all along and concluding the album with the beautifully piano-laden The Great Decline, which is given the space to really shine through.
Speaking Through The White Noise doesn’t really achieve what it sets out to accomplish, but there are no bad tracks to be found here, the sole fact I’m comparing this to Absolution has to be proof enough of that, and it’s after all just another stepping stone for a young man who undoubtedly has many great accomplishments ahead of him.