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Delusion Squared - The Final Delusion CD (album) cover


Delusion Squared


Crossover Prog

3.76 | 60 ratings

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4 stars The third Delusion Squared album, `The Final Delusion', will hopefully be anything but that, as the French three piece offer their most fulfilling, varied and exciting album to date and have so much more promise to build on from here! The band, led by the distinctive and charmingly accented Lorraine Young (singing in her best English so far), alongside Steven Francis (guitars, drums) and Emmanuel de Saint Méen (bass, keyboards), offer a mix of contrasting acoustic and electric passages, punchy and sleek Rush-style heavy prog, Porcupine Tree-like emotional acoustic flavours, the sombre gloom of Paatos and a dash of introspective indie pop, with the emphasis on melodic vocal driven songs and only carefully tightly framed instrumental moments. The band will likely appeal most to fans of the more modern takes on progressive music, as there's very little vintage or retro influenced sounds throughout.

The ideas behind this concept work are certainly a lot to dwell on and ponder. Mind-control, gene experimentation, torture, modern warfare and mental manipulation all feature, with frequently dreamy and surreal lyrics that move backwards and forwards through different time frames. Even with little moments of bridging interludes of conversations between and during tracks, following the story can be quite confusing, and the CD booklet only offers help in the form of some cryptic leaked (and I'm assuming mock?!) government documents. I hope I've been able to grasp the basics of the concept of the album, otherwise the guys and gal of Delusion Squared are welcome to contact me and set the record straight!

Immediate attention must go to Lorraine's shrieking gasp over a battery of storming drums that opens the first proper track `Diaspora', it instantly makes you sit up and take notice, wondering `What are we getting into here?!', as well as showing off the confidence of the band. Nice soaring chorus on that one too! Lorraine also supplies plentiful delicate acoustic guitar throughout the disc, full of warmth in even the most melancholic moments. There are nice varied electric guitar approaches and reflective piano throughout `Reason of State', beautiful use of feedback-drenched electric wailing and distorted synth on `Devil Inside'. `Finally Free' sees the acoustic and electric guitars racing alongside each other in a late Porcupine Tree manner, some hazy ambience throughout the ethereal synths of `Last Day of Sun', and the mix of lilting acoustic guitar and orchestration on `By The Lake (Dying)' is impossibly heartfelt. Thick snarling metal tears through `Oblivion for My Sin'. You also get driving instrumentals like album opener `The Same River Thrice', full of heavy riffs, constant powerful drumbeats and pulsing Neo prog influenced synths, `Persistence of Vision' instead builds atmosphere by way of Post-rock chiming guitars and thick murky bass. `Deus in Machina' closes the album with soaring orchestration, victorious guitar soloing and a rising vocal that displays defiant human spirit and true heart.

Without a doubt, thirteen tracks is probably far too many, and several of the pieces have quite a similar sound. However, once you become more familiar with the whole album, it has a great flow and you won't notice the lengthy running time so much. Some will find Lorraine's thick accent difficult, but I think she has real character and great spirit. Fans of the later Porcupine Tree albums and modern female fronted prog bands should look into Delusion Squared right away, and in some ways, the group are a much deeper and more complex version of acts such as Touchstone and The Reasoning, maybe even a gutsier, less vintage based Magenta. `The Final Delusion' is a triumph for melodic vocal driven modern prog that places emotion, melody and subtlety over flashy extended bloated soloing, and the trio should be immensely proud of their efforts here.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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