without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Here is a great story of how persistence and hard work ultimately pays off. Modern power metal band Nostradameus have been around the metal scene since before the turn of the century and have released solid material since their inception. Unfortunately, however, Nostradameus are considered to be in the second to third tier (in terms of popularity and success) of power metal bands; a few notches down from the bigger and more popular bands that are out there. Continuing to work hard over the years, (in my opinion) Nostradameus have finally reached their opus, their breakthrough release; and it is called ‘Illusion’s Parade’.
After their first three CDs which were based upon the band’s namesake, they then moved away from writings about the French apothecary, author and predictor, and delved into more typical modern power metal writing material. Shaping themselves over the next two CDs (2004’s ‘Hellbound’ and 2007’s ‘Pathway’), Nostradameus slowed down their sound and infused a modern aggressive power metal sound, slightly abandoning the European style melodic metal. The band, after those two releases, still seemed to be in good stead after this natural progression and reinvention.
Still, despite the solid albums, and in turn making a name for themselves, this quintet from Gothenburg were only making average sized waves in the vast metal ocean. Another issue at this time had to do with consistency with their song-writing and the production of their releases. Further improvements were needed if this band was to break into the higher realms of metal success.
So like a butterfly emerging out of a cocoon, Nostradameus have done the same, slicing through the shackles and appearing stronger than ever with their latest album ‘Illusion’s Parade’. The progression and improvement the band has made since the flat sounding ‘Pathway’ is amazing. Strong, powerful and aggressive, ‘Illusion’s Parade’ has a harder and angrier edge to it than any previous releases. The lyrics, like the music, have also improved immensely, driven by dark and brooding emotions. Sounding irate and spiteful, the message throughout the release is certainly very clear.
Vocalist of the band, Freddy Persson has always been a favourite of mine, due to his intricate, emotional tones. There is a natural harshness in his voice that grabs the attention of the listener and keeps it there for its entirety. With great range, style and delivery; I can hear comparisons of Persson with other emotional vocalists such as Iron Savior’s Piet Sielck and Tool’s Maynard James Keenan. It goes without saying that Persson does a remarkable job on this album, and is one of the key factors in terms of its greatness.
The issues Nostradameus had on previous CDs can now all be crossed off with ‘Illusion’s Parade’. I speak of the improved song-writing, which includes catchy, heavy and memorable tracks. This darker sound the band has produced on the album works well, portraying tendencies found in modern thrash metal. The band has matured greatly in such a short span of time, and the polished and refined music on the disc speaks volumes of the band’s dedication to succeed. “Nothing” is, in my opinion, the best Nostradameus song I’ve heard in quite some time. With blistering power and melody, and a kick ass chorus; everything slots together perfectly to make for a real killer track. Other top songs on the album include the aggressive “Armageddon Forever”, “Art of Deception”, CD opener “Walk of Pain” and lastly “The Mariner”.
Nostradameus have finally found the style, sound and feel that they have been striving for over the past few years and I for one am very surprised on how good this album is. Although ‘Illusion’s Parade’ is not what you would call a true masterpiece, it is however an excellent CD and easily Nostradameus’ best release to date. With this album, I do expect this band to rise in popularity and hopefully reach up to that next rung on the metal ladder. Persistence and hard work have finally paid off for Nostradameus and this release is the fruit of their labour. ‘Illusion’s Parade’ should appeal to most if not all power metal fans, but in particular, fans of bands like Mystic Prophecy, Iced Earth, Firewind, Kiuas, Brainstorm and Thunderstone.
Originally written for both www.themetalforge.com and www.metalcdratings.com (2010)
Illusion's Parade marks the sixth full length studio release from the band Nostradameus, and shows that this band is far from done. Illusion's Parade is one of the band's better releases with some really heavy tracks that are insanely addictive and sometimes moving, proving that this band is still slowly maturing. Could this finally be the release that will make this notorious name become common with this band and not the prohecies of the man that inspired the name and much of their previous works?
