Illusions

SKU: ARISE059
Label:
Arise Records
Category:
Power Metal
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I dug their first album but this one may even be better! Great melodic power metal with plenty of prog elements (LOVE those keyboards). Nacho Ruiz reminds of a ballsier Andre Matos and Mamen Castano (the band's female singer) backs him adding a fuller sound to the vocals. Both singers have great range. I don't understand why these guys aren't better known. For 5 bucks you are crazy if you pass on this one - it's worth 3 times the price. Highly recommended.

Product Review

Tue, 2010-06-08 09:54
Rate: 
0
I actually took a chance and bought this on a whim not knowing what to expect. I liked the idea of a band combining a female vocalist with a male vocalist and the male not growling! From that aspect I really like the album. What I dislike the most about the album is the lack of catchy hooks and choruses. The music is crunchy at times and beautiful at times, with a good amount of time changes. In conclusion this will appeal to most people that like keyboard driven, prog-metal, but not so much so to the melodic rock fan.
Tue, 2010-06-08 09:54
Rate: 
0
I cannot believe I bought this CD at a bargain price, cause it has landed on my all-time top-ten list of prog-metal albums. Keyboards are not over the top. Male & female vocals absolutely compliment each other. Heavy riffs, but very melodic vocals. Nothing bores me about this album. This is a must buy.
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Product Review

Tue, 2010-06-08 09:54
Rate: 
0
I actually took a chance and bought this on a whim not knowing what to expect. I liked the idea of a band combining a female vocalist with a male vocalist and the male not growling! From that aspect I really like the album. What I dislike the most about the album is the lack of catchy hooks and choruses. The music is crunchy at times and beautiful at times, with a good amount of time changes. In conclusion this will appeal to most people that like keyboard driven, prog-metal, but not so much so to the melodic rock fan.
Tue, 2010-06-08 09:54
Rate: 
0
I cannot believe I bought this CD at a bargain price, cause it has landed on my all-time top-ten list of prog-metal albums. Keyboards are not over the top. Male & female vocals absolutely compliment each other. Heavy riffs, but very melodic vocals. Nothing bores me about this album. This is a must buy.
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  • Follow up to 2011's Disobey once again finds this Scottish band clinging to the British neoprog sound that helped define the genre.  To their credit there is a bit more playing than most of their brethren.  I particularly like the ornate keyboard work.  Nothing wrong with some old school prog sounds to remind us how it should be done.
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  • "There are some bands that have been around for years that seemingly just go through the motions of putting out material not worthy of their own back catalog. Then there are bands like Rage that take the sum of its 29 years (26 as Rage, 3 as Avenger) and continually put out the highest quality pure metal. Rage has seen many stylistic changes in those years from the power metal origins of “Reign of Fear” to the ultra thrashy “Perfect Man” back to the power metal on “Trapped” and “The Missing Link” to the total classical/metal collaboration of “Lingua Mortis” (which came three years before Metallica even thought of “S & M”), then to the metal opera of “Ghosts” and now to power/thrash/groove of “21” (and all the albums in between). The one constant through it all is that Rage has been one of the mainstays of metal and the one band any metal fan can always count on to release albums that get better with age.It takes just one pass to hook the listener into the Rage web (or “strings on a….”) of thrash, power, groove and melody on this album, which is one of the best the band has ever released. “21” represents not only the “blackjack” theme that the intro and title track suggest, but it is the exact number of full length releases the band unleashed since the 1984 Avenger release “Prayers of Steel.”One thing is certain, Rage is at its most deadly as a three piece, which saw the band’s finest releases from 1988-1993 and again from 2001-present. In 2001, with the release of “Welcome to the Other Side,” Rage unleashed one of its biggest assets, guitar god Victor Smolski. Smolski’s combination of crushing riffs, blistering solos, and unleavened groove are some of the best in metal and simply made the band that