Release DetailsLABEL Candlelight
RELEASED ON 4/18/2006
The Optical Illusion
posted on 10/2006 By:
Those in the know are cognizant of the fact that prog guru Richard Andersson (Space Odyssey, Majestic) is responsible for a large portion of Optical Illusion, and as expected, the musicianship is truly virtuosic. Guitar and keyboard solos are as common as hookers in Nevada, which is to say they’re simply unavoidable. Whether you believe that constant soloing is masturbatory or not, the level of talent that the collective of Time Requiem possess and subsequently wield is flooring. That, however, is when the question of restraint rears its head. Some say if you have the ability and skill, then why not use it to full potential? Others say use it within reason. And yet others say, if you’ve got, flaunt it. Aside from the musical performances, though, complaints regarding the lackluster songwriting are undeniably warranted.
I find it hard to believe that Optical Illusion calls its release year 2006 because any amount of digging through the back catalogs of Magna Carta, InsideOut Music, Sensory/Laser’s Edge, and Regain will yield similar albums that were unleashed years ago. Another aspect that plagues Time Requiem is Göran Edman’s (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) vocal tone, which, though great, parallels James LaBrie’s (Dream Theater, ex-Mullmuzzler) and will thus lead to comparisons. For instance, it’d be difficult to find an individual who would honestly deny that “Talisman” doesn’t sound like it could fit on any mid-period Dream Theater record. Or, how about the Symphony X-isms present during the title track, “Ashen Soul,” and “Sphere of Fantasy”? They’re simply too uncanny.
This is a classic case of musicianship trumping songwriting by an enormously wide margin. Nonetheless, one must remember that this is not a joke of an album, a horrible effort, or anything of the sort. In fact, it’s mildly enjoyable if you’re not overly concerned with originality, inventiveness, or likenesses to other groups, but if you’re searching for a full-length that shies away from the prog-by-numbers, stock approach, then Optical Illusion should be avoided. Time Requiem – despite their talent – probably should be too.
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