Sometimes power and heavy metal sound contrived and kitschy, a world of dragons and fair maidens and a whole lot of annoying melodies. But then, sometimes, things just manage to sound right, and Sweden's Dark Illusion is a fine example of the second.
Formed way back in 1982, the band never got around to record a full length album, they broke down at about 1985, seemingly dropping off metal's history pages. In 2003 Niklas Tengblad, an original band member, decided to re-form the band, in a different line-up, and this is the band first release.
There's nothing new or modern about the music they make, its heavy metal, pure and simple, stripped down to base and bare, but it’s the professionalism and honesty that make it stand out among countless other metal albums I've listened to in the last few years.
Opening with the strong “Night Knight”, the band makes its intentions immediately clear, its mid tempo heavy metal with power metal antics, its heavy enough without sounding dated, at the center stands the voice of Thomas Vikstrom, a powerful, classic sounding metal vocalist, but the rest of the band perform admirably as well, the track, written by the original members some twenty years back, works great, it sounds like what it is, classic 80's metal, but it benefits from the quality modern production and the kind of energetic playing that was missing from most bands of that time.
“Warrior” is another winner, it fluctuates between acoustic and electric segments, bringing to mind such great metal songs as Iron Maiden
's “Children Of The Damned”, it may be corny, but it works. The lyrics are as can be expected; a combination of every metal cliché known to man, but it doesn’t matter! The combination of the metal lyrics and the 80's sounding quality metal music clicks together.
This album is going to get plenty of rotation with me, its just fun, melodic heavy metal, it doesn’t try to be something it isn’t, it doesn't exert its resources, it just comes to show off some great sounding metal, and that's all it needs.