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REVIEW: Wow! That is all I can say after hearing the first song on the new album of the Swedish Melodic Metalband Dark Illusion. We are getting close to the end of 2009 and it seems like we have the winner here when it comes down to the Melodic Metal Of The Year Award!

From start to finish, this sounds like the perfect Melodic Metal record. Dark Illusion was formed in 1982, but called it quits in 1985, was relived in 2003 with one of the best Swedish singers ever on vocals, Thomas Vikström. After an EP and CD release in the following years it become once again a little quiet, but now at the end of the 2000s decade Dark Illusion releases their finest work!

The album "Where The Eagles Fly" is Melodic Metal at it’s very best, fast, catchy and super melodic, thanks to of course Thomas Vikström in the first place, because he has that extra melody in his voice that lifts Dark Illusion way above any band in this genre, easily reaching the same high level as bands like Dream Evil, Nocturnal Rites, Mystic Prophecy, Hammerfall and such bands. I also hear similiarites to classic Riot and Fifth Angel and like mentioned earlier, most of the songs are uptempo pieces, with some really lovely ones among them, like "Dark journey" (Yes!), "My Heart Cries For You" (Yes, Yes!), "Epic" (Yes, Yes, Yes!) and "Destiny’s call" (Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes!). Better make sure to get yourself a copy of this Melodic Metal Masterpiece!


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REVIEW: Dark Illusion have had a long and chequered past, forming some 28 years ago the band split 1985 without getting as far as releasing any material. During the intervening years guitarist Tomas Hultqvist continued to write songs and with ex Dark Illusion rhythm guitarist Niklas Tengblad the band reformed in 2003 with Thomas Vikström (Candlemass, Talk Of The Town, Brazen Abott) - on vocals to release a four track EP For "Just Another Night". The band's first album proper, "Beyond The Shadows", was put out two years later with the line up now featuring Pontus Egberg (Lion's Share) on bass. Now after another four year layoff Hultqvist, Vikström, Egberg and new drummer Johan Kullberg have once more revived the Dark Illusion moniker with album number two "Where The Eagles Fly", which is packed with classy melodic power metal with some heavier moments and some slightly more commercial contrasts coming to the fore from time to time. Think Hammerfall mixed with the Scorpions, or Saxon with dashes of Dokken, Dio and Europe.

Most of Where The Eagles Fly rattles by at break neck speed, however there's bags of melody to temper the powerful guitars and with Vikström's rich, full vocals the galloping rhythms are given a classy sheen that makes them instantly memorable and enjoyable. Hultqvist creates some excellent riffs that carry the songs and with some double tracked guitars, numbers like "Running Out Of Time" or "Evil Masquerade", with its Maiden like rat-a-tat-tat snare intro really come to life. The later in particular is a stand out, it's one of the heavier and certainly slower songs with a strong Dio flavour as it marches determinedly along.

Vikström finds a subtle blend of power and melody to make such a crunching track surprisingly upbeat without blunting the impact. One of the other highlights comes in the shape of "Land Of Street Survivor". Kullberg and Egberg charge headlong into a mid paced groove while guitar wise the sound is more akin to the Scorpions jamming with George Lynch and with the nice little keyboard touches from guest Chris Laney the end result is a tasty rocker at the more commercial end of power metal.

I haven't heard Dark Illusion's debut album or earlier EP, although on the evidence here that's something I aim to rectify. Songwriter and guitarist Thomas Hultqvist actually states about Where The Eagles Fly that he can't write any better songs than those contained here, although he can match the standard shown. I'm not sure if that's true, however more of the same would be most welcome.


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REVIEW: Fantastic Power Metal Album from a new swedish group. Magnificent songs, superb production and brilliant vocals by no one less than Thomas Vikstrom. This album has it all, from fast dubble bas drums tracks with melodical chorus and awsome guitar pitches to strong, heartbreaking power ballads!


