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Blind Illusion > Psychodelic Symphony > 1989, Cassette, Independent (Bonus tracks) > Reviews

The Riff-Salad Lacks Those Ingredients… - 63%

bayern, February 18th, 2021

you know them, the ones that made “The Sane Asylum” such a fabulous listen. Strange that just a few months later Marc Biedermann had already lost it; well, not completely but to a large extent… if we have to believe this compilation of tunes here that is. Well, he surely lost his roommates from the “The Sane Asylum” recordings very shortly after their completion, with both Les Claypool and Larry LaLonde gone to conquer the funk/alternative metal/rock scene with Primus.

This also puts a pressing question up front: is Biedermann the main mastermind behind the band’s debut, or was it the Primus duo that elevated the latter to a work of art? Not quite clear what the answer should be, but listening to this collection of tracks it’s quite obvious that Biedermann and his new recruits are miles away from the grandeur of the preceding showing. So these are outtakes from the supposed sophomore effort, the title “The Medicine Show”, with the title-track being just a short less-than-2-min balladic etude. Not much to conclude from this brief inauguration, but comes the all-instrumental “Slow Death” and things get suitably thrashy with surreal leads adding to the positive impression. Biedermann’s clean attached antics re-emerge for “Malpractice”, a meandering progressive jumper that is more on the power metal side. The man pulls himself behind the mike for one more number, “For Me I Am”, a heavy nervy semi-ballad which isn’t bad, especially with Biedermann’s tasteful licks served regularly to augment the drama. The second half is instrumentals only, four altogether, the first one wasted in a leisurely balladic mode; the second one an admirable thrash-prone shredder with another quiet interruption; the third one a weird short rock-ish vaudeville; and the last one a bouncy semi-balladic stroll with a more intense epitaph, largely a vehicle for Biedermann’s axeman skills.

If this was the base for the second full-length, then it’s kind of understandable why it didn’t see the light of day; it was going to be a disappointment. Not a huge one but still… it both sounds and feels like a sketch, like a jam-session during which the musicians are trying to see which direction would best fit their combined efforts… cause it’s obvious that the construction of another masterpiece along the lines of the first showing is simply not possible; not in the absence of the previous crew. And the guys are not even trying hard, with thrash only slightly covered, the potential outcome probably reaching the progressive power metal trajectory if having finished properly. There are ideas to be elaborated on, this is not a complete waste, but it’s by no means a step forward for Biedermann. On the contrary, this tractate could be viewed a nostalgic look back at the man’s earlier endeavours, the demo stage from the early/mid-80’s, when the Blind Illusion saga was still running on a heavy/power metal engine.

The reformation attempts in the new millennium have been straddling between the overtly embarrassing (the bluesy rock non-sense “The Demon Master”) and the pretty decent (the two new songs from the “2018” EP), the latter effort at least showing some power/speed metal prowess, the last single released so far (“Straight as the Crowbar Flies”) even upgrading the delivery to bolder thrashy strokes. Sounds like a deal? Only if the subsequent efforts of Biedermann boldly cross over the edge of sanity.

Blind Illusion - Psychedelic Symphony - 85%

Human666, July 13th, 2007

'Psychedelic Symphony ' could be a great, maybe even a classic album, like it's former one 'The Sane Asylum'. What we got here is mostly unfinished versions of songs that Biedermann wrote for a concept album. Most of the songs doesn't have vocals either but from their riffs and emotions delivered here, you can feel that it was like a continuation from where 'The Sane Asylum' ends.

It's a progressive thrash here, maybe even more complex and ambitious than their former material. It's got a strong atmosphere, but it's almost totally ruined by the pretty bad production of this demo. Everything sounds quite obscure and fragile, it's not that 'The Sane Asylum' had a solid production (it was quite bad one indeed), but the sound of this demo is much more hazy than that one, and it's very difficult to get into this demo at first listenings.

There are some marks that shows that 'Blind Illusion' stayed with the same style of their former album. There is still a chaotic, clumsy sense here which contains within a lot of emotional changes, unpredictable changes. The opener track is quite like 'The Sane Asylum', maybe just a rewritten version of that song. It clocks out exactly at 1:38 minutes, it also begins quiet and than explodes in furiously, then the vocals comes in and not much longer it's suddenly ends. It's more a prologue than a song, and it worked pretty well in 'The Sane Asylum', but it's works well also here. 'Slow Death' is quite like 'Blood Shower'. Sounds spooky and aggressive, fast and quite piercing. It's just bad that it doesn't have vocals which could really make this blasting riffage sounds awesome.

Overall, if you heard 'The Sane Asylum', I bet that this demo will be very interesting for you. It almost sounds like their classic sole album, but it can't reach it's level because this demo presents only a raw, uncompleted version of what could be, and unfortunately, the sounds quality is quite bad. I just hope that someday the finished version of this promising album will be released, it's surely got the potential to be the second asylum!