Ian Parry has been making music for more than two decades now and he's released many albums with different bands. However, he also has a solid solo career and Visions is his first album since 1995's Thru the Looking-Glass.
As is the case with Parry's Consortium Project material, most of the songs on Visions were co-written by his friends from Elegy, the Consortium Project, and even Germany's Vanden Plas. The Lill brothers, particularly Stephan Lill on guitars, appear on more than half the tunes. Actually the music of three songs was composed by him: the largely acoustic ballad "(For) Another Day", which features a melodic chorus; the straight-up rocker "Fallin'", with a cool sing-along part; and the hard rock-styled "Smiley People" whose Journey-like arrangement is great. Lill also plays leads on several tunes, of which the Middle Eastern-flavoured "Lovin' A Stranger" stands out the most.
Joshua Dutrieux plays all keys and piano on the album, but he also switches to guitar on the Euro metal piece "Anything So Easy". Other than that, the entirely piano-based ballad "No Mans Land" was composed by him with Parry adding the lyrics and vocal melodies. Speaking of Parry, his instantly recognisable vibrato permeats all the tunes, particularly the opening track "Innocent Minds", by far the best track on the album. Parry duets with a female singer (Judith Rijnveld) throughout the verses, but belts out his trademark screams during the crunch-filled choruses. The album's oddball piece has to be "Slip Away". A tune composed by Parry alone, it has a rather modern vibe to it, with odd electronic elements surrounding a great bass groove and acoustic guitars.
On the US version, there's a bonus track titled "How Far Will You Go", which is another classic Ian Parry tune with lots of arena rock guitars and swirls of keyboard work.
With all that said, the album doesn't really possess a very cohesive feel. Rather, it comes across as a compilation of tunes which were written by different musical minds. Some of the cuts could have benefited more from focused songwriting. It would be really cool to see Parry collaborating with artists who he didn't work with prior, so he could offer us a more unique piece of work. Other than that, Parry's vocals are still at their best and, for those valuing his vocals foremost, Visions will not disappoint his fan base.
The production was handled by the great sound master Markus Teske, mostly known for his work with Symphony X and Vanden Plas among others. The booklet contains lots of information on who played what (there are close to twenty guests on the album), song credits, and lots of photos from the recording sessions.
- Innocent Minds
- Anything So Easy
- Fools Don't Cry
- (For) Another Day
- Smiley People
- Slip Away
- Lovin' a Stranger
- No Mans Land
- How Far Will You Go (US bonus track)