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+ Live 4 Metal Review:

Monday mornings for me tend to be a bit shitty, still feeling less than 100% from the weekend, not wanting to face the week ahead, and of course, checking the mail to see who else wants money from me. Little be known to me, amongst this weeks collection of bills and junk, was a slab of metal so heavy, I'm surprised it didnt go through the floor when it hit it.

Until now, Id never heard of Swedens Dark Illusion, and theres a damn good reason for this. Forming in 1982 as a teen rock band, gigging around the scene in Stockholm, and knocking out a few demos, Dark Illusion split in 1985, and into the shadows they disappeared. But it seems the spirit of this band lived on in the darkness, in the shape of guitarist and songwriter Tomas Hultqvist, who continued to create metal in the vain of their early works. 20 years on, and original guitarist Niklas Tengblad and Hultqvist decided it was time to bring Dark Illusion back from Beyond the Shadows. The result is truly outstanding, and praise the gods for forging this work of metal mastery.

The line up is completed by the breathtaking voice of Thomas Vikstrom, who can break from rock and roll, to power highs, and back again with the conviction of the likes of Dickinson himself. This kind of sums up Beyond the Shadows, as its a mixture of older rock influenced tracks like opener Night Knight, and Warrior from the demo days, to newer hard metal attacks. This has to be one of the highlights, as the albums 14 tracks and 50 minutes take you on a journey into the past, whilst keeping a firm grasp on the future.

 The first thing that will hit you about Dark Illusion from the outset is that every one of these guys are accomplished musicians, and true masters or their art. If you love guitar driven metal, then this is the one for you. The riffing is simple, but solid, and the guitar solos are some of the best Ive heard since my Malmsteen obsessions. This is not weedle as fast as you can though; intelligently structured solos, and beautifully presented lead passages whirlwind from track to track, each with a different feel.

Tracks like Weeper Deeper made me think of a paced up Wild Side, to the staple ballad track Tragedy, and the Maiden-esque Break the Chains all have their links to the past, but retain the essence of what is Dark Illusion. Once you get to Leave No Traces, I guarantee you this track will be skipped back before you go any further this is a true classic metal anthem, fast paced and catchy, laden with the big metal chorus/main vocal trade off brilliant.

And any band who finishes with a track named Warlord of the Night; well you know what Im getting at. Its not every day that albums bring back the feeling that a lot of the classic bands of yesteryear created, whilst remaining fresh in todays climate. Call it rock, call it metal, call it what you want; this is sheer class from start to finish.

If theres any justice in this world, then Dark Illusion will be around making metal for another 20 years, and Ill be waiting... oh yes!

Phil Wilson

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+ Rock Eyez Review:

In the dark cover of night comes a presence with an eerie feeling called Dark Illusion. You would think by their name that these guys are Goth - but actually they play hard-driving metal. They will remind you of many different bands sounding like Hammerfall, Judas Priest, and Stryper.

They force the metal down your throat. Dark Illusion has been around for a few years now, and has now released one of the best metal CDs in 2005. The musicianship on Beyond the Shadows is extreme, and this should set the band on the fast track.

The opening track Night Knight is getting tons of airplay in Europe, Canada and USA its about to make an assault on Japan next. Warrior is truly a masterpiece of melodic metal with the vocals of Thomas Vikstrom doing an amazing killer job. You really have to check out the vocals by Hultqvist that will knock you socks off he sounds like Michael Sweet of Stryper at times.

There is not a bad track on this entire disc and the guitar work by Tomas Hultqvist is on fire. Dark Illusion will remind you of the great metal bands of the eighties like Accept and Priest with their song, Secret Journey a track that will pump your adrenaline. Tragedy sets the mood and gives way to acoustical guitar genius Niklas Tengblad as he hooks up with the keyboards. You get fourteen tracks of some the best metal you will ever hear and you will not be disappointed.

Rating: 4 / 5
Brian Rademacher








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