Review Summary: No illusions here - just melodic and catchy Power Metal.
If you're looking for something heavy, you're looking in the wrong place. Master of Illusion
is much more sing-along metal, or easy listening metal than it is metal for headbanging to. Despite this, Power Quest have pulled out all the stops to make Master of Illusion
a very strong Power Metal album that deserves much more recognition than it appears to get.
At the time of recording, Power Quest consisted of:
- Alessio Garavello - vocals, rhythm guitar
- Steve Williams - keyboards
- Andrea Martongelli - guitars
- Steve Scott - bass guitar
- Francesco Tresca - drums
The first track you'll hear is Cemetary Gates
, which displays pretty much everything characteristic of this album and of the genre in general - but when the chorus hits, you'll hear the first touch of what makes Power Quest just that little bit special. Despite the dark-sounding track name and lyrics, this track (as well as most of the others) are surprisingly uplifting.
One thing I've found through listening to this album is nothing is overdone to the point where it becomes annoying. You don't find an abundance of ridiculously fast solos, or too many chugging guitars, or too much high-pitched keyboard abuse. The 'lead' instrument often changes throughout tracks, for example on Master of Illusion
, meaning that whilst keeping the same general sound throughout the album, tracks don't become ultra repetitive.
The lyrics on this album vary in quality quite a lot. At their worst, you hear songs such as Hearts & Voices
, where the single line "Raise your hearts and voices"
is repeated way too much. At their best, you find very catchy (if a little groan-inducing) hooks such as "I don't believe in friends forever, 30 pieces of silver, it's over now...
" or Civilised?
's "Is this what we call being civilised?"
. Vocals, courtesy of Alessio Garavello, may seem a little whiny and hard on the ears at their peak pitch, but that's only a minor complaint.
The drums, as to be expected, are nothing spectacular. Power Metal has an unfortunate tendency to feature ridiculously repetitive drumbeats which grate on your ears as you listen - and whilst this album is somewhat guilty, if you're not listening out for this pattern they tend to complement the music well, for example on Save the World
. They at least prevent you from wanting to cut your ears off and mail them to the drummer.
So what makes this album stand out from the smorgasbord of other Power Metal albums out there? Catchy melodies are present on pretty much every track on this album, most of which are very memorable, and choruses to tracks such as Save the World
or Human Machine
can be belted out with gusto and are really quite uplifting. Master of Illusion
is not an album that it takes effort to enjoy, and whilst it won't spend the most amount of time spinning ever, it will be one you can come back to and still enjoy months later.
Power Quest have crafted this album lovingly and have created a minimum of filler - and there are few tracks which stand out above the rest, making this album fantastically consistent. If you've never heard them before, and don't mind a lack of heaviness in your metal, I can highly recommend this one.
I Don't Believe In Friends Forever
Save the World