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Out of this world ! - 100%

Livingwave17, November 13th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2014, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

What is music? A bunch of noises piled up together to build a specific sound that a person looks for. Most people will just hear music, some will actually listen to it and very few will completely understand it. These are the people that create something truly unique. They are very few and they are set aside from a world of so-called artists by one thing. It's not how big they become as musicians for the eyes of the world. It's how big of a world music becomes for them. Such people are "An Abstract Illusion". And when you listen to this kind of music, it becomes so much more than sounds. It becomes a whole new universe.

This is a small band from Sweden. Very few people know them and I am very lucky to be one of these people. In a 10 year life as a band, they only have one EP and a full length album. Yet these two releases are more than enough to prove what these people can really do. I'm not talking about extremely impressive technique, complicated song writing or anything that you can think of. I'm talking about the purest sound you can imagine, and the raw emotion poured into the songs. Very few bands have given me this feeling. It's like you're diving into another world, and experiencing things that you didn't think were real. I know that I sound like I'm high on something but bare with me. The whole idea with this music is that it makes you feel like you're high on something.

"Atonement is Nigh" is as awesome as it gets. How much genius can one pour into 30 minutes of music? Now the music itself isn't out of this world virtuosity. You do get a fair amount of shredding, beautiful guitar harmonies as well, masterful keyboard work and fantastic drums. The genre mixes ideas of black metal, progressive metal, and lots of atmospheric and melodic stuff added to it. It could be a mix of Wintersun and Negura Bunget yet it sounds miles away from both of them. I would say it's a lot like a "Christmassy Wintersun". The overall sound is quite atmospheric. It does sound big and epic at times, yet it's not the kind of music to bring breakdowns and head banging grooves. It's a lot more about the harmony and atmosphere that it creates. You get two faces to the sound. Sometimes it's warm, soft and quite mysterious and other times it switches to a cold and harsh almost scorching feeling. You get beautiful harmonies alongside soothing piano and clean vocals alongside harsh black metal drums, tremolo picks and heavy growls and screams. It's very hard to describe the sound but I would say that the key word behind it all is "haunting". Yet it's all very abstract. You should check it out if you want to understand how it feels. Just these three songs pack up enough energy to leave you breathless.

The first song is an epic 16 minute long track with lots of mood swings and awesome instrumental ideas. You get both clean and harsh vocals on this one and a true emotional roller coaster. Some bits that really caught my eye are a storm of drums alongside a long harsh growl at about halfway through the song and a smooth piano solo after the second chorus. And the chorus itself is a melodic powerful centerpiece for the song. Again very hard to describe. The chorus reprise at the end of the song is a great way to end this track and flow into the next on The second track, titled "Rain" is probably one of the best songs that I have ever heard in terms of songwriting. It is a slow instrumental song that creates a warm and soft atmosphere. I would recommend listening to it at night with a good set of headphones. It is that kind of song that you should listen when you are alone, with your eyes closed, your mind empty and your soul wide open. There is no point describing this song.

Finally the third track brings some dynamic with some grooving riffs and faster growls. It still starts slowly like everything else and evolves into this balanced and powerful sound. The haunting atmosphere is still there through this song too but this time with some chilly peppers added to it. In the end it fades back to a slow piano melody. This melody is the same idea that opens the debut album released two years later. It is a beautiful and masterful way to end this amazing record.

Now one thing that I have to tell you is that the concept for this band is definitely going to get you thinking. Again, everything is abstract and you cannot say that it is about a certain subject, yet it spins around the idea of escaping this world. The first songs seems to describe death as transcendence, as leaving this world and joining the universe. It almost feels like death is something good, as it sets you free from this world. I know it sounds creepy but it's not. It's a wonderful way to look at life, expecting nothing but "Atonement" when everything is over. There are so many things that I could say and think when looking at the lyrics, but again it would serve no purpose as my words simply cannot describe the genius of it.

This band is beyond imagination. Knowing that they are just some simple people that nobody has heard of and that they have created something so beautiful can only raise my highest admiration and respect for them. Their music is like having a warm cup of tea by a fireplace with the smell of cinnamon around and a sleepy cat under your chair, while a winter storm rages outside. I can only end by saying one thing. Dive into this band, and they will take you away to undiscovered universes. While their lyrics suggest that they want to escape this world, maybe what they haven't realized is that they have created one.

Enjoy !!!