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Circle of Illusion

Progressive Metal

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Circle of Illusion Jeremias - Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms album cover
4.01 | 161 ratings | 14 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Overture (3:56)
2. The Beginning (7:05)
3. The Run (9:46)
4. The Memory Returns (6:06)
5. The Party (2:16)
6. Closing Doors (6:06)
7. New Age (8:09)
8. Continuum (9:52)
9. Sarah's Dream (3:59)
10. 13th Floor (6:26)
11. Nightmare (16:18)

Total Time 79:59

Line-up / Musicians

- Gerald Peter / keyboards, orchestrations
- Rupert Träxler / lead & rhythm guitars
- Aaron Thier / drums
- Stephan Först / bass
- Taris Brown / vocals
- Cara Cole / vocals
- Elga Shafran / vocals
- Ulrike Müller / violin

Releases information

CD Generation Prog Records - GENPRCD005 (2013, Germany)

Digital album

Thanks to rdtprog for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy CIRCLE OF ILLUSION Jeremias - Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms Music

CIRCLE OF ILLUSION Jeremias - Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms ratings distribution

(161 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

CIRCLE OF ILLUSION Jeremias - Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
5 stars Looking at the cover of this new CD, I was expecting another power symphonic metal album with female vocals, and listening to the music, i was surprised to hear the complexity and the splendor of the music. Most of the songs starts like a movie soundtrack and the beginning of the CD let you perplexed when you hear a disco groove from the old days, but it's just a short intrusion before the progressive metal take over. There is plenty of symphonic and classical arrangements, here, but the vocals are also a real treat on this CD. The female vocals and male vocals are interchanging each others to give you a rock opera feel. There is some vocal part taken from Pain of Salvation book. Some jazz piano lines contrast the heavy riffs guitar parts. The female vocals are more present further in the CD. We have many tempo changes throughout this long 80 minutes epic CD, and many influences from some big names in the progressive rock world : (Haken, Dream Theater and Neil Morse). A very impressive CD that may have take a lot of hours to do, because of the complexity of the music and arrangements, but the most important is that it's something very enjoyable to hear for progressive rock fans.
Review by lucas
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Circle Of Illusion is a 5-piece band including a violinist, who hired three vocalists and added orchestrations to give life to an opera-metal that they named 'Jeremias - Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms'.

