Nostradameus
Illusion's Parade

Sometimes you run into bands that have elements that you really like, but those elements never quite come together completely. That’s the case for me with Nostradameus’ Illusion’s Parade. There’s quite a bit to like, but not enough to raise it above other power metal contenders.

For the most part, the music packs more of a punch than your average power metal act. The riffs of guitarists Jake Freden and Lennart Specht often have just as much thrash and traditional metal as power metal. Vocalist Freddy Persson has a little grit in his voice and doesn’t go for the ridiculously high note often. There aren’t many over-the-top flourishes. It’s straight-forward, melodic and often fairly heavy for the genre.

I particularly like the second track, “The Art of Deception,” which brings the most aggressive feel on the record with more of a thrash style in the guitars and some growly vocals from Persson. “Eclipse ov the Suncult,” likewise, has a heavier feel, and if all of the songs were in the vein of these two, I think I’d be singing the praises of this record. Often, though, the songs don’t really distinguish themselves, like “Nothing.” There’s nothing really bad about the tune, but there’s nothing really that great about it either. It’s just kind of a flat moment.

The band goes for the big epic number on “Broken Soul (Virgin Mary)” which opens with some smooth moody guitar work that impresses, but the next portion of the song that tries to build the dramatics drags on for a little too long before getting to another one of those flat verses that sounds like something I’ve heard hundreds of times before. There are bits and pieces of the song that are pleasing, but they’re lost in what’s largely uninteresting fare.

There are a couple of other solid moments on the record. The Blind Guardian-flavored “The Mariner” is not bad, and “Armageddon Forever” returns to that heavier sound that set the earlier songs apart. In places, the latter almost shows an In Flames influence.

Fans of the more aggressive brand of power metal will want to give this a listen for “The Art of Deception” and “Eclipse ov the Suncult” at least. In a year with fewer records in this style, I might like Illusion’s Parade better, but when a new Brainstorm record came in the same envelope, it didn’t have much of a chance.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Fred Phillips
April 5th, 2010

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