Sometimes you don't have to spend a lot of words on a release to make clear that you are dealing with an excellent album. Well this in a way can be said about Art Of Illusion and their album Round Square Of The Triangle. Art Of Illusion is for the outside world a brand new progressive rock group from Poland. They were founded in 2002 in Bydgoszcz but nowadays consist of Filip Wiśniewski (guitar), Pawel Lapuć (piano, keyboards), Mateusz Wiśniewski (bass) and Kamil Kluczyński (drums).
Round Square Of The Triangle was released in 2014 and is their debut album on the progressive rock scene. And what a debut this album is! From start to finish you hear what remarkable musicians they are. They master their instruments all the way and show a lot of musical craftsmanship. Furthermore, the ten compositions they wrote for this album are of an unbelievable high level. The tracks are divided between instrumentals and songs that feature vocals. On all of them, they show how well they can write complex music which have a lot of difficult time signatures and solos performed on the keyboards and electric guitars. The guitar and keyboards are equally opposite and the rhythm section can't be shaken off and fights skill fully through every change of pace. The style they move towards can be described as progressive rock combined with a sharp heavy metal sound. This is above all very melodic, with rich arrangements in harmony and with technical proficiency creating a captivating musical palette of colours and moods. After all this is said you can say that Art Of Illusion can best be classified as having a tendency towards symphonic rock in the division prog metal.
Most of the tracks are fantastic up-tempo pieces with the exception of Shattered Mirror, a ballad with a more dramatic ending. Although the initial part of Rite Of Fire also could be seen as a ballad, but since the middle part manifests itself with strong fast instrumental elements, this track can be considered as a mixed piece of music. On the more up tempo instrumentals, you can compare the band most of all with an act such as Dream Theater. However when the vocals of guest lead singer Marcin Walczak occur in their compositions For Her, Shattered Mirror and The Rite Of Fire, they move more towards a band such as Riverside. A band from Estonia strangely enough also came to mind. Namely X-Panda who released their excellent debut album Flight Of Fancy (see review) in 2011-an album which also includes strong instrumentals which goes music wise towards a kind of prog metal style. Moreover, the album also includes a couple of tracks on which vocals can be heard.
The two other guest musicians on the album provide a little bit of variety on the album and therefore have to be mentioned as well. On The Triangle, you can hear Tomasz Glazik on the baritone saxophone and on For Her you can hear Emilia Mielewczyk on the flute.
Although it took Art Of Illusion almost 10 years to realise the songs on Round Square Of The Triangle, you can say that they still sound as fresh as if they were written today. This comes down mainly to the fact that the album was so well produced with the modern technology that was available. This was just what the songs needed when they were recorded. This way the instrumental tracks with a rich arrangement, a large number of virtuosic solos and a dynamic rhythm section could be heard the best possible way! Highly recommended to fans of Dream Theater and Riverside in particular!
****+ Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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