The overture starts off like the soundtrack to a Harry Potter movie, then reeds, strings and vibraphone enter, together with the rock instrumentation. It segues into the second track with male vocals in an eerie mood, followed by disco-funk rhythms, soon replaced by jazz-funk with prominent funky bass, some R'n'B female vocals and a dancing beat. Music then becomes heavier, reminiscent of Pain Of Salvation, interspersed with two jazzy interludes (drums with violin in the first interlude, piano in the second). After The second jazz interlude, the dancing R'n'B-like beat returns before some disco-metal reminiscent of Stolen Babies settles, soon followed by some syncopated instrumental metal craziness. Processed male vocals give an end to the metal craziness, then the Pain Of Salvation-like funky prog-metal concludes the track and some threatening orchestration transitions to the next track. Track 3 starts with some bizarre keyboards and straightforward metal attacks. Female vocals alternate with male ones in a maelstrom of prog- metal, funk-metal and jazz-metal, interspersed with quieter layers of jazz-funk/disco background. Towards the 2/3 of the track, the music comes with some Meshuggah go/stop syncopated pattern. It is soon followed by piano-lead disco-jazz interlude. The song continues with some straightforward melodic metal, before harsh syncopated prog-metal closes the track. Track 4 has a Kashmir-like opening, with drums and violins leading the party. Orchestrations that could come right from an animated fairytale movie follow with a keyboard-generated choir. Harsh and echoing male vocals then take the lead, with a metal background. They are soon followed by heavenly female vocals. Loungey music can be heard afterwards, with male vocals punctuated by a female choir, then an instrumental jazz-funk interlude with some distant rhodes. Female vocals replace male ones in uptempo jazz-pop music soon evolving in a straightforward metal with alternance of male and female vocals. Orchestra then underlines its comeback, before the harsh and echoing male vocals of the beginning return briefly. The track ends in an epic way with alternance of passionate male and female vocals. As its title suggets, track 5 is a track you can dance to. It is disco-funk with R'n'B-like female vocals. Track 6 starts in a melancholic way with a weeping violin. Female vocals that follow are not optimistic either. This song alternates between slow tempo and more upbeat tempo, with female vocals only. A brief instrumental bridge comes breaking the alternance of slow-paced sung moments and fast-paced ones towards the 2/3 of the song. Track 7 has some enchanting soundtrack overture, soon followed by aerial guitar and something wicked coming with threatening strings and harsh guitars. This is in introduction to some funky prog-metal with a firework of drum chops. Female vocals and distant male vocals calm down the atmosphere. Some aquatic/hypnotic keyboards follow with romantic strings and a pronounced presence of the orchestra, before the song continues in optimistic funk/prog-metal direction. Just for the sake of eclectism, some techno music is interspersed before the song continues with some funk-metal ā la Faith No More including harsh rap-like vocals. Female vocals then predominate until the end of the song, at times in an operatic way. The music is then very reminiscent of Dream Theater, with its drum and guitar acrobatics. Track 8 starts with acoustic guitar and cascading keyboard layers, followed by echoing guitar layers (not far from David Torn's style) and prog-metal with strong presence of orchestra. Females vocals are interspersed with passionate male vocals. The instrumental passages that punctuate the sung passages are very reminiscent of Liquid Tension Experiment with their broad range of keyboard sounds, as if it were a wink to Jordan Rudess. Some Zappa influence might be noted in the use of vibraphone. This song has many rhythm changes, and harp-like keyboards conclude it, another wink to Jordan Rudess. Track 9 starts as a pop song, with gentle piano layers reminiscent of Chopin. It is female-fronted and evolves towards vocal jazz. It has an epic rock end. Track 10 is funky prog-metal ā la Pain of Salvation. It has also a Stolen Babies flavour with a mix of straightforward metal and dance music in the middle and at the end of the song. Overall, the atmosphere is threatening and heavy, like a dark cloud ready to pour rain on earth. The piano alternates between classical era touches and contemporary era touches. Track 11 is the "long one". A sad guitar opens the song, with some weird floating keyboards. Violin and orchestra then give it a strong feel of movie soundtrack. Passionate vocals follow with aerial guitar. The rock band plays together with obsessing violin. A recitation comes, with female vocals, that were processed to match the title of the song ("nightmare"). Then some sequenced "liquid" keyboards give an eerie feel to the song. The pace goes faster, with female vocals. A short trip-hop passage is thrown in, before the female vocals return, this time with a slower pace of the music. A short samba-like funk-rock passage comes unexpectedly, with male vocals, then on to power/prog-metal territories with alternance of female and male vocals. The pace accelerates then decelerates before knowing no boundaries in the time changes, assisted by some flashy and pyrotechnic keyboard work as well as some tasty orchestrations. Aerial guitar joins the party a bit later, before the same passionate vocals as at the start and recitation (this time provided by male vocalist) come to close the song in a symmetrical way.

The album is long (almost 80 mn), but given its broad range of influences (funk-rock, disco, pop, jazz, classical music) and its frequent time and mood changes, it keeps the listener captivated. Influences include Pain Of Slavation, the russian band Mechanical Poet (which, like Circle Of Illusion, blends prog-metal with classical orchestrations), Stolen Babies, Meshuggah, Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Ayreon, Frank Zappa, OSTs for sagas like Harry Potter or The Lord Of The Rings, and for a lesser part disco-funk, trip-hop, pop and vocal jazz.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars This is an album that is going to have two quite different responses. There are those who are going to rave about it (I was approached by someone who told me that I had to listen to this as these guys were the new Haken!), and there are others that will feel that in many ways it is just too clever for its' own good. Guess which camp I fall into? This is an album that I have actually enjoyed less the more I have played it, and I am sure that this is because instead of seeing this rock opera as an incredible piece of art I instead see it as an opportunity missed. That the three singers are wonderful vocalists, that the songs are incredibly structured and well played is never in doubt, but there are just too many forms and styles of music being brought in that I just don't like.

