Nostradameus - Illusion's parade 4/5

Reviewed: 5-1-10





Tracklist:

1. Walk of pain
2. Art of deception
3. The mariner
4. Nothing
5. Eclipse of the sun cult
6. Broken soul (Virgin Mary)
7. Illusion's parade
8. Armageddon forever
9. Time for madness


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 2nd to 3rd 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 3 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 2 CDs (2004’s ‘Hellbound’ and 2007’s ‘Pathways’), Nostradameus slowed down their sound and infused a modern aggressive power metal sound, slightly abandoning the European style melodic metal. The band, after those 2 releases, still seemed to be in good stead after this natural progression and reinvention.

Still, despite the solid CDs, 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 songwriting 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 release ‘Illusion’s parade’. The progression and improvement the band has made since the flat sounding ‘Pathways’ 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 CD, 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 songwriting, which includes catchy, heavy and memorable tracks. This darker sound the band has produced on the CD 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 CD 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 CD 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 CD, 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.



SEAN




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