After three tour-de-force albums, Britain's Power Quest slips a notch on the international power-metal scale. That's not to say that the band has lost its touch with its potent blend of modern power metal and Eighties hard rock. But what once sounded so fresh on Power Quest's critically acclaimed 2002 debut, Wings of Forever, no longer does. That's not the fault of the members of Power Quest as much as it is all of the copycat bands that followed in their wake. It takes something pretty darn special to make the ears of hardened headbangers perk up these days.
While Master of Illusion boasts some fine musicianship, creative arrangements and catchy hooks — Alessio Garavello's voice, in particular, seems more flexible than ever — the album strikes me as little more than ordinary. (Please note that I gave Wings of Forever, 2003's NeverWorld and 2005's Magic Never Dies each 4½ stars here on the Sea.) And what's with the emo titles? ("I Don't Believe in Friends Forever"? "Hearts and Voices"?) That said, those songs, loaded with Power Quest's requisite keyboard flourishes from Steve Williams, inject the end of the album with flair — giving the record some diversity after such standard fast-galloping fare as "Cemetery Gates," "The Vigil" and "Kings of Eternity." Despite the sappy titles, more of that kind of material might be necessary to help Power Quest retain its power.
Williams, it should be stated, was an original member of Dragon Heart, which morphed into Dragonforce. Not surprisingly, fans of that band (as well as Stratovarius and Edguy) should dig Power Quest's body of work.
1) Cemetery Gates
2) Human Machine
4) King of Eternity
5) Master of Illusion
6) The Vigil
7) Save the World
8) Hearts and Voices
9) I Don't Believe in Friends Forever
10) Never Again