There are times when this crosses into funk and disco, and that annoying music you used to get in the cinema when they were about to play the adverts. It can come across as really cheesy 70's pap, but there are other times when the jaw just hits the table when listening to the speed and interplay between all those involved. These guys can really blast it out, in perfect unison, and when they soar then this is just stunning. But, and it is a fairly big but, they just bring in all these other elements that for me really drop the album instead of lifting it. Highly arranged and incredibly well played, this should be a 5* review, but it isn't. I realise that I am probably in a minority of one, but then that's nothing unusual. I would love to rate this more highly as there is so much promise within it, but there are also huge chunks where the Vegas lounge is just too much for me.

Review by Warthur
3 stars A completely crazed neo-prog/retro-prog/progressive symphonic metal/avant-groove concept album with occasional funk disco moments, this debut from Circle of Illusion offers more genres than you'd find in an entire record shop, often within the bounds of a single song. Gerald Peter has assembled a compelling unit here comprising not just a finely honed band but also three (!) vocalists - Taris Brown, whose gentle delivery reminds me a little of Roine Stolt, and the powerful Cara Cole and Elga Shafran, each of whom takes the role of a different character in the story. The lyrics and story may come across a little cheesy - not to mention bizarre and over the top - but subtlety and restraint clearly aren't the order of the day here.

The end result is a fun, playful debut which reminds me of what might happen if Disco Volante-era Mr Bungle ended up listening to a lot of early Marillion and Pendragon at its best points. However, it doesn't quite stand up to repeated listens as well as it could, and with the passage of time I found myself drawn back to it less and less. It has much of the usual issues of bands who want to come across as "progger than prog", in that the technical flashiness ends up a little empty and coherent songwriting, storytelling and the development of emotional mood and atmosphere end up suffering just because someone wanted to add a quirky little bit here or there.

Review by 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.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Austrian band CIRCLE OF ILLUSION was officially formed in 2011, as a vehicle for the creative and conceptual ideas of composer and keyboardist Gerald Peter, a band that could bring life to his compositions and further develop them in execution as well. They were signed to the fledgling German label Generation Prog Records in 2013 for the release of their debut album "Jeremias: Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms".

Circle Of Illusion's debut album is an innovative, genre defying creation that will challenge your perceptions about music, about different styles of music, and how different or not different kinds of music actually are ? or not. The main foundation is progressive metal, with soundtrack, score music and disco thrown in as some of many additional flavors, placed within a conceptual context of the rock opera variety. A very well made album it is, as long as you have the open-minded curiosity needed to have your musical tastes challenged and a wide enough taste in music to take it all in. Highly recommended as far as I'm concerned, as long as you think you can fit that very specific description.

Review by Progulator
4 stars Lesson learned: never judge an album by its cover. When I saw the album cover for Jeremias (Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms) by the Austrian symphonic outfit Circle of Illusion, I automatically assumed "low quality female fronted gothic metal." I was most certainly wrong. Circle of Illusion offers a disc full (literally) of powerful and interesting music, taking many familiar styles and blending them in marvelous ways. Hearing progressive metal of the caliber of Symphony X is one thing, having the film score inspired symphonic arrangements be of the highest quality is another, but mixing it all in with a heavy dose of disco funk and jazz was utterly surprising and brought a huge grin to my face time after time. Sure, there are other bands who have done symphonic prog metal with a variety of singers, and even bands who have mixed metal with jazz (particularly fusion), but I would be hard pressed to think of many that have done it on this level without feeling typically generic. Circle of Illusions offers interesting music that is attention grabbing, epic, bombastic, technical, and walks that line between serious and fun in the best of ways. And if that isn't enough, the epic 16 minute closer is a journey and a gem. You don't want to miss it.
Review by Sagichim
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wow!!

