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Review: Illusion Suite - The Iron Cemetery
Illusion Suite
The Iron Cemetery

Label: Power Prog
Year released: 2013
Duration: 38:50
Tracks: 9
Genre: Progressive Power Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: October 31, 2013
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers Rating
The Iron Cemetery

Rated 5/5 (100%) (3 Votes)

Being a big fan of Illusion Suite's debut release Final Hour, I was stoked to see they eventually had a follow up in The Iron Cemetery. Four years on, Illusion Suite have trimmed a lot of the fat in their sound, opting for a concise, streamlined approach, which really works for the band. At just over thirty-eight minutes the Norwegians leave little room for error, and surprisingly manage to deliver everything you'd expect from the genre in force.

It really goes to show that you don't have to drag out a prog song over eight or nine minutes, as Illusion Suite manage to remain progressive through smaller runtimes, utilizing daring arrangement and deft musicianship. Reminding of Circus Maximus at their finest, with elements of acts such as Beyond Twilight and Seventh Wonder heard throughout, Illusion Suite blast across the short length of the album in a dizzying blur of hooky choruses, foot-stomping riffs, and wicked bursts of technicality.

Performances across the board are flat out ace, with vocalist Bill Makatowicz stealing the show with a superb performance. On their debut he reminded me quite a bit of Michael Eriksen – and he still does – although here he's injected a dose of venom into his voice, which he utilizes in some of the heavier moments on the album as seen in the second pre-chorus to "Orpheus' Quest". His vocal lines this time around are vastly superior too, and he could definitely give the majority of his contemporaries a run for their money. Kim Jacobsen replaces Øyvind Larsen in the guitar department, and puts forth a killer performance blending thrash elements into a well versed prog power approach, and the rhythm section of Dag Erik Johnsen and Roger Bjørge comes off really accomplished. "Nostradamus' First Prophecy" particularly displays them in a fine light. What's more, and certainly noteworthy is that Roger handles the keyboards as well, and his command on both drums and keys is intimidating to say the least.

With a cracking set of songs and brilliant production the Norwegian prog power heroes Illusion Suite have delivered a quality release, which whilst not as complete as their debut, is maybe a little stronger. Streamlining their sound has resulted in a short and snappy record, which accomplishes just as much some albums almost twice the length of The Iron Cemetery do. With some seriously smoking prog power numbers such as "Orpheus' Quest", the masterful title track, and the Pagan's Mind on crack closer "Premonition" Illusion Suite really hit it home. Any fan of the genre would be at a loss without this one.

Other related information on the site
Review: Final Hour (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
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