posted on 2/2010 By:
Swedish power thrashers Nostradameus bring us their sixth record of melodic and epic, Helloween-and-Nocturnal-Rites-indebted speed metal. All the requisite components are here—guitar work with riffs equally melodic and aggressive, throaty vocals that reach into the upper register and yet largely avoid histrionics, driving verses that run right into huge choruses. Nostradameus came together as a unit to celebrate and recreate true heavy metal as they saw it, and in that regard, they’re successful: Illusion’s Parade doesn’t break the mold in any manner, but for fans of the style, it’s enjoyable and comfortable, as predictable and warm and cozy as your favorite pair of slippers.
Nostradameus ratchets up the rough edges of their typically slick and shiny style—Freddy Persson’s vocals aren’t exactly clean, although certainly powerful, and there are no piercing falsetto squeals or overly operatic moments. On the downside, his voice isn’t particularly unique or exciting—it fits the music, which also isn’t particularly unique, and that’s that. The guitar riffage follows suit with the upswing in energy and edge, sticking more to a chunky thrash blueprint with few fleet-fingered arpeggios and more emphasis on rhythmic drive, those chugging chords and fast-picked riffs separated nicely by the occasional melodic segment or solo. The keyboards are kept to a minimum, used mostly as accents and only rarely as a lead instrument.
Songwise, the album opens strong with "Walk Of Pain" and "Art Of Deception," but the epic "Mariner" begins to drag on after awhile, its chorus catchy enough but failing to lift the otherwise solid song to the proverbial "next level." That trend of good-good-meh continues: the industrialized beat / soaring chorus combo of "Nothing" is solid, as is the follow-up "Eclipse Of The Sun Cult," but the ambitious ten-minute "Broken Soul (Virgin Mary)" is too bulky for its own good, losing me once the acoustic midsection kicks in.
All told, more of Illusion is worthwhile than isn’t, but there’s a definite few lesser tracks that keep this one from being a complete knock-out. I’d bet that Illusion’s Parade won't make very many year-end lists, but it's not a crash-and-burn. If you’re a fan of power/thrash and looking for another record in the shadow of Deris-era Helloween and the like, you could do far worse than Nostradameus, for sure.
Register to post comments.