As I still wade through 2016’s releases, I try to review stuff that I liked, was worth my time or an actual CD was sent. One such release that crossed all three boxes was the debut full length album from Finland’s Illusions Dead. With an odd moniker, generic art and the dreaded black/death metal tag, I wasn’t sure what to expect initially, but curiosity got the better of me, and I try to cover any band that still puts the effort into a physical promo.
What I got was a earthy, dirty take on 90s melodic death metal with an innate layer of Finnish discordance, and a very surprising album that has some unique charm in today’s cookie cutter works. Though with some strains of the 90s greats, this isn’t a clean , bouncy, airy, dancing, happy take on melodeath, thought there are some clever melodies. Whether by the production budget or by design, the production is rough and ready with a nice primal crunch, not dissimilar to Argoslent. The vocals are a mix of decent bellow and a blackened Peter Peter Tägtgren rasp, but do the job.
Opener “Incursion” sets the bar pretty high with a nice authoritative opening riff that actually reminded me the recent Our Place of Worship is Silence effort. Unfortunately it’s the album’s shortest cut, and the bar isn’t quite reached again for the same level of beef and melody, even if pretty solid. The rest of the 7 songs are longer and have a little more skip in them, being less burly , and more blackened than the opener. There’s some decent variety from the slower moments of “Tormentor of the Weak” and “Hour of the Raven” (which comes closest to pure, classic melo-death) to a rangy 7 minute number in “Revolution (Celestial Spheres)” and even a sudden acoustic bridge in the closer “Illusions Dead”.
Penultimate track “The Way of the Deceiver”,another shorter number, comes the closest to matching the opener, bringing another smile to my face and hoping these guys can continue to grow and deliver a more grimy take on melodic death metal and hopefully get signed soon.[Visit the band's website]