much better. However, there would be no Rage if not for bassist/vocalist/founding member Pete “Peavy” Wagner. His vocals are as unmistakable as his proficient bass playing (check out “Eternally”) added to his already larger than life presence.On “21” the band has never sounded heavier and tighter. The listener is treated to an entree of soaring melody with thick gravy like groove over a bed of punishing riffs. From top to bottom, there is no discernible flaw. “Twenty One” sets the crushing tone along with “Forever Dead” and “Feel My Pain” until you get to the album’s biggest surprise “Serial Killer.” Here is one thing I haven’t heard on a Rage album...Peavy doing near death growls on the verses following a woman’s loud shriek at the onset, which is silhouetted with riff upon riff and melody upon melody. It’s the wildest track the band has ever written. “Psycho Terror” follows it up showing the younger bands exactly how to properly choke a riff, lay on the groove, and make it an album favorite.“Death Romantic” takes on the sore topic of love in a way only Rage can. “Destiny” comes very close to the sound of “Perfect Man.” “Black And White” and “Concrete Wall” fill the gaps with the signature Rage style. “Eternally” takes what would be an “average” power ballad for any other band and “Rage-ifies” it with chunky riffs and unprecedented melody.Rage has been a model of consistency and power in a German scene that the group helped define. “21” is another in a stellar catalog of albums that span three decades and should be celebrated as one of the band’s finest." - Metal Underground
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  • "“Appalachian Court is a new, all acoustic album from Odin’s Court, firmly rooted in acoustic rock. It has its own, unique, well blended sound featuring aspects of various genres such as rock, progressive, folk, country, bluegrass, reggae, jazz, and more.” The album contains completely rearranged versions of tracks from three previous Odin's Court albums: Driven by Fate, Deathanity and Human Life In Motion. For the first time, the band is including covers on the release."
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  • "SILENT VOICES is a relatively unknown band hailing from Finland, nevertheless they had already published many recommended albums such as their debut in 2002 “Chapters Of Tragedy” or 2006’s “Building Up The Apathy” or the great “Infernal” (2004), the line-up team is also composed by ex-members of REQUIEM and also share some musicians with SONATA ARCTICA like Henrik Klingenberg as keyboardist and bass player Pasi Kauppinen (WINTERBORN / KLINGENBERG SYNDROME). It’s been a while since the last SILENT VOICES album was out in the streets, it had occurred a lot of things in their lives, lots of turmoils, hassles -you name it-, the band was on deep winter sleep and they lost their vocalist, the great but rather inconstant Michael Henneken (SENTIMENT / ADAMANTRA) was gone for good.While they were in quest of searching for a new perfect singer they opted for the trick that consist to have different famous vocalists at the same time in order to increase their creativity and the band’s polyvalence, it’s also a good marketing move but the risk is to weakened the impact, to have a dilution of the personality of the music with each guest singer's specificity but finally the idea works pretty well, I believe.Now the new permanent singer for SILENT VOICES is known as Teemu Koskela from WINTERBORN’s fame (their 2008’s release “Farewell To Saints” is warmly recommended). But the album contains, beside the impressive vocals of Mr. Koskela in the very first song (which is a killer), nothing more than four guest vocalists such as:Mats Leven (ex-TREAT / ex-SWEDISH EROTICA / ex-ABSTRACT ALGEBRA / ex-RISING FORCE / ex-SOUTHPAW / ex-THERION / ex-ADAGIO / ex-AT VANCE / ex-FATAL FORCE / ex-SABBTAIL / DOGFACE), Michael Vescera (ex-LOUDNESS / OBSESSION / ex-RISING FORCE / ex-FATAL FORCE / ex-DR SIN / ex-REIGN OF TERROR / ex-KILLING MACHINE / WARRION / ANIMETAL USA / SAFE HEAVEN / MVP), Tony Kakko (SONATA ARCTICA / ex-NOTHERN KINGS) and Mike DiMeo (PHENOMENA / THE LIZARDS / ex-RIOT / ex-ILLIUM / ex-MASTERPLAN).Swedish citizen Mats Leven is absolutely stunning within the songs “No Turning Back” & with “Burning Shine”, his vivid interpretations, his deep implication and his voice leaves no hope for another contender, his signature vocalizing are clearly unbeatable, he is the king. Those songs are very well composed , maybe a little more direct than before but with still some intriguing arrangements and great orchestrations plus as always some acrobatic playing.Mike Vescera from USA delivers also a very solid performance, within the third track that is quite reminiscent of the SILENT VOICES old style, with an amazing display of virtuosity in the solo section, that’s funny that they opted for the titled “Reign Of Terror” with Vescera singing on it. Tony Kakko is the weakest of all the hired vocalist, the track is quite good but don’t fit with the thin voice of the SONATA ARCTICA’s mastermind, I believe that Teemu Koskela could do a better job with that particular one.