SECRET ILLUSION – Awake Before The Dawn (2018)

SECRET ILLUSION - Awake Before The Dawn (2018) full

SECRET ILLUSION are releasing their new album “Awake Before The Dawn” tomorrow Feb. 1st 2018, via Lion Music Records, a label that doesn’t stops to add new bands to their roster. Secret Illusion has released several albums, all power metal oriented, ok stuff however not exactly my cup of tea.
But now guitarist Philip Papakyriakou is the only founding member, he recruited new musicians, new label and a new sound.
And I liked “Awake Before The Dawn” pretty much.

Basically, and while there’s still few power elements into the music, SECRET ILLUSION plays melodic metal mixed with accessible prog metal plus some neo-classical epics.
Take some MASTERPLAN, some early AXEL RUDI PELL, a bit of ROYAL HUNT, and YNGWIE MALMSTEEN late Nineties sound and you get “Awake Before The Dawn”. Well, more or less.

Right during the initial track “Curtain Falls” (a two minute instrumental), my attention was drawn to the new additions, keyboard player Evmenios Poulias and vocalist Vasilis Axiotis.
To the former, Poulias has an immediate presence throughout this album on the mentioned “Curtain Falls” utilizing lots of keys, synths, strings and some a-we-some harpsichord parts. He also creates wonderful ivory passages and solos all over the record, something that I love.

As for Axiotis’s voice color and style, my opinion is bifurcated. On one hand, he feels a bit forced at the higher notes, on the other, when he dials back on that offering some moderation, he can sound smooth and melodic.
In the end, I was impressed by and enjoyed more the music of Secret Illusion and “Awake Before The Dawn”, then I did Axiotis’ vocal contribution.

And there’s many good tunes across the CD. You have some straight up speedy number with ‘Fall Of Humankind’ and the ambitious ‘Hope Is Lost’. Alternatively, ‘Sailing The Open Sea’ has a symphonic opening, and turns on a more moderate pace. The synth orchestration continues to have a large part, and Papakyriakou’s delivers a killer solo.

RICHIE KOTZEN - I'm Coming Out (2011)tracks

But the more interesting songs may be the final two songs as they reflect some melodic progressive nuances. ‘Eerie’ with an early light breakdown with voice, piano and bass, before ripping into the speed at the midpoint.
One of my favorites, title track ‘ ‘Awake Before The Dawn’ is mostly classic melodic metal with various lighter segues. Before the midpoint, there’s voice over synth orchestration and drums; after the halfway point, it’s voice over piano and synths. Then all things lead to another crushing guitar solo.
Both songs are also examples of how Axiotis can be smooth, melodic, and enjoyable to hear.

You can take a look at the comparison / influences above; “Awake Before The Dawn” is a solid album in these genres, muscular yet highly melodic, and featuring some amazing, varied keyboard work.
Strongly Recommended

01. Curtain Falls
02. Neverland
03. Fall of Human Kind
04. Sailing the Open Sea
05. Hope is Lost
06. Kings and Pawns (Napoleon)
07. Winds of Tomorrow
08. falling
09. Eerie
10. Awake Before the Dawn

Vasilis Axiotis – Vocals
Philip Papakyriakou – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Evmenios Poulias – Keyboards


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