Illusory – Crimson Wreath

Crimson Wealth Album Cover Art

Illusory – Crimson Wreath
Rockshots Records
Release Date: 21/05/2021
Running Time: 01:18:00
Review by Simon Black
8/10

Crimson Wreath is the third album from these Hellenic Power Metallers and has been a while in gestation, with five years passing since 2016’s ‘Polysyllabic’. I’ve not come across them before, but I was immediately impressed by the depth of song-writing and sense of flow and structure that is liberally visible throughout the record. This is a bunch of very competent musicians, who whilst more than capable of dizzying us with technical prowess, keep it retrained and prioritise the overall songs over the individual performers. This has hints of the Progressive and the Symphonic, but they aren’t allowed to dominate and, in the same way the individual instruments are kept blended in the mix, allowing Dee Theodorou’s exceptional voice to stand front and centre in the mix. He really has a very warm and charismatic presence. I can’t stress enough the storytelling art of his delivery – you cannot help but follow the story he is telling – part of this is the way the album is mixed, but his delivery is impeccable and drives this over the line.

One downside of this approach is that despite some thundering fret and footwork, the overall mix is not particularly heavy – which is a shame as the playing here is crying out for those instruments to take a little more of the glory and cannot be faulted. I’m also pleasantly surprised at how well-crafted the album is. Despite the nearly one hour and twenty minutes run time, it does not drag in the slightest. Normally by the half way point I’m raising eyebrows and highlighting either songs or segments that might have needed some judicious pruning, but that is really not necessary here, as when Theodorou’s storytelling does take a breather, the melodic interplay between the instruments and some great backing vocals on the latter part of the album keep the flow.

Even the massive three song conceptual tracks, grouped as ‘An Opus Of Loss And Sorrow’, which could have made a record in their own right, flow beautifully and hold the attention. This album probably deserves performing in its entirety live at some point and the more I listen the more I like. Deep, melodic and brilliantly written, this is top notch stuff.

‘Besetting Sins’ (Official Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Besetting Sins
02. Acedia
03. Crimson Wreath
04. Immortal No
05. All Shall Fade
06. All Blood Red
07. The Voice Inside Me
08. S.T. Forsaken
09. Ashes To Dust
10. A Poem I Couldn’t Rhyme

An Opus Of Loss And Sorrow:
11. Pedestal I: Past Forever Last
12. Pedestal II: The Isle Of Shadows
13. Pedestal III: Agony’s Last
14. Fortress Of Sadness

LINE-UP:
Dee Theodorou – Vocals
George Papantonis – Guitars
Greg Bakos – Guitars
Niki Danos – Bass
Makis Vandoros – Keyboards
Costas Koulis – Drums

LINKS:

Illusory Band Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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