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Time Requiem - Optical Illusion - 2006 - Regain Records

Track Listing
1. Sin To Sin
2. The Talisman
3. Optical Illusion
4. The Ashen Soul
5. Ocean Wings
6. Creator In Time
7. Miracle Man
8. Sphere Of Fantasy
Over just the past few years, the name of Richard Andersson has leapt from near total obscurity to the elite circle of Swedish performers. His numerous projects have explored different avenues of progressive music with the help of an impressive array of well-known musicians. Aside from the neoclassical Space Odyssey, likely his most well known endeavor, he also is the mastermind of Time Requiem, a more technical and ensemble-styled project.

One wouldn’t suspect it, though, as ‘Optical Illusion’, the group’s newest, features an entirely new line-up (aside from Andersson, obviously) than the one before it. This generally occurs with bands like Death, which was essentially a vehicle for Chuck’s talent while the other members were little more than supplements (arguably). Time Requiem, though, is not used as an exclusive platform for Andersson to show off his skills, and while his keyboards are prominently featured, they are not the sole driving factor of the album. Göran Edman is the new vocalist for the group, and his voice falls somewhere between Russell Allen and Ray Alder, though not quite as timeless as either, and his melodies here are memorable and fitting for the style. Space Odyssey veteran Magnus Nilsson plays guitar here and maintains excellent poise while keeping up with Andersson’s racing fingers, no mean feat by any standards.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of progressive metal is achieving a balance between the peculiar time signatures, looping arpeggios, and other technical quirks that define the style itself and actually writing cohesive songs that people will want to listen to. With ‘Optical Illusion’, Time Requiem have struck that balance. Richard Andersson’s truly remarkable performance here would be irrelevant and frankly unimpressive if it were not part of an equally remarkable, tangible basis in emotion that allows and invites the audience to appreciate the material on a personal level instead of simply a critical one.

Space Odyssey and Time Requiem are fairly similar groups, both falling under the category of prog/power metal, but their styles are different enough that the creation of two separate groups is merited. Time Requiem is the more structurally progressive of the two and its general mood would be at times more appropriate for throwback prog rock than the power metal of today. The blatantly 80’s rocker ‘Miracle Man’, for example, or the piano chords backing the solo on the title track. Other tracks are not quite so heavy-handed in that respect, but a vintage mood is indeed prevalent throughout, giving the album a strange familiarity from the first listen.

These aforementioned 80’s influences are really the only overbearing parts of ‘Optical Illusion’, and not the progressive noodling that one might suspect. ‘Miracle Man’ is a change of pace, and therefore cannot be faulted too much, but its presence is simply unnecessary. The melodramatic soul-searching in ‘Ocean Wings’, too, is a dead weight. Perhaps not for a live show, somewhere in time where the mullet and spandex ballad lives on, but not today. Still, these are but temporary hiccups, and the rest of ‘Optical Illusion’ evokes Angra, Pagan’s Mind, or Stratovarius rather than B-side Van Halen.

Richard Andersson may still be a name unknown to the average metal fan, but if albums like ‘Optical Illusion’ continue to dance from his fingers and mind, he will soon be mentioned alongside (if not above) countryman Jens Johansson as the best in the business.




--Etiam 09.30.06

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: TIME REQUIEM
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Optical IllusionTime Requiem
2006
Etiam10/13/2006


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