Released: 2005, Battlefield Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Another Swedish ´newcomer´ to me which actually isn´t a ´newcomer´ if we dive into the history of the Swedish Dark Illusion a little bit. Namely this Swedish band was started back in 1982 already in the suburb of Huddinge in Stockholm, Sweden - and at that time the band played pretty basic Rock music. However, within a course of time the guys headed towards harder and heavier sounds musically and Dark Illusion were finally were considered a true Heavy Metal band by many.
Dark Illusion recorded a couple of demos when splitting up in 1985. The band´s guitarist/song writer Tomas Hultqvist kept on going as a producer of melodic Hard Rock and Metal formations for many years. Almost two decades later, in 2003 precisely, some of the original Dark Illusion members regrouped and the band´s first 4-song EP titled FOR JUST ANOTHER NIGHT was recorded and produced by Thomas himself. Along with the only remaining member from the early days of Dark Illusion, guitarist Niklas Tengblad who was back in business to play some real Metal music, gave his own input in the producing works, too.
The band was after for a vocalist, and soon Thomas Vikström (ex- Candlemass, Stormwind) was found for handling the vocal duties. To complete the line-up Pontus Egberg was added on bass and Jonas Östman behind the drumkit. The EP was eventually released in 2003 through Battlefield Records, actually a label created by some of the band members themselves. The band gained loads of positive reactions from all over the world because of that particular EP; and it gave lots of self-confidence for the band members to start working with their debut album, containg both older - and newer material from them.
The album was finally released through Battlefield Records in 2005, carrying the title BEYOND THE SHADOWS. Musically we talk about a classic Heavy Metal album here with a twist of Hard Rock that borders on the early eighties days, bringing such acts to a listener´s mind like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept, Rainbow, Saxon, Riot and Whitesnake. For example "Night Knight" has the same familiar characteristics like many Iron Maiden songs have, being based on strong and melodic guitar lines whereas "Child of the Night" reminds strongly of Judas Priest; thanks to Tomas´ effective guitar work once again. The guitar tone in a song called "Secret Journey" is also somewhat familiar; reminding me of both Accept and Rainbow in turn. "Leave No Tracks" is yet again almost plain Rainbow -worshipping from the beginning to the end. As for some other personal achievements, Thomas Vikström´s voice is all the way phenomenal throughout the album; clear and loud - and he´s not afraid of reaching higher registers vocally either. He´s definitely one of the better Metal vocalists that I have recently discovered on the map of Heavy Metal during this on-going century.
Also, feel free to mark my words tightly inside your skull that undoubtedly the Dark Illusion -camp has done such a quality Heavy Metal album that will surely be loved and adored by everyone who just happens to dig the ´80s era in the classic Heavy Rock/Metal sound. You simply cannot go wrong them, just believe me.
So, what else there´s is to say about this very high profile Heavy Metal release? Uh, just pick it up. Dark Illusion is yet another proof for that why the Swedes rule so much in the fields of Metal nowadays.