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Illusion: Mysteries & Secrets Revealed!

Housed in an attractive, colorful digi-pak tri-fold with excellent art direction owing to '50s pulp, the new full-length album by Missouri-based Illusion follows the 6x4=1992 CD EP and live CD EP/DVD/VHS release, Memphis After Dark. A quasi-Lovecraftian concept album concerning encounters with the paranormal, Mysteries & Secrets Revealed! covers a mantle solidly forged in the '70s by acts like Blue Oyster Cult, Golden Earring, Thin Lizzy, early Deep Purple, and Rush circa Caress Of Steel.

Despite not having a fulltime keyboard player—lead guitarist John Patrick, drummer Jon Roybal, and primary vocalist Doug Tucker all play 'boards on the side—fans of the aforementioned groups will be attracted to Mysteries' nostalgic bent. Inspect the lead guitar lines in "World's Edge" and "Rusted" for many Lifeson-isms; the opening of "The House" features Patrick burning it up a la Scott Gorham and Buck Dharma. "Cry For A Stranger" is a charming ballad led by Patrick's acoustic guitar, followed by a provisionally-upbeat rocker (as per the majority of the album), "Dangerous." The motif of "Night Prey" is more than a tad familiar (not a negative implication), and the penultimate number, "Second Sight," begins with a bass intro, making one wonder where bassist Ron Smith was hiding all this time amidst the sonic salvos. And yes, a little something extra awaits you [long] after the false ending of "Empty."

Tucker's voice is tailor-made for this style of hard rock, an appealing combination of Ians Gillan & Anderson, sans the latter's eccentricities. Expectedly, chord and song progressions don't deviate from beaten paths, but when certain dies are cast so ably regarding Illusion's delivery, the music is hard to take to task. The production is excellent, Patrick's lead & solo work is top-notch, and the rhythm section of Roybal & Smith sums up a very tight foundation for good ol' honest hard rockin.' If anything could or can be added, it should be a full-time keyboardist (some of the songs cry out for gritty Hammond licks & solos) to draw Illusion's sound closer toward the Purple end of the Rainbow.

Added: April 22nd 2003
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: Illusion Rock
Hits: 3233
Language: english

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