“Black Water” is an instrumental number that allows to each member to shine a little more, a fine demonstration of agility. New York City very own Mike DiMeo is doing a fine rendition of this song called “Through My Prison Walls” but I still think that Teemu is able to sing even better, the long epic cut itself  is a good mix of past and fresh Prog Metal , with some amazing musical parts and many twists and turns.Only little disappointment is the length of the disc itself, after seven years in the making I had wished for one more song with Teemu, a remake of an old song could have been a good ide. Maybe this is their best album, I don’t know only time will tell, but it surely can compete with their great back-catalogue, easily. " - Metal Temple
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  • "This is a really impressive release. It blew up my mind from the first time I listened to it, and still gets priority in my music listening sessions. What we've got here is Rage at their best, playing it loud & proud in the 90s, which was possibly the worst decade for metal, even though some bands like Running wild, Blind Guardian or Metal Church were still hanging on... in the balance!The album starts kicking ass from the first moment, with heavy and powerful guitars, and goes like that until the end of the release. POWER!!! That’s what this album transmits. Generally mid-paced songs predominate this album, this is not as fast as their 80s work. It keeps the musical line that started with "Trapped" but, it's generally darker, slower and begins the musical style developed during the next albums (we could say it’s the borderline). It also has some atmospheric details, just some hints here and there, that would be more frequent of their "XIII" or "Ghosts" works. Nevertheless, there are also fast songs (hey, it's Rage) that scream "Speed Metal rules, and if you don't like it dieeeeeeeeeeeeeee", like "Under Control", which starts fast and raw as hell and never slows down. "Higher than the Sky" is also a fast one (by the standards of this album), but more melodic than the previous one, and possibly with a chorus as catchy as “Don’t Fear the Winter”. The title track is also a fast and powerful one, (did I mention power before?) catchy and with an amazing solo.Rage has changed a lot during its history. One of the most remarkable improvements is Peavy’s performance, which is much better than his 80's efforts when he used to shriek. And the shrieking was fine for raw Speed Metal, but now that the band plays more Power/Heavy Metal, the deeper and more melodic vocals fit better. In this album he transmits perfectly the song moods to the listener, and good examples of this are the dark-depressive style ballad "Fading Hours" (that's one of the best songs to be found in here) and the mid-paced "Deep in the Blackest Hole". The first starts with an orchestrated atmosphere (reminds to “Overture” in “XIII”), a piano and Peavy's voice, and is maintained this way for 2 minutes and a half. Then the rest of the band comes in for a minute revealing what’s going to come after. Piano & violin alone again for a while and then the band comes back. And just then, when you think that the song is not going to change in any way, comes the solo part of 4:53 with the backing vocals and the piano: THAT MOMENT FUCKING OWNS YOU. After saying that, I still have to remark that the song is mainly driven by Peavy's vocals, and wouldn’t be half good if he didn’t perform so brilliantly. The latter song has also a depressive mood and the whole band does a very good job making you think they are "Deep in the Blackest Hole".Another excellent point of this album is that you never have the “I heard this before” feeling. Even though, it manages to sound as a whole in the “conceptual album” sense. That’s just fucking brilliant. Every song is memorable, with brilliant solos and catchy melodies, which none of them can be classified as filler material (I know this sounds a bit/lot like a “fanboy”, but this album really deserves being praised). If you liked "The Missing Link", "Trapped" or (especially) "Black in Mind", you will certainly like this one, which is slower but still an absolute winner.The only flaw in this release is that sometimes you've got the impression that Peavy is singing 5 miles away from the microphone, creating a strange echo effect. There's also the fact that the drums are a little bit loud and just average, nothing outstanding, and the bass is barely audible (I don't miss it much, but I know there are many bass-maniacs out there)." - Metal Archives
