Friday, 16 March 2018

Hekz - Twisted Illusion

Usually I buy CD's. Nowadays online as all good shops in The Hague closed down, but the holding of a physical product shall for me always beat any download format that is out there. This time I am reviewing two download versions though, but both for a good reason. Before going into any detail it is already good to hear that England is and always shall be a stronghold for music. Also on the front of Progmetal where these two bands are compared with bands like Rush, Queen and Dream Theater. Both of them fronted and contacted throug a Matt, there are more than a few parallels indeed.

Hekz - Invicta
This April 20 Hekz shall release Invicta upon the world. As a special Pre-release show they play Alphen aan de Rijn next Friday 23 March. I was already eyeing this show as I do own and like their first two albums. To my surprise Hekz invited me to put some words on their new album down. Well only if hating the album, one can refuse such request really and luckily I can tell Invicta does not disappoint. On several fora Hekz have always been compared to the greats in progmetal plus Iron Maiden. Now I do not hear that much Maiden, but can see where namedropping of Threshold or Dream Theater are coming from. If there is any band I am reminded of most however, it must be Everon, but than without the German accent. Everon always bordered between heavy progrock or lighter progmetal, with great songs, sounds and voices. Well Hekz, does just that to me. this album spends ten songs with the range we know from them. Midtempo rockers, Piano ballad parts and some Epics. The Epics are this time twofold with Line in the Sand and The Devil's coin clocking in around ten and fifteen minutes respectively. Where the long songs give the band the chance to change between moods, for me the outstander is this time their uptempo headbanger. To the Lions must be one of the better bangers released this year and where uptempo throughout, we also get some high shrieking vocals any fan of eighties metal should love. But this is my favorite song today, which can change until catching them live next week. One song deserves a special mention as well being closer Victorious. Songs like that aren't written that often anymore these days. It is Hekz answer to We Are the Champions. This song could echo around football stadiums worldwide really. Well not  in Holland or Paris, as both football is shite. Pity that I don't think Hekz will ever get the exposure for the world to pick this anthem up, but maybe their local team can do something with it. Resuming there is something for everyone into progmetal really. So Parktheater Alphen it is next week (cold and fever improvement allowing) for seeing some new songs on stage and picking up the physical copy.

Twisted Illusion - Excite the Light: Part 1
Those following my blog must have noticed the impact Twisted Illusion made on me last year. This band released a debut album in 2016, a double album in 2017 and here we have Excite the Light Part 1, the first of a trilogy. With a production rate like that one might fear a drop in quality at times. Well going through the downlead that anticipates the Pledge CD I did not hear any such drop really. So what does Twisted Illusion all that right? They just start and play songs telling us a story, without worries on formula's or rules. This means that we often get acustic openings followed or not by a gripping guitar solo. Another point of reference are the choirs shouted loudly at us by the band and the voice of Matt going all over the place really. When I first heard them I mentioned they sound like Motley Crue playing progmetal. This mainly based upon Matt's vocals, although he can teach Vince Neil a lesson or two on variation. Six songs make up for this album and the title track starts of fast and furious. Not sure yet if I have any favorite track here, as all work for themselves. One of them is an "oldie" as Molly's Smile was released as a single already last year. The Molly in this song is Molly Mear and this beautifull epical ballad became the anthem of Mearfest. the world's most sympathetic Charity Metal Fest that I know off. After that epic, the album is closed by a song called after the band. It amazes again how we can move from singalong chorusses to calm acustics and that ever returning impressive guitar solo. So now comes the scary bit.  Twisted Illusion are unsigned. Still their pledge campaign reached target within 24 hours from release. We the fans (Illusionists) are a community not unlike the Marillion freaks, loving any step of the band. Unlike Marillion though Twisted Illusion did not yet sell millions of albums, nor can they afford their fan weekends. Still as we should trust in quality I somehow think this band will become one day a sort of household name. The Pledge for Part 2 shall start in August, you can still jump the bandwagon and become one of the early discoverers..I hope to finally catch them live at Mearfest early June.

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