Label: AOR Heaven 2011
Review by Alan Holloway
It’s occurred to me that I’ve been enjoying the album for ages now, yet haven’t bothered to review it, so sorry and all that, it’s no reflection on Grand Illusion, who actually rock like hurricanes. Big hurricanes, with knobs on etc. Coming from what seems to be the Land Of AOR, Sweden, Grand Illusion take just about everything you like about AOR and smush it together into one big, wonderful lump.
The standout performance on the album for me comes from vocalist Peter Sundell, who has a amazing voice very similar to Zeno’s Michael Flexig, and when he lets it loose you feel like punching the air in respect of the awesomeness of it all. Combine this with Anders Rydholm’s guitar solos that never outstay their welcome, as well as additional vocal duties from the silky voiced Per Svensson, and you get a band that is, at it’s core, quite impossible to fault.
The songs are pretty damned cool as well, and I suggest if you want a taster track down opener “Gates Of Fire” on YouTube. If you enjoy that (and you will if you are human and have functioning ears) then this is the album for you. It’s stuffed full of upbeat, melodic tracks and catchy choruses, helped by an excellent production job by Anders Rydholm, who is basically the creative force behind the band.
Certainly one of the best releases this year, “Prince Of Paupers” breaks no new ground but doesn’t have to. Melodic, well paced, catchy and occasionally possessing of moments that deserve to be preserved in ice for future musicologists to discover and marvel at, this is AOR in it’s purest form.