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  • “Known/Learned’ is the third album from this thought provoking progressive band from Brisbane, Australia.  It’s a sprawling 2CD collection of themes and moments, captured between recurring characters. While never explicitly told in the traditional vein of the ‘concept album’, the imagery of Known/Learned depicts fragmented moments in the lives of a father and his daughter, their loss, their love, their journey. A bittersweet love song for life.Occupying a unique place in the Australian progressive music scene, Arcane’s transcendental live performances and 2009’s critically acclaimed, dark and enigmatic concept album 'Chronicles Of The Waking Dream' have earned them a inimitable reputation as one of Australia’s premier progressive rock bands.Sharing stages with artists as diverse as Anathema (UK), Soilwork (Swe), Queensryche (USA), Dead Letter Circus, Ne Obliviscaris and hundreds more, Arcane's live show, often accompanied by a backdrop of staggering visualizations, is a vast sensory experience.Arcane's immersive sound, and the vocals of Jim Grey quickly found favor throughout Australia, headlining the annual Progfest tour, providing touring support for Ne Obliviscaris, and performing to capacity crowds at Sonic Forge Festival in Melbourne. A crowd funding campaign in July, 2013 heralded the 2015 release of 'Known/Learned' a 16 track conceptual double album. Arcane blends the technicality of progressive metal with the atmospheric intensity of bands like Tool, Riverside and Anathema.  The world is about to discover what their Australian fan base already knows – that Arcane is a rising star in the world of progressive music.
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  • Now here is a beautiful slice of contemporary progressive rock.  Anubis is an underrated band from Australia - bands down under don't seem to get the attention they deserve.  Hitchhiking is their third full length album.  2011's A Tower Of Silence was a big hit around here and frankly when it arrived it came as a huge surprise.  This long awaited follow up reinforces that the prog rock world needs to take notice.  The music has a cinematic Floyd-like feel.  Vocals from Robert James Moulding are emotion driven and have plenty of impact.  This is not a band who's music is filled with tons of soloing but what's here is solid.  In other words this is not old school prog - its very forward thinking but with a modern sound.  Highly recommended."I have long dreamt of an Australian progressive rock album that would inspire me to click the repeat button, in order to drift through its world all over again, and I am happy to declare that Hitchhiking to Byzantium has been on constant rotation for weeks at this point. Bringing an enchanting blend of Floydian melancholy and the energy of Rush to the table, Anubis have come to stake their claim as heavyweights in the Oz scene with their third opus.Whilst being equally impressed with their 2011 album A Tower of Silence (which I have only just heard recently also), I have found myself returning to Byzantium more to explore the subtle nuances contained within the album’s ten tracks. ‘Fadeout’ as an opening diddy is like riding a gentle breeze for just a short while before being swept up in all the drama and opulence of ‘A King with No Crown’, a reference quality track on every level, cinematic in scope and full of drama and tension and certainly an inspired choice as opening single for the album. ‘Dead Trees’ is a classic prog cut with all the bells and whistles sporting a vocal performance that harkens to a young James Labrie and a chorus that will have you by the balls from the first time you hear it.I mentioned a notable influence from Floyd and Rush earlier, but if I was to be honest, I would love to ask them if they are fans of American prog band Tiles and those wonderful Brits Anathema, because both bands are called to mind on this album amongst others like Sweden’s Anekdoten. The title track is a sublime centrepiece and features a plaintive aura that is