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Illusions Dead: Celestial Decadence

There's a definite sense of being left in two minds by Celestial Decadence, the melodic death debut from Finland's Illusions Dead. On the one hand, the first thing that meets you as this band's tortured but sweet vision unfolds is that it is hugely hampered by a thick production that feels like a claggy broth you have to wade through. A lack of separation between instruments, voice and drums leaving the songs struggling for breath. Deep down however you can't quite shake off the feel that "Incursion" and "Devoured By Hatred" have a lot going for them, the voice of Johannes Katajamäki a towering rasp, his guitar work combining with that of Jake Lastujoki with a real sense of purpose and direction. That the drum thunder is struck with a huge sense of precision from Akseli Auralinna and that the bass pummelling from Mikael Aalto is the thick, dripping glue that binds it all perfectly together, should seal the deal. However the slower, more melodically inclined moments such as that in "Shadow And Flame" – the passages where Celestial Decadence should be weaving an intricate pattern and drawing you in – simply meander. Instead of creating atmosphere and heightening the impact, they just lumber along with no real purpose or meaning. It's a real oversight and one that you feel could be make or break for Illusions Dead, especially when the torrent of convincing anger recommences with zero fanfare or even introduction.

Unfortunately when mixed with the foggy production, the band's inability to make the forays from the beaten path particularly believable is compounded by the similarity from song to song, Celestial Decadence one of those albums that you can find yourself five tracks further on than you realised. And yet, I still have to take into account that when Illusions Dead are good, they are very good and it would be hasty indeed to write them off – even if the guitar squeals and squeaks in "Tormentor Of The Week" almost has you switching the track off before the mightiest riff on the album unfolds. Ensuring that the one thing that reins from start to finish, is confusion...

Track Listing
1. Incursion
2. Devoured By Hatred
3. Shadow and Flame
4. Hour of the Raven
5. Revolution (Celestial Spheres)
6. Tormentor of the Weak
7. The Way of the Deceiver
8. Illusions Dead

Added: September 17th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Illusions Dead at bandcamp
Hits: 1294
Language: english

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