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Circle of Illusion - Jeremias - Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms CD (album) cover

JEREMIAS - FORESHADOW OF FORGOTTEN REALMS

Circle of Illusion

 

Progressive Metal

4.06 | 105 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Second Life Syndrome
5 stars It's just my luck to find an amazing album right AFTER the new year begins. I've been pondering this debut album from Circle of Illusion, "Jeremias - Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms", for a little while now. I honestly can't think of anything else quite like it. You see, this is a rock opera of sorts. It's a rather interesting and confusing story, but I believe that is the point. The story seems to deal with muddled human emotions. This comes across strongly in the music, too.

The part where Circle of Illusion really shines is their completely unique take on progressive metal. Sure, there's plenty of metal here. The guitars are dark and heavy, the drums are acrobatic and incredibly diverse, and the bass is very dynamic. However, on top of this metal framework, the band adds a huge helping of funk. Yes, sometimes it sounds like 70s funk, and sometimes it sounds more like soul or jazz fusion. All the same, however, this adds a whole new dimension to the music. But wait, there's more! For another layer, Circle of Illusion adds in mesmerizing violin and incredible, towering cinematic orchestrations. This is no small-time production: This is a spectacle of epic proportions.

Now, have you ever heard such a thing? Have you ever heard blazing metal mixed with soundtrack-worthy orchestral arrangements mixed with a funky groove or beat? Circle of Illusion makes this sound so incredibly natural. I couldn't believe it. Entire passages have a 70s funk groove, but the metal and the orchestra keep up easily. This is no boring rehash of every metal cliche you've ever heard. This is fresh and absolutely inviting. As I told my wife, I always seem to get in a great mood as soon as this album starts playing. It's exciting stuff.

So, let's go back to the musicians for a second. The level of difficulty here is immense. That doesn't automatically make it good, but this band manages to inject passion and love into their craft. "Acrobatic" describes more than the drums on this album. Every instrument performs fireworks and also delicate parts, too. We get the whole spectrum here. Now, I must mention the vocalists. There are three vocalists here, though you'll notice a single male voice and a single female voice more often than not. Usually on these types of albums, the vocals are lackluster. On "Jeremias", we get silky smooth male vox that remind me of Damian Wilson at times, and then powerful female vocals that are up there with the likes of Simone Simons. That's quite a compliment coming from me. These singers perform admirably, and they change their tones to match whatever type of music is playing. This is a class act, my friends.

So, move over Ayreon. In 2013, you were bested by new blood. This album is in every way more exciting, more original, and even more interesting than Ayreon's latest. With hints of Haken here and there, Circle of Illusion manages to wow me time after time. From the incredible arrangements of "Overture" to the absolutely stunning, funky "The Beginning" to the epic encounter, "New Age"; this album is something truly new and special. And, just when you think an eighty minute album will be too much, the album ends off with "Nightmare", a soaring and dark song that is freaky and irresistible at the same time. If you love progressive music of any caliber, do yourself a favor and get your hands on a copy of this riveting record.

Second Life Syndrome | 5/5 |

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