sent soaring when spine-tingling female backing vocals lace the chorus. It’s so hard to choose a favourite song when they are all so filled with creamy goodness, but any of these three  - ‘Blood is Thicker than Common Sense’ (a seductive groover), ‘Tightening of the Screws’ (a majestic slice of melancholia reminiscent of early The Pineapple Thief) or ‘Partitionists’ (a lyrical and musical marvel) - could easily take the title for this humble listener.The final triptych features dark drama in ‘Crimson Stained Romance’, a song that reminded me most of a classic Floyd epic, the 15+ minute ‘A Room with a View’, which is nothing short of a sweeping symphony of moods and tones and the closing ‘Silent Wandering Ghosts’ sounds exactly like its title would suggest, haunting and transcendent with an outro to die for.These seven talented lads are a gifted lot, with every performance of outstanding quality, enhanced by a jaw-dropping production that let’s every instrument tell its own little story and play its part in this emotionally resonant work that as the band state themselves: "I feel that there's more of us in there - the hurdles that life throws at us and the only way to feel true inner peace - by examining the love around you. It's certainly an introspective record - but it's real life. It's about you, it's about me, it's about all of us. Hitchhiking to Byzantium. That journey is life."And somehow I believe them." - Loud Mag
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  • Wow!  This Canadian band sure has a thing for Pink Floyd.  Led by vocalist/songwriter Phil Burton, Innerspace definitely channel Gilmour and Co.  Notice how I phrased it.  Burton's vocals sound very much like David Gilmour and lead guitarist Simon Arsenault has more than a little of that characteristic sound to his playing as well.  Compositionally this is VERY much derived from Floyd.  There are bits that crop up that will remind you of Meddle, DSOTM, Animals, and even as late as The Division Bell.  Where they really stray from the Floyd sound is with keyboardist Paul Aubrey who is much more active a keyboardist than Rick Wright - lots of cool noodly synth soloing.  While its all original compositions this one was like a fun trip down memory lane through the Pink Floyd catalog.  There aren't a lot of bands out there that are so overtly influenced by the British legends.  I can honestly say that Innerspace do it about as well as it can be done.  Highly recommended.
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  • More of an emphasis on keys lends a Yes quality to their sound.
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  • When seven Greek charlatans get together, the musical visions that springs from their minds, can only be described as a true freakshow.Back in late 2004 the idea of a band that could develop a theatrical attitude and combine different musical elements with the dynamics of metal and rock sound, brought DAKRYA to life ....Following the usual demos and local live shows, the band released its debut album "Monumento" in the spring of 2008. Receiving great reviews and good support from both the media and the fans in and around Greece, DAKRYA started touring on a broader scale, supporting such bands as MOONSPELL.In 2009 the band began to work on new material; the main goal was to put even more emphasis on the 'theatrical' style of DAKRYA, and in January 2010 the band entered the studio with engineer George Bokos (Rotting Christ) to record their sophomore album, "Crime Scene".Come March 2010 the band find themselves sitting in a studio in Sweden mixing the album together with Pelle Saether (Diablo Swing Orchestra, Draconian, Madder Morten), followed by a trip to other Swedish sound-guru Göran Finnberg (Opeth, Dark Tranquillity, In Flames, Arch Enemy) for the mastering of the disc.CRIME SCENE is actually a metaphor about the world we live in. So simple and so complicated at the same time. A person has to change so many faces in order to obtain a “socialized” and “normal” image, that if you think about it a little bit… we all look psychotic. In CRIME SCENE we improvise against reality! Snapshots taken from our everyday lives.From the opener "The Charlatans", over the obvious hit of "The Urban Tribe" to the final notes of the closing soundscape "A Dreadful Sidescene", the album is a one-of-a-kind musical experience. Ranging from the psychotic and cinematic melodrama heard in bands like Diablo Swing Orchestra and Unexpect to the orchestrated gothic metal comparable to Therion and Theatre Of Tragedy, DAKRYA paints their mark all over the canvas.
