Illusion Suite - Final Hour

9 songs
58:30 minutes
***** ***
Limb Music


Illusion Suite are a band from Norway that after a five song EP is now back with its first longplayer Final Hour. They are stylistically alternating skilfully between power metal and neo progressive metal, with the necessary talent to capture the attention of fans of both genres.

The CD contains mostly moderately long tracks although there are also a couple of expansive exceptions where especially the quarter hour epic The Adventure Of Arcan manages to stand out. All songs have in common that there is always a lot going on, with one mood segueing seamlessly into the next one. Next to melodic parts, there are also quite a lot monumental and symphonic excursions. Parallels to Dream Theater and Symphony X come to mind, but this is no objection due to the high quality level of Final Hour.

I was positively surprised that the band didn’t feel the need for a bland intro, instead starting immediately with The W.I.R.E., an authentic smasher that does not only convince due to the great production. Most tracks are kept at a fast pace, and especially the powerful vocals and the guitar arrangements know how to please. Some songs veer into a different direction though. A Moment To Remember has a more commercial attitude and comes also with a mellower vocal delivery. The catchy Pandora’s Box gets its charm from an undeniable retro flair, reminding strongly of the progressive rock scene in England towards the late Seventies. The CD’s highlight is of course the long The Adventure Of Arcan, where the band is helped out by a strong female guest singer. But also the countless turns within this track are a testimony for the band’s potential. The album ends with A Ghost From The Past which instantly sticks in your mind and therefore would be another candidate for a single release.

The Norwegians have come up with a very respectable debut. At times it wouldn’t do them any harm to be more experimental, to set themselves apart from their influences, but there are already enough own ideas to make Illusion Suite stand out from the majority of power prog bands. The progressive metal scene will certainly be happy to accommodate this new member!

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