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Art Of Illusion - X Marks The Spot Award winner

Art Of Illusion
X Marks The Spot
by Emily Schneider at 04 February 2021, 12:37 PM

ART OF ILLUSION is a two man band from Sweden. The band's namesake is a morph of the bands each member was known for initially. (WORK OF ART and GRAND ILLUSION respectively) Lars is currently also the vocalist for Melodic Rock band LIONVILLE along with ENBOUND.  Together, this pair creates a fun filled, borderline addicting Melodic musical album. There's lots of drama in the music and catchy hooks that are hard to resist wanting to sing along to.  Read on for a track by track breakdown.

Wild and Free” opens the album with a song full of glitz and glamour, lyrically anyway. It was interesting that there wasn't much musically surrounding the vocals during the verses other than a wavy sounding guitar riff that created a 'neon lights in the rear view mirror' feeling throughout the song. “Run” is a light and airy sounding song, melodically. This song is a run through a meadow of wildflowers with how lovely and sweet the vocals are and the keys and guitars add more vibrancy to the mix.

My Loveless Lullabyb is a much more theatrical track. The song starts out with a dramatic piano and a harp that accompanies the vocals. The song speeds up after the first chorus and becomes a rather wonderful and catchy power ballad. Lars really shines in this song with some great high notes and lots of vocal dynamics throughout. This pure fun musical theater feel continues in the classic movie themed track “Waltz For the Movies” too. “4 AM” is another ever so lovely emotion-fueled ballad. I enjoyed the addition of the steel guitar in this song about a touring musician in love (reminiscent of “Faithfully" by JOURNEY).

Go” is a song about escaping a toxic relationship. There's such a hopeful feeling to it, even with the song revealing a grim situation for the storyteller. “Snakebite Charm” is such a vibrant song with an 80s feel with the key style. “Let the Games Begin” is another fun and theatrical song. The orchestration lures you in then the mesmerizing and powerful vocals sinks the hook in. This song could easily be an aria in a Rock Opera with the visuals the whimsical melodies evoke and the awesome atmosphere every element of this song creates.

“A Culinary Detour” proves that much of this album was Lars getting to play around with Musical Theater desires. This one is so fun and rather silly, yet sounds great with how it was arranged. “Catch You if I Can” rotates back to the pure Melodic Rock of the first few tracks. The vocal hooks are ridiculously catchy. I really enjoyed the Jazz influence in Rampant Wildfire" too. What a pleasant surprise. “Race Against Time” closes the album with a beautiful and emotional ballad, mainly fixed on the vocals with just some soft keys and a short solo in the middle.

Overall, “X Marks the Spot” is an album full of surprises. Many of the songs are very theatrical, I could almost imagine them on a stage with sets on wheels or big screens. I really enjoy the variety of other genres that were sprinkled in throughout this album; Rock, Jazz, Pop… I found myself asking “is this Prog Rock?” during a couple of the songs too.  Not to mention the amount of power ballads was fabulous; I love ballads and these guys know how to make great ones that check all of my boxes. There was just the right amount of cheesy and pure emotion to keep it entertaining. The beacon of light on this album though was undeniably Lars. His vocals are insanely good and this album felt like a way to feature them in the best of ways. He often sounded like he was having a blast singing many of these songs, all while bringing the perfect amounts of feeling and power too. All and all, this album was so enjoyable for a great vocals and ballad fanatic like myself and I already want to listen to it again. I'll be sure to when the album officially releases on January 29th, 2021.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Wild and Free
2 Run
3. My Loveless Lullaby
4. Waltz for the Movies
5. 4 AM
6. Go
7. Snakebite Charm
8. Let the Games Begin
9. A Culinary Detour
10. Catch You if I can
11. Rampant Wildfire
12. Race Against Time
Lineup:
Lars Säfsund - lead and background vocals, keyboards
Anders Rydholm - keyboards, bass, rhythm guitars
Record Label: AOR Heaven
     


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