January 31, 2023



ART OF ILLUSION – X Marks The Spot (2021)

Wild And Free
From traditional AOR to rock opera worthy pomp, its all here.
  • SCORE - 93%
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I absolutely love this album. It has everything I love about the two principles behind it and a added freshness that has been missing in some recent AOR releases.

Art is Work Of Art – that is, vocalist Lars Safsund, who is his usual blindingly good self, delivering a classic vocal that gives me the best of WOA, but more so, I hear him stretching out with some of the more adventurous material on offer and he knocks it out of the park.

Illusion is one of my favourite pomp songwriters, Grand Illusion’s songwriter/producer Anders Rydholm. Fans of Grand Illusion can hear Anders’ trademark pomp AOR all over this record and there are a few tracks which could easily be Grand Illusion tracks.

But there’s so much more on offer here. There are a few tracks that are completely bananas. It’s part classic rock opera and part falsetto overture and it sounds so good. Lars is extraordinary in his varied vocal delivery. There’s Queen, ELO and Styx influences throughout.

But it isn’t every track – its mixed in and around some traditional WOA style keyboard-AOR mixed in with some typical Grand Illusion pomp. There is a good dose of piano and some sentimental ballads, but also a few driving guitar tracks.

All in all it is quite the mix, but the superb quality of the songs and the performances make it work cohesively.

I won’t make a point of highlighting any particular songs as id like the listener to hear it fresh start to finish. Just be assured that this is a quality piece of work.