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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Pretty decent effort by this Italian band on their sophomore effort, and one that should please many prog metal fans.

Many will probably reject them offhand if listening to this album superficially though; as the attention catchers are grim, slightly gritty guitar riffs pretty similar to Dream Theater as they sounded on the Awake album. Having a vocalist with a powerful voice in the James LaBrie mould strengthens the first impression of this act being a carbon copy.

However, when paying closer attention to this album the similarities are mostly on the surface. The songs are generally more riff and guitar dominated affairs; with less quirky compositional structures but at times slightly more quirky riff patterns. The synths take more of a back seat in this band; used more as effect and generally less dominant than in Dream Theater's productions, and Davide Merletto has a more refined (or perhaps less bombastic) vocal delivery than James LaBrie.

The guitar sound do result in a general sound pretty close to the aforementioned band though; and should have a strong appeal to those into that act - and might also appeal to those that find LaBrie's vocals to be too bombastic but otherwise enjoys the music of Dream Theater.

Report this review (#210014)
Posted Friday, April 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars To tell you the truth, I didn't like this CD at first and it took me some time to begin to like this recording. Sadly, this happens more often lately.

The main problem with The Never Ending Illusion is that apart from couple of good songs and songs fragments the album contains a handful of mediocre compositions. Songs good enough in light of what's being shipped by musical industry lately but rather mediocre for a progressive band. Plus Davide Merletto's voice which is, well, something I've got used to expect from an Italian band but not necessarily something that's pleasant for my ear. Davide's vocals revolve around his higher voice registers and given that occasionally he sings in a James LaBrie manner but not at the same pitch, makes the final effect horrible. Furthermore some of his pieces lacks the energy and proper emotions that one--that is me-- would expect given the lyrics and instrumental background ("The Dancers").

The Dream Theater influences are also visible on the instrumental level, for example the main guitar riff in "Hopeless" or the second part of "Life" featuring calm vocal line (I admit, Davide performs well here) on top of slow drums and synth passage followed by Andrea Torretta's guitar picking up the melody where Davide left it. This is in turn one of those great moments of this CD that made me change my mind about this album. The same goes for--again--the second part of "Cold Embrace" introducing slow french horn solo (Stefano Lodo) followed by eerie guitar and Lucia La Rosa's voice duo later on, quite in the mood of Cryptic Vision's "Angel's Requiem". There is also one completely wonderful track on this album, title song "The Never Ending Illusion". This is the longest and most diverse song of the album introducing baroque- like passage giving the song frivolous but very amiable feeling. The song begins in heavy metal style, moves to a slow down featuring great voice and keyboard duo, goes through jazz-like riff and back to solid rock.

Unfortunately, the instrumental "Horizons in a Box" is a bit of a disappointment. It's not as much exciting as I would have expected from an instrumental track. The most irritating song of the album is--and I'm sorry to say that--"Mare di Stelle" (Sea of Stars), which suddenly stops just after it begun to spin up leaving only drums and horrible vocal laments.

To sum it up, I'd say that The Never Ending Illusion is an album rather for collectors or fans only. It have couple of interesting moments but the mediocrity of the remaining songs overwhelms and leaves pretty lousy impression. So sad.

Report this review (#211639)
Posted Saturday, April 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Waiting for something?

There's something I find so paradoxical in progressive music, and especially progressive music journalism, is that you want to support your genre so much, but sometimes you just can't. The world of progressive metal is one that has a lot of naysayers and a lot of supporters at the same time, and being one of the supporters it's rare that I find a band that's not easy to lend support to. Daedalus is on their second album with The Never Ending Illusion, and it's an album that is produced strongly with some ace playing and writing.

And yet, there's something missing.

Yes, as a journalist it's easy to sit on our high horses and call down whatever we feel like, and this is something that I've been accused of before, but hey, I call 'em as I see 'em. I must say that this band has a head and shoulders up on the last band I thrashed who was trying to make an entrance, but while the band has good technical chops and ability to write, they still need to sharpen their skills in a particular area, and I'm talking about the originality department. Let's cut all the trying to be nice and the pussyfooting short and cut to the chase here ? these guys sound exactly like Dream Theater if Dream Theater were to rewrite their material from Awake today. They tune their guitars low, have some chunky Petrucci like riffs and a keyboard that sounds like it was stolen from Kevin Moore. The singer tries a little to hard to sound like James LaBrie, because 9 times out of 10 you can't tell the two apart.

So in other words, the band kind of sounds like an uninspired Dream Theater, is there anything else to them than that? No, not really, there's a bunch of songs that, while impressive, don't make you want to come back for more because you've heard it all before, but done better and about 16 years ago. From Perfect Smile onwards there's very few moments where the band actually sounds like themselves, most of the time they're just cloning around. Waiting for the Dream is actually a pretty impressive opener, it's just a shame that the moment is so brief.

There is one savable song on here, and holy mother of hell! What a song! A Journey To Myself is a brilliant piece, and perhaps the only entire song where the band doesn't sound like they were creeping around DT's knees during the Systematic Chaos sessions collecting offcuts from the floor. It opens with a fun keyboard section before pushing full throttle into the main song. This is where everything comes together, and honestly, if the entire album had been like this is it would have been SO amazing! If you're going to buy this album then make sure you crank this song to maximum volume, because it certainly deserves it.

Once again, I wish I had more good things to say about this album, but for the majority it just really erks me, and I don't find much reason to put it on other than for A Journey To Myself. Still, if you're a big Daedalus fan or someone who really, really likes the Dream Theater sound and wants to hear this album then buy it for sure, because there's nothing wrong with it at it's core. My advise to the band would be to write more original sounding material, even something quirky with A Journey To Myself because that's really killer material, and stop trying to follow in the shoes of people who get enough criticism as it is. 2 stars out of 5.

Report this review (#224294)
Posted Friday, July 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Daedalus from Genoa - Italy is a progressive metal band with moderate succes to the public until now. With 3 albums rleased so far, the second offer from 2009 The never ending illusion is by far their best from the 3. From the opning tracck untill the last we have have clear similarity with kings DT, both in instrumnetal passages and in vocal department. Anyway if we can skip of over this sound the same with DT, we have here pretty decent to great pieces. Melodic lines, interludes between guitar and keyboards, good voice combined with in some parts quite complicated instrumental sections, to me this is a winning card. Some fascinating prog metal pieces here like . A Journey To Myself , Perfect smile, The dancers , the longest piece of the album the title track and the excellent instrumental Horizons In A Box are all winners to my ears, good musicianship and overall great sound. Some well known invited guests here like Roland Grapow from Masterplan and ex Helloween on guitar who is also responsable for mixing the album, the vocalist from La Maschera di Cera - Alessandro Corvaglia and the voice of power metal band Labyrinth - Roberto Tiranti. So, all in all I like this album and what he offers, I like the complexity of the piece, with some complicated twists but keeping the melodic lines on each one. 4 stars, definetly solid prog metal and their best album by far, even originality lacks here.
Report this review (#919218)
Posted Tuesday, February 26, 2013 | Review Permalink

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