It's been three years since we heard from England's Power Quest. Since then, they've changed labels inking a deal with Austria's Napalm Records. A band changing labels is hardly new, but a difference in sound may be more significant. Former Power Quest albums were basically straight up melodic power metal and you had no doubt. Now, with 'Master Of Illusion,' some may wonder if this is the same band. Admittedly, I was caught of guard by this release because things are not as before. After two listens, I was beginning to question how I would classify Power Quest's current sound. Sure, the melodic metal is still there, but the power appears to be toned down. At times, it seemed that Power Quest was drifting more towards melodic hard rock. Irregardless of my obvious consternation, I found 'Master Of Illusion' to be quite satisfying and probably Power Quest's best work to date.
My initial queries into the band's musical direction came within the first five tracks. All the songs have a strong and significant keyboard presence which should come as no surprise since keyboardist Steve Williams is one of the founding members. His playing is polished and creative throughout. Additionally, it is in these songs that a felt the tone of melodic hard rock more than anywhere else on the album. Don't get me wrong the metal is there, but it is more melodic metal akin to Sweden's Supreme Majesty. Of these songs, take note of 'Civilised' which has some killer guitar work and 'Master Of Illusion' which proves the band's skill in musicianship and song composition. When you get to 'The Vigil,' you may be scratching your head again because Power Quest injects some near dirty vocals into the mix. Yet, this does not diminish the song one bit. There is definitely power in this song. As you turn the corner heading into the back half of the album you are greeted by some great metal, both melodic and anthem like. 'Save The World' and 'Hearts And Voice' simply great songs in this category. 'Never Again' brings us back to the Power Quest we remember. The final number 'Reckoning Day, again surprises and pleases for it's more traditional metal sound and Alessio Garavello's astonishing vocals.
It seems I write more in a review when I either, really dig a new release from a favorite band or I'm simply challenged in my expectations from that same band. In the case of Power Quest and 'Master Of Illusion, it is both. From front to back, I think this a great work by Power Quest. The production is sterling and the songs are tremendous. If you've never listened to Power Quest before, now is the time. This is not your generic power metal; it's better. Highly recommended!
- Craig Hartranft
England's Power Quest brings forth a great new album in 'Master Of Illusion.' And some may be a little surprised: this is not the Power Quest that delivered generic power metal in the past. This is an album that finds the band pursing a groove towards more melodic metal. Sure, the power is there, but there is a greater depth, creativity, and richness to the song composition. 'Master Of Illusion' is an immensely satisfying work.
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