All signs point to a pretty good possibility. Right from the start with "Walk of Pain" and "Art of Deception", the listener will be hooked thanks to the very intense and fast paced music, as well as the incorporation of gutterals in the track "Art of Deception" that really do help make the song more intense. After that, many of the songs that follow don't quite have the same impact, but have some more substance to them then just intensity. Take "Nothing" for example, this song has the potential to be as heavy as the first two, but instead it's a little more toned down and has more going on musically for it then just speedy guitar riffs and drums.
This album does manage to do something that is hard for many out there anymore, and that is to end on the same kind of high note that it started off with. "Armageddon Forever" is a heavily distorted track that follows suit with "Art of Deception" but has some screaming instead of gutteral and is an intense track, even if the chorus is not as catchy. "Time for Madness", however, doesn't quite live up to "Walk of Pain" but it's still a very well done slower track, better then half the other slower tracks on here, and is powerful enough to stay lodged in your head, sending the album off well.
All praise aside, there are some downer tracks on here. Given how impressive the music could be by this band, as well as how enjoyable some of the slower tracks could be, there are others out there that just feel like filler. "The Mariner" is a good slower paced track, but it's a bit of rocky track. If you give it some time to grow on you, the song is actually not that bad and, really, only a let down because it follows to really heavy tracks that build up your expectations. "Eclipse of the Sun Cult", however, is a bit of a let down and feels very generic. You also have the more "epic" track on here, "Broken Soul (Virgin Mary)" which, again, is not a bad track, it's just that by the time you get half way through it to the guitar solo, you'll lose your interest. Much of the song has typical music, even though it's performed well enough that it doesn't get repetative. The instrumental track "Illusion's Parade" right after it, however, definitely doesn't help the album move along smoothly and could easily be skipped.
When it comes down to it, Illusions Parade is easily one of the band's most promising releases. It has some of the best material that the band has ever composed, and has enough to really bring the name out moreso in the Metal world then it did before. There are some toned down tracks here that seem a bit too bland and generic, given how the album begins, as well as ends. The truth of the matter is that this is still a very impressive release that anyone can pick up and instantly enjoy. Even though "The Mariner", "Eclipse of the Sun Cult" and "Broken Soul (Virgin Mary)" will probably lose their appeal after a few spins, there's still a good amount of highly enjoyable material here to have you coming back for more.
Originally posted on Apoch's Metal Review
It seems like only yesterday that I first heard this band and thought their first few records (Words of Nostradameus and The Prophet of Evil) showed some potential for the field of melodic German power/speed metal. Since then, their output has had a mixed quality, each album offering a few hooky tunes and the rest forgettable. Illusion's Parade is their sixth offering, and though it does absolutely nothing to offend, it suffers again from a lack of memorable writing.
Alas, this is the only complaint I can make here, because from a technical standpoint, the album sounds great. The tones are rather raw for power metal, the band wisely avoids the over-produced, over-tracked logistical nightmare that several of their peers hold as the standard for their recordings. The guitars have bite and power, whether in the driving rhythms of "The Mariner" bridge riffs, or the anthemic, classically fused rhythms of "Walk On Pain" or "Armageddon Forever". The vocals of Freddy Persson can explore highs and even growls, but he usually walks the path between, for a harsher sound akin to Piet Sielck (Iron Savior). Throughout the album, there are electronic beats/elements often incorporated into the rhythms. You could say it was a 'modern' power metal album, and truth be told, more complex than most of the sword-wielding, rainbow flower offerings out there. Some of the better songs here, "Nothing" had the most glory and emotion, and "Eclipse ov the Suncult" and "Armageddon Forever" the best riffs.
Illusion's Parade is tight, efficient and show's a maturity in the band's writing since their earlier era at the turn of the century. Despite its many qualities, it just doesn't stand out much in the writing department. Worth hearing if you like your power metal with some thrash/progressive elements and good musicianship, but there are no hymns you'll be thinking of a decade from now.
Highlights: The Mariner, Nothing, Eclipse ov the Suncult, Armageddon Forever