Time Requiem - Optical Illusion
Regain Records
Neo-classical prog metal
8 songs (50'11)
Release year: 2006
Time Requiem, Regain Records
Reviewed by Marty
Keyboard wizard Richard Andersson is back with another Time Requiem album. Flipping back and forth between this band and his Richard Andersson's Space Odyssey project is keeping this guy pretty busy as of late. For the first two Time Requiem albums, we were treated to some very well executed technical progressive metal with a decidedly Malmsteen-like neo-classical tone that featured tons of lead guitar and keyboard trade-offs and the amazing vocals of Apollo Panthanasio. For this new album, Optical Illusion, the Yngwie inspired neo-classical edge is still ever present but some new territories are explored with respect to a broader progressive rock feel with more atmospheric passages and interludes. Lead vocals this time are provided by Goran Edman (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, Nikolo Kotzev) with Apollo Panthanasio taking over the reins as the new lead vocalist for Gus G.'s band Firewind. In fact, Richard Andersson had Goran Edman's voice in mind throughout the entire writing process for the album. Recorded and mastered at Andersson's Lipton Studio, the writing and recording process this time was much faster than usual with the whole album being finished in just over two months. Front cover artwork was courtesy of Mattias Noren who has done work in the past for Evergrey, Ayreon and Stratovarius.

Sin To Sin gets things underway nicely with Goran adding a very spirited Michael Kiske style vocal over a neo-classical flavored track that features a great chorus. Very tightly syncopated guitar and keyboard lead trade-offs are aplenty with Richard's keyboards having the same distorted sound as the guitar and he uses some very tasteful pitch bending on certain notes to approximate the lead guitar sound. Tracks like The Talisman venture more into the progressive realm of bands like Arena and Vanden Plas with the heavy emphasis on the keyboards. The title track Optical Illusion, has epic symphonic Rhapsody qualities all wrapped up in some great melodic prog metal with very cool intricate riffing. Charging, classically themed Rainbow-like qualities are found with The Ashen Soul which borrows a few vocal melodies from A Light In The Black. Ocean Wings shows more of the Arena styled progressive rock, mixing acoustic guitar work with speedier Malmsteen styled scale runs. Creator In Time sounds similar to Yngwie's Dark Ages from the Trilogy album with it's plodding tempo and with Goran Edman providing one of his best performances on the album. Catchy and melodic, the chorus is outstanding and Goran even ventures a little into Dio territory with his vocal style on this track. Miracle Man is a solid mid tempo melodic track with great front pickup Fender Strat riffing by guitarist Magnus Nilsson; paying homage to both Jimi Hendrix and Malmsteen. For the final track, Sphere Of Fantasy, Richard takes a crack at some speedy Stratovarius like power metal. Goran's vocals alternate between a Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius) style for the verses and Klaus Meine (Scorpions) for the chorus section.

With Optical Illusion, we have many hailing this as the best Time Requiem album yet. It certainly is a great album with no real apparent "filler" tracks but a few tracks do stand out over the others. If there's any fault to be found with this album, it's in the overuse of lengthy lead guitar/keyboard soloing. Some will love it but after a while, it gets a bit monotonous. If you're into this sort of guitar and keyboard "wankery", there are lots here to get your fix. Goran Edman's voice is outstanding throughout and he was a perfect choice as the vocalist for this album. It's hard to put this one up against the first two albums as they were both great as well. Optical Illusion is certainly as good but time will tell if it is in fact the best one yet.

I hear that Yngwie's back in the studio writing a new album. It's been rumoured that Richard Andersson was once offered a gig in Yngiwe's band but turned it down. Too bad....he writes far superior Yngwie styled neo-classical metal than Yngwie himself anymore....It would've been a match made in heaven provided Yngwie would even let him write anything!!!

Killing Songs :
Sin To Sin, Optical Illusion, Creator In TIme and Miracle Man
Marty quoted 85 / 100
Ken quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Time Requiem that we have reviewed:
Time Requiem - The Inner Circle Of Reality reviewed by Marty and quoted 86 / 100
Time Requiem - Time Requiem reviewed by Marty and quoted 86 / 100
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