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Dark Illusion: Where The Eagles Fly

Dark Illusion have had a long and chequered past, forming some 28 years ago the band split 1985 without getting as far as releasing any material. During the intervening years guitarist Tomas Hultqvist continued to write songs and with ex Dark Illusion rhythm guitarist Niklas Tengblad the band reformed in 2003 with Thomas Vikstrom (Candlemass, Talk Of The Town, Brazen Abott) on vocals to release a four track EP For Just Another Night. The band's first album proper, Beyond The Shadows, was put out two years later with the line up now featuring Pontus Egberg (Lion's Share) on bass. Now after another four year layoff Hultqvist, Vikstrom, Egberg and new drummer Johan Kullberg have once more revived the Dark Illusion moniker with album number two Where The Eagles Fly, which is packed with classy melodic power metal with some heavier moments and some slightly more commercial contrasts coming to the fore from time to time. Think Hammerfall mixed with the Scorpions, or Saxon with dashes of Dokken, Dio and Europe.

Most of Where The Eagles Fly rattles by at break neck speed, however there's bags of melody to temper the powerful guitars and with Vikstrom's rich, full vocals the galloping rhythms are given a classy sheen that makes them instantly memorable and enjoyable. Hultqvist creates some excellent riffs that carry the songs and with some double tracked guitars, numbers like "Running Out Of Time" or "Evil Masquerade", with its Maiden like rat-a-tat-tat snare intro really come to life. The later in particular is a stand out, it's one of the heavier and certainly slower songs with a strong Dio flavour as it marches determinedly along. Vikstrom finds a subtle blend of power and melody to make such a crunching track surprisingly upbeat without blunting the impact. One of the other highlights comes in the shape of "Land Of Street Survivor". Kullberg and Egberg charge headlong into a mid paced groove while guitar wise the sound is more akin to the Scorpions jamming with George Lynch and with the nice little keyboard touches from guest Chris Laney the end result is a tasty rocker at the more commercial end of power metal.

I haven't heard Dark Illusion's debut album or earlier EP, although on the evidence here that's something I aim to rectify. Songwriter and guitarist Thomas Hultqvist actually states about Where The Eagles Fly that he can't write any better songs than those contained here, although he can match the standard shown. I'm not sure if that's true, however more of the same would be most welcome.

Track Listing
1. My Heart Cries Out For You
2. Dark Journey
3. Land Of Street Survivor
4. Pay The Price
5. Destiny's Call
6. Evil Masquerade
7. Running Out Of Time
8. Spellbound
9. Only The Strong Will Survive
10. Epic

Added: January 22nd 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Band's Web Site
Hits: 2508
Language: english

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