Hailing from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, ILLUSIONS OF GRANDEUR are an exciting fantasy metal theater band. Their latest album, The Siren, is the second part of the album The Siren Saga. While you may be getting AVANTASIA or NIGHTWISH vibes, ILLUSIONS OF GRANDEUR present an eclectic mix of hard rock that is reminiscent of A PERFECT CIRCLE. Their sound is so unique that it’s hard to draw other comparisons. With this in mind, let’s dive deep into the mermaid filled waters of The Siren.
First, let’s talk about the story. The Siren tells the story of a fallen mermaid, her loyal warriors, and the dark adventures she endures Because of the strong storytelling elements, the whole album creates a mind cinema in your head making it an incredibly engaging listen. The opener, The Wolf, immediately plunges you into dark waters and also serves as a great introduction to the band’s interesting sound. From the get-go, you can hear inspiration from 90s grunge bands like ALICE IN CHAINS and SOUNDGARDEN, but at the same time there is an underline thread of hard rock and heavy that can be likened to FEAR FACTORY.
The groove-laden riffs continue to permeate the rest of the album and they are especially strong in Crossing Over. The sludginess of the grungy guitar is complimented by Maggy Von’s diverse vocal range which can go from soft to fierce growls. Her broad vocal range continues to shine throughout the latter half of the album especially in Silent Suicide and Down Print. The Prophet is a fitting finale as it brings together all the musical styles that the ILLUSIONS OF GRANDEUR have taken inspiration from. However, it’s towards the end of the album that the cracks in the band’s musical abilities. This is especially the case in the track Silent Suicide. While Maggy Von certainly has an incredible voice, in this track she hasn’t fully developed her vocals.
Fundamentally, ILLUSIONS OF GRANDEUR have a really unique concept. They’ve told the story well through enchanting lyrics, a powerful voice, and forceful metal music. Something about it though feels a little underwhelming. It’s hard to point my finger on why I feel that way. Ultimately, there’s a piece of the puzzle that’s missing and I think it’s to do with the execution of the music.
The band hold a lot of promise and The Siren proves that their more than capable of writing strong, forceful music, however, the production lacks polish. Similarly, Maggy Von’s vocals can detract from the rest of the musical elements, and it almost feels like she is trying to do too much at times. For the band to fulfil their full potential they should continue to work on polishing their sound and adding a certain level of finesse to their production which they haven’t quite achieved here.
Having said that, The Siren is an excellent effort that matches creative storytelling with the aggressive sounds of heavy metal to transport you into other worlds of magic and Norse mythology. You’ll love the grungier side of hard rock and heavy metal, but it may also capture the attention of symphonic and power metal fans too.
Words: Megan Taylor
The Siren will be released 29th October 2021 via Universal Music Group/Killsound Productions.