|Review: Illusion Suite - Final Hour|
Label: Limb Music Products
Year released: 2009
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: September 14, 2009
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (8 Votes)
This is a really sweet debut from Norwegian act Illusion Suite (hmm. Dream Theater, Thought Chamber, Illusion Suite mere coincidence.) It seems Norway is becoming quite the hotspot for Progressive Metal acts. Illusion Suite bears a sound similar to that of Circus Maximus, although Illusion Suite display their Power Metal influences proudly upon their shoulders. The musical talent of these guys is damn impressive – of course this is Progressive Metal after all. Never reliant on overlong instrumentals, Illusion Suite deliver full-on metal with a sharp melodic edge. Special mention goes out to singer Bill Makatowicz who commends a mighty voice similar to that of Circus Maximus' Michael Eriksen which is certainly a good thing; although he can get in the snarly high register much like vocal god Kelly Carpenter. The keyboards are particularly interesting, using some wonderful effects; check out the intro to "Once We Here" for a good example of this. As is expectable the guitar, bass and drum-work is of high pedigree, another big plus for these guys is the arrangements of their songs – always interesting, never boring.
"The Wire" stands as the most conventional track here, a nigh-on straightforward Prog/Power Metal romp. The vocal work is truly riveting with an impressive display of range and power, proving their prowess at an early stage. "Scarlet Skies" is a personal favorite featuring a very Power Metal intro calming into a surprising mid-pace and baffling me with their impressive structure and instrumental capabilities. At 1:11 we're treated to a taste of epic which ceases to let up over the rest of the album. "Once We Were Here" is another personal favorite with the aforementioned stunning keyboard and programming work, and again majestic arrangement; highly melodic vocal work intertwined with furious guitar wizardry, chugging and running around with style to boot. "A Moment to Remember" sports phenomenal vocal work with great female vocals included too (actually featuring throughout Final Hour). The track bridges over nicely into "The Passage" which is just flat-out epic, kicking into a massive uplifting vocal part that soars ever so eloquently. I guess the centre of the show here is the 15 minute mind-melting madness of "The Adventures of Arcan" – hell I expect epic from the track's name alone. Boasting some stupendous keyboard work complemented by just as great guitar work – never too pyrotechnical, focusing on superb melodies albeit with a slight tech edge to it. I get feelings of "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" and "Learning to Live" whilst listening to this track, the guitar solo around the 11:50 mark is a personal highlight of the track. Closing the enjoyable show, we have the short and snappy "A Ghost From The Past" a truly worthy closer with some really nice vocal work.
All in all this is a fantastic debut. Illusion Suite have a bright future ahead of them in the Progressive Metal, as great as this debut is there a some major hints at the capabilities of these guys lynching us with a masterpiece and I hope my words ring true when a second album comes around. Until then I ask all you Progressive Power Metal fans to enjoy this release along with me, because Final Hour is truly an album that shouldn't pass by unknown. Highly Recommended
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