Spoken’s first release in nearly six years, Illusion, maintains their particular style of flowing vocals and melody combined with wall-of-sound guitar chords and screaming lyrics.
The 12 track album’s first song to be released as a single was the fourth track, “Through it All”, a solid, straight-ahead, well-rounded rock song. Starting modestly but rising steadily to a powerful conclusion, this track is a nice slice of what the rest of the album has to offer.
“Shadow Over Me”, the seventh track, is the most driving, rapid song that you will find on Illusion. Teasing the listener with a few seconds of quiet melody, it quickly rips into non-stop, hammering guitar chords that you just need to bob your head to.
Spoken demonstrate their stylistic range on track eight; “Accuser”. By far the heaviest track, wasting no time getting into a screamfest, peppered with brief moments of melodic relief. When the song features guitar and drums heavily, about two minutes in, it begs for a live performance, and doubtless, mosh pits will ensue. Technically the guitar on “Accuser” is spectacular.
Looking at “Tonight”, Spoken again seems to change genres almost completely. Focusing more on a melodic – dare I say pop-punk – sound, “Tonight” feels much more like it relies on the instrumental and vocal fluidity that the band executes so well.
“Remember the Day” was one of the few weak points on this album. While still a technically good song, it feels a bit bland. This is perhaps because it doesn’t showcase the bands ability to play heavy drum and guitar lines, nor does it show much in the way of vocal range and style.
The final track on the album also happens to be the title track, “Illusion”. After a brief intro it breaks straight into hard-edged, punishing drums and hammering guitar, followed by some of the best howling vocals on the album.
What makes “Illusion” a great fit on this album and deserving of the title track is that it ties in the heaviness of songs like “Accuser” with the melodic, rising and inspirational feel of songs like “Tonight” and “Calm the Storm”.
Ultimately the album is worth a listen – even if there is an odd “filler” song on there – and moreover Illusion makes this writer want to see what these guys can do live.
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