Power of Metal.dk Review

Illusion Suite
The Iron Cemetery
Style: Progressive Metal
Release date: 26 July, 2013
Playing time: 38:48

This year hasn't seen many prog metal releases I've truly enjoyed, Votum's "Harvest Moon" being an exception. Actually, this is just the continuation of a trend for me, as I'm a little tired of seeing metal bands rehash the same stuff over and over again. Illusion Suite, however, changed this for me. Their new album, “The Iron Cemetery”, is hands-down the best progressive power metal album I've heard since Theocracy's “As the World Bleeds” or Darkwater's “Where Stories End”.

Speaking of those two bands, Illusion Suite is pretty similar in terms of heaviness, vocals, and instrumentals. This means that we get a ton of killer riffs mixed with some epic keys---music you can head bang to, if that's your thing. Illusion Suite, however, has not offered up a simple rehash of others' works like so much of metal today. The band has offered an impressive album with super-catchy choruses, unique touches, and a strange concept having to do with Tesla.

“The Iron Cemetery” is impressive on many fronts. First and foremost, vocalist Bill Makatowicz makes this relatively short album what it is. These are some of the best vocals of the year, as Bill again and again hits high highs, and can seemingly annunciate both words and tone perfectly. I was impressed even after several listens as he perfectly forms the notes and octaves in the choruses with hyper precision and power.

I was also blown away by some of the unique riffs in this album. Guitarist Kim Jacobsen hits it where it counts and delivers grooves worthy of the top tier of prog metal. Lastly, although the rest of the band performs incredibly, the keyboardist/drummer (yes, both!) Kevin Bjorge takes the instrumental cake with his electronica-influenced technique on keys. He doesn't overdo it: He simply adds atmosphere that accentuates the metal, or adds touches that makes a certain hook or breakdown feel earth-shatteringly powerful. Overall, the music is first rate.

Illusion Suite has singlehandedly brought back my prog metal interest. In a year with so many amazing releases in other subgenres of prog, Norway's Illusion Suite has stood tall and declared their right to hang with the best of progressive music.

01. Intro
02. Orpheus' Quest
03. Uni-twins
04. The Iron Cemetery
05. When Love Fails
06. Nero
07. Nostradamus' First Prophecy
08. The Ugly Duckling
09. Premonition
Label: Power Prog Records
Distribution: Power Prog Records
Artwork rating: 80/100
Reviewed by: Jason Spencer
Date: 4 July, 2013
Website: www.illusionsuite.net