Belgium progressive power metal band Ethernity was founded by the brothers Julien Spreutels, who earned his wings as keyboard player in the band/project Epysode, and Nicolas, who plays drums. Together with cousin and bass player François Spreutels, the trio was soon joined by friends and guitar players Thomas Henry and Steve Widart. While searching for a suitable vocalist, Ethernity toured as an instrumental band. After a four year quest, finally a vocalist was found in Julie Colin, whose powerful voice was the appropriate addition to the band's music. After their debut album; The Journey, the band parted with guitarist Steve Widart in favour of Gregory Discenza. Since the debut album Ethernity kept on touring and in the meantime new compositions were written and after fine-tuning, the recordings began in their home studio. The final mix was done by DGM guitarist Simone Mularoni at Domination Studios in Italy.
Obscure Illusions turns out to be an impressive and powerful album, Simone's mix makes sure all instruments have a clear and pleasant sound; the drums really sound perfect to me, the way a power metal drummer should be heard. So credits for drum monster Nicolas and to Simone for the way they sound on this album. Both guitar players also have an amazing sharp sound, edged with a bit of roughness that makes it even more interesting to listen to. The keyboards on this album, sometimes are theatrical and sometimes melodic and adventurous. Cool progressive solos go hand in hand with smooth layers of spheres and gentle parts, played on the piano. The opener False Lamentations immediately sets the pace for the entire album; full speed ahead, so is the continuing Entities, a song that has an intriguing opening, big guitars and smooth vocals, working perfectly together. Shadows On The Wall adds an extra step, even more furious and slightly faster than the previous two songs, power metal where Julie's vocals remind me of a band called Chastain. More relaxed are the following compositions; Secret Door and Never Thought (You Would Make Me Go). The speed goes down a bit, but still the djent style guitar leaves it's mark, although the songs are very melodic and keyboard orientated. With Rancor, XIII and Alone, we get songs that style wise would fit in the Pagan's Mind and DGM areas, just with a twist and female vocals. Broken Memories sees the addition of electronics to the heaviness, while After All Has Turned To Pain returns to a slower pace and focussing on strong melodies and emotion. Ready for the big finale, we first get a tension building Interlude, with spoken words in a cool accent. This Interlude works its way to the final composition on the album; Obscure Illusions. A true epic in power metal style, theatrical piano and keyboards open the song and the building of the power begins, adding vocal parts of DGM's vocalist Mark Basile, Tom. E Englund (Evergrey) and Kelly Sundown Carpenter (Firewind, Outloud). All vocalist are perfectly chosen and stand for the music that holds this album. A worthy end to a powerful album. The perfect highlight comes at the end of this album!
Ethernity has surprised me with Obscure Illusions, which turns out to be a very pleasant album. Overall the compositions are very powerful; staccato riffs and furious double bass drums are the basics for most of them. The extra sauce we get from the incredibly inventive keyboards, that add a theatrical feel to Ethernity's music. The topping comes from Julie's vocals, not the gentle kind, but more in vein of Chastain's Leather Leone, which means power.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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