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a HUGE step in the right direction!!! - 99%

dragons_secrets, May 21st, 2003

After not being able to decide between the first two..I am clearly able to declare this one their best to date. Its even much more virtoustic in places than their previous outputs, partly thanks to Mr. Roland Grapow, who plays some guest solos on this album.
This release also marks the departure of former vocalist David Henriksson, and makes way for new vocalist Ola Halen. After a long while of not being able to differenciate between the two singers I've finally decided that I liked David better. Ola Halen still handles the songs very well however, he just lacks a little depth with his singing.
Starting things off with the Introduction, yet another instrumental intro, which is on par with the other intros on the other two albums...other than that it does bring directly to mind the intro to 'Eagle Fly Free' on Helloween's 'Keeper 2' album.

After that we go directly into 'Life After Life', which is their best opening track to date. Its apparent from the beginning of this song that the new singer fits perfectly in the band. The chorus in this song is awesome and it sounds like they put alot into writing this one, the song ends just as well as it begins and it remains one of the more inspired songs on the album.

'Illusions' goes even beyond its predecessor. This song isn't quite structured the same but its chorus just as effective. Other than that it has very effective uses of the words 'shit' and 'fuck', which is rare for 'happy' power metal. The lyrics are also easy to identify with but anyway all joking aside, this remains one of my favorites from this album. It even has an awesome keyboard solo!

'Carry On' is wonderful and its just amazing how each the album keeps getting better with each track. This song is akin to 'Lost In Time' from their Sunrise in Riverland album because its also very Stratovarius sounding except for more compliated drums and singing that never can get annoying. This is one catchy as hell song..and all that topped off with a great keyboard and guitar solo makes this one even better and yet another excellent track.

'Master of My Mind' starts off with a cool keyboard intro that is soon met with heavy guitars before it blasts right into a perfect piece of classical harmony. This song would make Bach himself proud. After the classical intro the song remains just as catchy with a nice verse that goes into a Helloween like bridge and then *wammo* another GREAT chours. Ola Halen does some excellent singing on this one. If David would've done it better who knows..all I know is this is one awesome song and it again has some excellent keyboard/guitar interplay that has to be heard to be believed! The solo is awesome as well.

Track 6 marks 'Universe', which in my opinion is the weakest song on the album. And after saying that its funny how the weakest song is still so great! This one begins with a killer riff reminding us all what power metal riffage should sound like. This song is filled with some nice hooks, with a pretty effective chorus..just not as effective as usual. The song is pretty lengthy though and has some amazing passages of virtuosity all the way to the end. To break that down, this song even has a middle section that sounds like it was written by a band like Moonspell!! The solo the slower middle section is so inspired that it cannot be put into words!! And whats this?!? After that we have yet another piece of classical perfection where the keyboards and the drums seemingly dual it out. Weakest song on the album? yes I would say. Still better than most other power metal songs I've heard!

Track 7 is 'Face the King'. Ok its hard to believe, but if you thought the album was kicking ass up to this point you haven't heard anything yet!! This song is where the album starts to get even more intense!!! This song comes complete with a ballsy riff and epic overtones. Once again, even though I slightly prefer David Henriksson over the new singer, Ola Halen is still so good here that he's just about capable of making you forget they had a different singer. The rest of this song is no less great in splendor and it even has a cool bass section before its solo that sounds like thunder and lightening having it out!!

'Fantasy' is the obligitory title track that far surpasses Insania title tracks from the other albums. This song is really neck moving with its perfect gallopping verses and whats more is the chorus is even better!! This song has it all. Cool drumming, great singing, the works. And yes, this one has yet another middle section of classical virtuosity.

'Vengeance' ...?!? how in the hell does this album keep getting more bad ass as it goes along?! I think this album has one of the most perfect track placements ever. Vengeance is the heaviest song here but still doesn't slack off on the catchy hooks..if anything this song is pretty intense in that department. Once again theres a great melodic guitar solo to be found that is exectued with so much virtuosity. There is even some progressive overtones to be found on this song as well as few other songs. Could Insania be hinting at becoming more progressive? I think so.

'Mankind'..holy hell!! This is as good as it gets. Remember how I said the album keeps getting more intense how it goes along? Well this one is the culimation of all the virtuosity and melody found on the entire album..and I would go as far to say..even Insania's entire career..Thats right..best Insania song. ever! Not even the mighty Stratovarius is this consistent with writing such great epic songs. Mankind is so great its hard to describe...great verses..perfect emotional bridge...and then the best chorus Insania has ever done!! This one is so beautiful, its like the magnficance of dusk, dawn, and falling in love all rolled into one. At about 3 and a half mintues in is slow melodic guitarwork beautiful enough to make the biggest metal elitist have shivers run down their spine. It almost sounds like crying listening to it! And you'd think that they wouldn't be able to write another part after that to match the one before it..but nope..it keeps getting better and better till the song returns back to the chorus, even having the best keyboard spot on the album followed by some spoken words of wisdom dealing with nature and peace, that goes into a nice melodic break before returning back to the main riff and then the chorus. TOTAL PERFECTION.

'Reflections of Mine' is the tenth and final track and it a perfect closer. Its an instant classic with an inspired keyboard intro. Great lyrics to be found here with a chilling chorus that I'm sure will appeal to all metalheads..."I live my life my own way, don't care what other people say"...just excellent!! This song even ends with more virtousitic soloing that would make Timo Tolkki or Yngwie Malmsteen themselves nervous. Just chilling!

Overall, the only possible thing that anyone could complain about is the slight lack of depth in Ola Halen's voice. I say this album is so good that it really doesn't matter seriously!! This is the best Insania album and I dont think they could've released a better album!! As far as Im concerned this album is "Keeper 3"! Thats right, its up there..maybe better!