Delusion Squared are a French trio who formed in 2009. They've already released two albums in the past: in 2010 they recorded their eponymous debut album (see review), which was followed by II (see review) in 2012. The band consists of Lorraine Young (vocals), Emmanuel de Saint Méen (bass and keyboards) and Steven Francis (guitars and drums).
The Final Delusion is their third release and the last part of a fictional story about a top secret medical experiment, conducted in 1969. The main goal was to create better soldiers for military use through administering drugs, chemicals and toxic substances and, for this purpose, these were tested extensively on soldiers. The first part, Ordeal, contains four songs. The first one, The Same River Thrice, is a short and typically modern prog instrumental with influences of Porcupine Tree and IQ. A very nice start, but unfortunately the second song Diaspora, immediately shows the weakest part of this band. Lorraine's voice is too common and mainstream for a progressive rock band; a little bit too small and thin, and therefore not in balance with the heavy guitar licks and powerful drums. In the third song Patient Zero, the acoustic guitar and spoken words are a much better match. In Reason Of State, it's easy to hear the connection with Queensryche'' master piece Operation Mindcrime (1988). Some good musical ideas are very finely worked out here; from delicate progressive rock, to rough rocking prog and back. The first song of the second part, Awareness, is named Devil Inside. We are surprised with a different kind of synth solo, acoustic and electric guitars. Again, it's a pity to conclude that Lorraine can't pick up the necessary high level needed for this kind of music. I almost fell asleep hearing her in the Last Day Of Sun. Also, distorting her squeaky voice doesn't really help. Fortunately Emmanuel and Steven are there to keep me awake with their varied skills. The speed accelerates a lot in the first part of Finally Free. I try to imagine how good the music would be without the voice of Lorraine. The first song of part three, Deliverance, is named Prisoner's Dilemma, and that's exactly what I feel about and hope for with this band. Lorraine sings “I Leave You Now”. May my simple wish come true! The level drops to a simple singer-songwriter's tune in Black Waters. The Dire Straits guitar licks are the only interesting thing in this children's song. At the close, there's a kind of Uriah Heep Hammond organ solo. The pinnacle of boredom is audible in the campfire song By The Lake (Dying). For me it didn't feel like deliverance. The heaviest song is track no. 11, Oblivion For My Sin; fast-pounding guitars, with thumping bass and drums. The second instrumental song, Persistance Of Vision, is a little mix of Pink Floyd and Anathema with a Procol Harum organ and in the last song Deus In Machina, Lorraine lulls you into a deep sleep with her dull voice again... Poor, poor girl....
*** Cor Smeets (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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