When thinking about prog rock coming out of Austria you're thinking Eela Craig, Kyrie Eleison and maybe one or two more, it was never a prog rock homebase, so I can safely say that this is the best album I've heard coming out from there. But not only that, I also think it's one of the best albums released in 2013 and that is saying a lot. Jeremias is filled to the brim with 80 minutes of top notch prog metal and production that can easily set the bar for clever, precise, tight and ambitious composing. It would be quite difficult at first getting your head around this grand piece of work but with a worthwhile dedication after a few more listenings it's easy to get addicted to the ideas, the melodies and those first class riffs. I usually get tired with 80 minutes albums since they are not so coherent and contains some moments that are weaker than others, it's hard maintaining the same high level of ideas and keeping the album flowing without falling into a few traps. But here thanks to Gerald Peter's persistence and years of hard work, crafting every second until it's complete, this album is near by flawless.

I'm not sure how many people are getting excited by the term rock opera, I know it evokes titles such as Hair or Jesus christ superstar but although Jeremais is a prog rock opera it is miles away from those albums. It's much closer to other famous prog metal concept albums such as Scenes From A Memory, Operation Mindcrime, and Ayreon albums, but I must say this is bigger, richer and more complex. The strong side of this album and I don't think anyone can appeal on that is the high level of arrangements which is exemplary by any standard, it isn't like anything I've ever came across with really. Just check out the album's opener Overture and you'll have a good idea of what's to come. The songs are not divided between them but flow from one to the next as the concept evolves, some ideas come back as you would expect from a concept album but they are done differently without over grinding the motifs.

The album offers a delicious cocktail of prime prog metal with orchestral instruments (don't think of a full orchestra sound, it's mainly violins and horns), so what you get is mainly symphonic prog metal with the addition of funk, jazz and dare I say even a slight disco feel for the final touch, reminding me of Pain Of Salavation and of course Dream Theater. This is challenging prog metal packed with carefully constructed ideas full of life and drama, every riff every drum roll is in its place exactly in the right amount, guitars are not all the time riffing there's a good balance between heavy and calmer moments, and overall the music is progressive and constantly going forward.

Fans of the genre will lick their fingers of this sole release of Circle Of Illusion, this impressive work has shown how much talent Gerald Peter has in making this puzzle fit together so well, presenting such a high level of creativity and a knack for songwriting and orchestration. Too bad we haven't heard of this guy in so many years, 4 big stars and just shy of the fifth star.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Pretty impressive for a debut album and you have all ingredients for a successful progressive metal album - good playing, ambitious compositions and high quality vocals. We have symphonic, heavy metal and modern rock even funky grooves which goes beyond a normal progressive metal would accept. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2485687) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, December 17, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars FABULOUS...FANTASTIC...SENSATIONAL!!!!It's impossible to start my review about this stunning album without usiong this adjectives ,because this masterpiece is simply unbelieveble !I didn't had such a great musical revelation since the killer TOWERS OF AVARICE by ZERO HOUR or THE EDGE by ETERNITY ... (read more)

Report this review (#1378908) | Posted by Ovidiu | Saturday, March 7, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This Austrian arrangement, Circle Of Illusion's only production, 'Jeremias- Foreshadow Of Forgotten Realms' is a fantastical relief of musical wizardry. Something different, bold, embellishing more layers of technical genre than you can wave a stick at. Presented was an enthralling collaboration ... (read more)

Report this review (#1370953) | Posted by Approgximation | Saturday, February 21, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Fantastic release - deserves both titles: 1) Best Austrian prog of all time; 2) One of 2013's top prog albums. The level of arrangements is simply outstanding. The vocal parts and orchestral stuff is exemplary. A great album to buy and enjoy again and again - I really found it uber-fun, could ... (read more)

Report this review (#1110128) | Posted by uribreitman | Wednesday, January 8, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is ambitious all right. A mish-mash of some sort of insane Broadway musical, metal, cheesy club music of the 70s (disco, soul, funk), a smorgasbord of keyboards ranging from the dreamy to Rick Wakeman-ish to electronic, multiple impressive vocalists. Not something you would expect from Aust ... (read more)

Report this review (#1092196) | Posted by Progrussia | Thursday, December 19, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Most of the time, I really have a distaste for symphonic progressive rock. But I was really floored by this release by Circle of Illusion. I was really impressed by the range of sounds they manage to capture on this album. The album has a very progressive rock/metal feel to the entire thin ... (read more)

Report this review (#1059061) | Posted by jammindude | Saturday, October 12, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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