Illusory belongs to Greece’s most talented power metal groups and every release of the band is a significant, unmissable circumstance for the worldwide power metal scene. Now it’s time for Illusory’s third album, titled “Crimson Wreath”, which will be released on May 21st, 2021 via Rockshots Records. Myth of Rock was invited to the online pre-listening session of the album and below you can read our first thoughts and impressions, in a track-by-track analysis. Before proceeding, we would like to express our gratitude that Myth of Rock was among the media, which were picked to have this pre-listening experience. An honour, indeed!
“Besetting Sins”: The album starts with a heavy, dynamic track, which has two protagonists – the manic guitar riffs and the catchy vocal lines. I liked very much the melodic refrain, which reminded me of euro power metal bands, however, there is also a US metal touch to the song. It is obvious that the album has a great production and that the band has taken a more power metal orientation. Epic, bombastic, a furious beginner!
“Acedia”: This is the outro of “Besetting Sins”, a nice little track of classic guitar, piano and a sweet narration. Truly emotive, it’s the calm before the storm …
“Crimson Wreath”: It’s the title song of the album, the proggy acoustic part and the ethereal vocals alternate with heavier, tougher parts and a heroic refrain. A power ballad, which ends with fantastic guitar solos, a power metal crescendo, where the twin guitar melodies are combined with a fascinating performance by singer Dee Theodorou.
“Immortal No”: A beginning with huge guitar riffs, a solid rhythm section and some epic vocals prepares you for a power metal hymn. Indeed, the refrain sticks with you, the guitar solo parts will take you by storm and soon you will find yourself singing the refrain! An immediate hit.
“All Shall Fade”: A melancholic interlude, with mesmerizing piano, touching vocal lines and a weeping guitar, will lead you to deep emotions. Shivering.
“All Blood Red”: The riffs cut like a knife, the verses have a prog metal character and the refrain will carry you away! Another great song, masterly orchestrated and brilliantly performed, “All Blood Red” is a true rocker, with beautiful content in the lyrics. I am sure people will love it!
“The Voice Inside Me”: A nicely spoken part, necessary for the development of the album’s concept.
“S. T. Forsaken”: A Maiden-esque start gives way to a staccato rhythm with razor sharp guitars and epic vocals. A bombastic refrain unfolds, the guitars speak gloriously in the amazing solos, until an incredible Savatage-like passage. “S.T. Forsaken” shows the maturity of the band, which now has its own personal (power metal) style. The final moments of this amazing composition disclose the sensational majesty of Illusory!
“Ashes to Dust”: The epos continues with “Ashes to Dust”, a melodic power metal composition, with very interesting parts. You will love the twin guitar melodies, the galloping riffs, the passionate, epic vocal performance, the narration of renowned Greek actor Grigoris Valtinos and the wonderful orchestration of this hymn. Thumbs up!
“A Poem I Couldn’t Rhyme”: That’s how Savatage would sound, if they composed a new song today. Illusory keeps on surprising us with its heavy power sound – the Greeks know how to take the best elements from every music genre they like. So the band comes up with another awesome tune. This specific song is simpler than the other songs, however, its beauty is incomparable! What a melody!
“Past Forever Last”: The most euro power metal track of the album, “Past Forever Last” has a Timo Tolkki-like main riff. I personally feel shivers down my spine throughout this wonderful, pompous song. The proggy verses and the enchanting refrain will touch you and the piano part is heart-breaking! That’s heavy metal art!
“The Isle of Shadows”: The choirs in the beginning put you in the mood of this long, dramatic song. A prog/power metal labyrinth where the epic vocals and the phenomenal guitar work show you the way. The sweet melody of the song’s refrain will soothe you, and the majestic bridge will leave you breathless! Songs like “The Isle of Shadows” aren’t often composed in our days.
“Agony’s Last”: That’s another big composition – well, it seems that “Crimson Wealth” has no filler! Heavy, loud riffs take the place of the first atmospheric seconds, some keys add to the mystery and nice musical ideas are transformed into a smart bridge and a beautiful, catchy refrain. One of the most immediate songs of the album, “Agony’s Last” will make you wanna headbang and the Iron Maiden influence of the band is most prominent here.
“Fortress of Sadness”: The album ends with this ten-minute song – leaving us with perfect impressions, I would add! The Illusory heavy metal machine is working at full-throttle here, the epos reaches its zenith, the luminous melodies shine a light in the dark atmosphere and this true magnum opus sounds as the artistic triumph of a really potent band! Wow!
In general words, I would say that “Crimson Wealth” is a long, but rewarding album, which will gratify every heavy/power metal fan. It’s the most mature work of Illusory, who are getting a pure power metal musical direction. Sometimes epic, sometimes proggy, Illusory find their target, offering us a great power metal offering. But that’s enough for now, since we will discuss more when we will have the album in our hands.