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  • "Voivod is timeless. That doesn’t mean that the Quebec progressive thrash metal band is frozen in stasis. Rather, it’s a testament to their uncompromising insistence on ever-changing, experimental futurism, with every album existing outside of contemporary style in some alternate universe where guitar pickups are wormholes and drumbeats ripple gravity wells." - Montreal Gazette 
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  • " A careful look at the back catalogue of the power/progressive (early), power/thrash (later) metal outfit Tad Morose from Bollnäs, Sweden, will reveal an interesting pattern. The activity of the band is divided into two distinct periods sharing a common attribute, the notable improvement with each subsequent full-length release per period. During the ‘90s, the band became known within the power/progressive metal circuit with the release of three albums. The third one, 1997’s A Mended Rhyme saw the band shifting from the keyboard driven melody of the two previous albums (especially Sender of Thoughts) to a much more engaging balance between the said sound and a more upbeat, aggressive take on power metal.Unfortunately, a 5-year period of silence followed the release of Mended Rhyme and halted the further refinement of that album in future endeavors, as it was difficult for the band to ink a new record deal. Most fortunately however, Century Media Records decided to sign the band in 1998 and with a second guitar replacing the keyboards, Tad Morose became a straight-up power metal outfit. During the period 2001-2003, the band recorded three albums, whose merit ranked between “great” and “monumental”. Modus Vivendi (2003) in particular, lies among the best power/thrash metal albums ever recorded, but some times a near-perfect album can be a blessing as much as it can become a curse. Urban Breed decided to leave the band in 2006, and scheduled recording sessions for a new album were suspended. After several line-up changes and with real life issues constantly getting in the way, Tad Morose joined forces with newly founded Swedish label Despotz Records and a new album entitled Revenant was released, an album signifying the start of a prosperous era for the band.As expected, the new Tad Morose album extends the band’s power/thrash metal storytelling, right from where Modus Vivendi had concluded. The first strategic move in the said respect on behalf of the band, is no other than the recruitment of vocalist Ronny Hemlin, a musician known to Tad Morose from the second album of Inmoria (a band which features ex and current Tad Morose members). Hemlin is in charge of a powerful, clean voice with an impeccable vibrato, in the vein of Tim “Ripper” Owens. The said attributes are ideal for the narration of the album’s ominous lyrical content and the adaptation to the devastating choruses of songs such as “Beneath a Veil of Crying Souls” and “Within a Dream”. The rest of the band does not fall short either. The trademark “Bollnäs power/thrash metal” sound is (more than) convincingly reproduced, although it feels darker than in before (check the “goth” keyboards in the album’s rear). Moreover, Tad Morose have included elements from Swedish power/doom metal and outfits such as Memory Garden (for example in the song “Ares”), whereas they appear to dig Painkiller-era Judas Priest all too much (for instance, check “Death Embrace”), as the shell of several songs is decorated accordingly.Despite the album’s great merit, certain pitfalls seem to have not been avoided. First of all, the sound production, although it’s clean and powerful in principle, it fails to conceal its digital origin, and ends up detracting power, primarily from the rhythm section and (at a much lesser but perceivable extent) the rhythm guitars. Whereas the album would be much better off with 8 or 9 songs, several numbers from the existing track list, could use a more careful proofreading in more respects than one. For example, the Painkiller-era Judas Priest elements (especially the mid-tempo, double bass “power metal” segments) are used carelessly and greedily, while then main lead guitar melodies per song are adequate, but rather passable overall. Moreover, the rhythm section patterns are going through their motions from a point further, especially in the Judas Priest song segments.With Revenant, Tad Morose have started climbing again that very mountain, whose summit they had conquered with Modus Vivendi. Despite the long period of inactivity and the adverse line-up fluctuations, it seems that the band’s ascension process has started from a much better current status than the corresponding one during the dusk of the ‘90s. As the band has implied in interviews about Revenant, the aforementioned shortcomings have come as a result of the long period of hiatus and the sudden urgency to conclude work for it, while coping with various deadlines. Looking at their current state of play, the only way for Tad Morose is to raise the stakes and go up. They can do it, they’ve been here before." - Sputnik Music
    $13.00