Twisted Illusion – Temple Of Artifice
Release Date: 28/05/2021
Running Time: 35:52
Review by Beth Jones
The music scene in the UK is full of some very exciting bands right now. So much so, that it can be difficult to make an impression in an already saturated market, unless you’re a) a different level, and b) prepared to put in the hours and legwork that self-promotion requires. One band that has both of these factors down to a ‘T’ is Manchester based progressive rock aficionados, Twisted Illusion. I first encountered TI on the Very Metal Arts stage at Amplified festival a good few years back, and was instantly captured by their exciting sound, which combined all the music I loved, and wrapped it up in a compelling stage presence in the form of frontman and driving force behind TI, Matt Jones. Since that first encounter, I’ve been an avid follower of the band, not just in a press sense, but also as a genuine fan.
It’s fair to say, in the last few years, TI have experienced some ups and downs. But Matt’s relentless passion to make them a household name has kept on driving him forward, refusing to let adversity steal his dreams. Now, finally, it’s starting to look like his complete and persistent dedication to his art is beginning to pay off. And this re-recorded version of the 2016 debut album will, I have no doubt, be the springboard that launches them to the next level. Obviously, I own the original album, which was great anyway. But this release is not just a remaster or remix, it’s a full re-record (done mainly in Matt and Saxon’s flat), and my god has it taken things to a new level! They’ve also been on a single releasing mission, with the majority of the 7 album tracks having been released as official singles in the last month!
The main thing that hits you is how full the sound is now. On first listen, I sent Matt an excited message that basically said “This is mega! It’s expansive as fuck!!!” Powerful vocals are the leader here, but the instrumentation that sits behind them is equally as mesmerising. Saxon is an absolute beast on solos, and his additional vocals complement Matt’s voice perfectly! Everything has elements of Queen and Rush deep routed within the style (I mean what’s not to like there already), but those elements are formed into something uniquely different. Add into that Matt’s ingeniously dark lyrics, set to up-tempo ‘happy’ sounding melodies, and you have the TI sound. It’s just exciting. I can’t really describe it any other way. It makes me want to listen, and keep on listening until the power dies. It’s a classic sound, with a modern twist, and it’s executed in a way that makes even the most complicated sections make perfect sense.
My favourite track was, and still is, ‘Hatred Is A Virtue’ – it’s the track that contains the lyric ‘I have music, I have life’, which has almost become the bands tagline, and it’s so damn true. This track is powerful, pacey, and full of classic rock riffage, that makes you move, as well as some pretty proggy timings! (It’s also one of the best ones to scream along to the chorus to when they’re playing live!… God how I miss live music. Like, every bit of my soul is aching to see a band on a stage again right now).
The release of this album marks the start of a very busy year for TI, as they are set to release three more albums – the newly recorded versions of “Excite The Light” Part I, II, and III. I’ve heard them, and they’re mind blowing, hence my 9.5 score here – our esteemed lord and master at Ever Metal, Mr Richard Tilley, won’t let me do scores over 10/10 now, because it’s mathematically impossible, and I need somewhere to go for those next three masterpieces 😉.
So, to sum up, if you appreciate clever lyrics, thoughtful song structure, ultra-talented musicians, and proggy, classic rock sounds, you need this album in your life. And Matt, and TI deserve to be huge. This much talent should not go unnoticed.
01. Imitate Me: Part 1
02. Freedom To Fail
03. Hatred Is A Virtue
05. Online And In Line
06. A Moment Of Lucidity
07. Imitate Me: Part 2
Matt Jones – Guitars/Vocals
Saxon Davids – Guitars/Vocals
Mark Wagstaff [back for this album only] – Bass
Chris Jones – Bass
Andy Gotteri – Keys
Jess Lawton – Keys
Phil Shacklady – Drums
Kenny Souter – KING OF MERCH! The best merch guy ever, no question, and a jolly happy sausage, despite what Zuckerberg thinks!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones 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.