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Illusions of Grandeur - The Songs of the Siren

Illusions of Grandeur
The Songs of the Siren
by Max Elias at 02 October 2019, 5:33 AM

ILLUSIONS OF GREANDEUR make their debut with “The Songs of The Siren, a soaring epic of an album. The group’s Power Metal leanings make themselves clear from the intro of “Fallen/Awakening”, replete with ambient ocean waves and gentle arpeggiation. Halfway through, the song abandons its gentle ballad style and shifts into a driving riff. The vocals remain clean and punchy throughout. The next song, “Mayhem”, also sounds like it was designed around the singer’s talents; which makes sense, given her pseudonym ‘The Siren’ and the album’s title. The main riff is simple, staccato, and establishes a call-and-response dynamic with the vocalist.

“Three Two Three” is the first track to really feature interplay between male and female vocals. It’s musically a halfway point between “Fallen/Awakening” and “Mayhem” in that it shifts between metal ballad and slow stomp pretty regularly. Even when guitars take a melody break, it happens underneath vocals, which seem to have been the band’s focus all the way up to now. “Red Sky Morning” is another song with a grandiose intro, that culminates after about two minutes in a lead break. I guess it wasn’t really an ‘intro’, but it felt like one, thanks to the dynamics of the instruments. The song mostly relies on the one riff that played since the beginning all the way through, although it does close on a tasteful lead guitar moment. The halfway point of the album acts as an intermission; “The Archangel” is little more than an arpeggiated guitar interlude.

“Silent Suicide” comes after, and save for the weird little spoken word at the beginning, is the most aggressive song on the album. The riffs come as close as they have on this to being something I would normally listen to. And just because the riffing is more compelling doesn’t diminish the vocal contribution; there are still plenty of hooks to be found here, along with a theme of ending the verses in a pinched-off screech. The intensity lets up on “Breathe”, which returns to the album formula of slower-paced canvases for the vocals to explode over. Despite the laid-back instrumentation, the timbre and force of the vocals gives the track urgency. The next couple songs are more of the same, and then as a preamble to the final track, “The Voyage” is another instrumental interlude. Final song “Through the Styx” is aggressive in the vocals if somewhat routine in the instrumental aspect. It certainly is catchy though, which is a good summation of the album as a whole.

This is a debut album, so it might not be as refined as later releases or as focused—although they seem to have found a niche. I also remember reading something about how this is a concept album of sorts, so subsequent albums could wind up very different. Assuming they don’t, however, musically (guitar, drums, bass) the album is a bit lackluster; the songs seem to have fairly typical riffs that don’t stir anything in me. The vocals are on point, though. She (‘The Siren’) is fantastic at conveying a range of emotions and technically able to shift higher or lower as the situation demands it. If you like metal with a strong vocal component and emphasis on hooks, this is worth listening to.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Fallen/Awakening
2. Mayhem
3. Three Two Three
4. Red Sky Morning
5. The Archangel
6. Silent Suicide
7. Breathe
8. Lullabies
9. The Voyage
10. Through the Styx
Lineup:
The Siren—Vocals
CM—Bass
Mercury—Drums
Taranis—Guitar
Thano—Guitar
Record Label: Pavement Entertainment
     


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