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Review: Arwen - Illusions

Label: Arise Records
Year released: 2004
Duration: 56:02
Tracks: 14
Genre: Progressive Power Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: November 19, 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating

Rated 2.83/5 (56.67%) (6 Votes)

Arwen, a band named after a character in The Lord Of The Rings, were always going to be my kind of act, and though they haven't done anything since this back in 2004, I felt they had the makings of a great unit (especially for Spain). They had eight members (two keyboard players – one of them a feisty female – and two singers, one of which was also a feisty [and much foxier] female), and they played a slick brand of Progressive Power Metal that took the best parts of Angra and Elisa-era Dark Moor and fused them together, usually with some cool artwork. Their second and last album, Illusions, saw them take the sound developed on their fine debut to new levels, where the heaviness was increased.

Compared to the debut, Illusions is a beast of a record, raging with big, skull-splitting guitars and pounding drums. A powerful production helps this come across with such force, and while Memories Of A Dream was a fey, whimsical affair, Illusions packs a decent wallop, which should appeal to many who thought their past work spent too much time with the fairies. Most tracks here, while being a touch protracted, are all good Power Metal workouts, sounding in part like Elisa C Martin's post-Dark Moor band Dreamaker. This is because that foxy vocalist I talked about earlier, the beautiful Mamen Castano sings a lot of lead, something she didn't do first time around. The male vocalist, the hilariously named Nacho Ruiz, sounds much better than on the debut, giving a strong, leather-lunged demonstration, and even the keys sound good, adding a lot of dexterity and color. Songs like the heavenly "Riding Alone" and the ethnic "Keltia" stand out because of Mamen's glossy vocal, but "Dance Of Souls" and "By My Own Sight" are good too, songs that are easy on the ears and don't take much out of you.

In all, this is a nice Prog-Power release, certainly more professional than the debut (though I do have a soft spot for that album, and therefore prefer it). This is a sure winner for the casual mood.

Other related information on the site
Review: Memories of a Dream (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: The Soul's Sentence (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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