Coming from Greece, Artical was created by guitarist and drummer Mike Dimareli as an instrumental neo-classical power metal project, with his guitar skills at the forefront. Now into his third album, Illusion X, has morphed into a vocal power metal band with Mark Boals (Malmsteen, Royal Hunt, et al) as guest vocalist.
While Illusion X is definitely a power metal, but you would think so at the start. The first two songs, Look In The Mirror and Chasing My Life, offer any interesting contrast. The former is moderately paced with a dense and foreboding sound with Dimareli's guitar leads downplayed. The latter song switches gears entirely for a rush of power metal and, excepting for a synth breakdown just after the midpoint doesn't stop galloping. Then, once more, Artical slows it down with I Am So Different, a metal anthem led at the start by piano, then finishing with Boal's vocals and Dimareli's guitars soaring. Follow The Light is similar, just drop the piano. Wings Of Time mixes tempos, starting steady then finishing with speed.
And so it goes. One song you're rushing along, the next you're getting an epic metal romp as with the title cut, one of the best songs. Illusion X ends with something completely different. Mother is definitely a ballad, but not a metal ballad. Mostly piano and synth orchestration carrying Boals voice, it seems to be Dimareli's touching tribute to his mother, but I'm not sure who wrote the lyrics. All in All, Illusion X is solid stuff, with Dimareli and Artical accomplishing what he intended from the start, creating good neo-classical power metal. Easily recommended.
Illusion X is solid stuff, with Mike Dimareli and Artical accomplishing what he intended from the start, creating good neo-classical power metal. Easily recommended.
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