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Illusion Suite - Final Hour CD (album) cover


Illusion Suite

Progressive Metal

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3 stars Nice progressive power metal album. Illusion Suite's style is best represent by band like Vanden Plas, Symphony X, Redemption and Kamelot. If you like them, you sure like Illusion Suite as well.

Atmospheric keyboard, virtuoso guitar, heavy drum 'n' bass and high pitch vocal, they have all musical requirements for a good prog power metal band.

I really want to write something else about the album but since the originality and personality is rather lacked, I have not much choice of word. One thing I do certain, however, is that they are really good at this and the album sound surprisingly well-- considering that this is a debut! I'll keep my watchful eyes on them and their next album.

Very good progressive power metal album. Recommend!

Report this review (#245537)
Posted Wednesday, October 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars A solid debut from Norwegian melodic progressive metal band, Illusion Suite--definitely worth a listen for any die-hard prog metal fan. In particular, the opening track ("The W.I.R.E.") is a shining example of what this band is capable of.

I originally picked this album up on a whim because the sticker on the front likened them to Pagan's Mind (one of my favorites) and Circus Maximus. Actually, it said: "Illusion Suite belong to the leaders of the Norwegian Prog Metal scene beside Pagan's Mind and Circus Maximus. "Final Hour" is a musical masterpiece without any weaknesses whatsoever." Well... I didn't find it to be that exactly, but I was not disappointed

The songs are definitely guitar-driven with a lot of riffing, multi-part vocals, substantial keyboard presence, and occasional power metal elements (e.g., double-bass pedal passages). However, extended song structure and exploration of a variety of musical elements definitely earn them the prog metal label. They also have one track (A Moment to Remember) that includes a guest female vocalist who performs a duet with Makatowicz. Unfortunately, the female vocal lines sound far too much like nü metal and don't really add much to the song.

One complaint about this album is that the songs are thematically disjoint. At first glance, it seems like there should be an overarching theme or concept connecting the tracks. However, when you dig deeper you find that such a connection doesn't exist. This is probably due to the fact that they have re-used a lot of earlier material from their earlier EPs/demos. "Final Hour" includes 2 tracks from 2004's "Demo One" and all 5 tracks (minus the intro) from 2005's "The Adventures of Arcan" EP. Which leaves only 3 new tracks on this album ("The W.I.R.E.", "A Moment to Remember", and "A Ghost from the Past"). However, this is a common problem on debut albums... so we can't hold too much against them.

Bottom line: this album is a solid 3 stars. Songs like "The W.I.R.E.", "A Ghost from the Past", and the 15 minute long "The Adventures of Arcan" show a lot of promise of good things to come. This is definitely a band worth keeping an eye on.

Report this review (#282963)
Posted Friday, May 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I suppose you could call this melodic Power-Metal.There certainly is a lot of double bass drumming and the drums are almost always upfont and center.These guys are from Norway and this is their first studio album released in 2009. I had a lot of trouble getting into this one.There's something about the sound here that is far from being clear. Fuzzy might be the word but it did have an affect on my listening experience.

"The W.I.R.E." builds quickly to a heavy mode.Vocals a minute in. Background synths with vocals and heavy outbursts. It's okay. A brief guitar solo before 4 minutes then a calm before it kicks back in. "Scarlet Skies" settles quickly with vocals.Some nice prominant bass around a minute then it kicks back in. "The Devil In Your Heart" is smoother but the drums are very upfront as usual. "Once We Are Here" features synths and a powerful sound as the vocals join in. I like the brief guitar solo a minute in. A calm 5 minutes in to end it. "A Moment To Remember" has these reserved vocals and a pastoral intro. It kicks in after a minute with fat bass.

"The Passage" has double bass drumming all over it with vocals standing out. I love the last 40 seconds or so. "Pandora's Box" opens with synths as guitar joins in tastefully.Vocals and a beat follow. Crunchy guitar before 2 minutes. A music box 3 1/2 minutes then it kicks back in. "The Adventures Of Arcan" has these heavy outbursts with background synths.Vocals 2 minutes in. A calm before 3 minutes with synths. Sampled words too before it kicks back in. Another calm before 7 1/2 minutes but it's brief.The tempo continues to shift. "A Ghost From The Past" is the closing track which is pretty straightforward and melodic.

A low 3 stars.

Report this review (#392354)
Posted Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | Review Permalink

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