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...toppermost of the poppermost AOR...,
This review is from: Brand New World (Audio CD)
People who know about This Sort Of Thing will tell you that Grand Illusion are one of the great melodic rock bands of modern times. But it's been six long years since their last record, "Ordinary Just Won't Do" came out in 2004, so would anyone remember them? Could they still cut it? Had time withered them? Well the answers appear to be yes / yes / ish.
Yes, they've been remembered as the AOR forums have been abuzzing with talk of "Brand New World". Yes, they can still cut it, as Messrs Sundell, Svensson and Rydholm are in mighty fine form, along with a few special guests of the calibre of Gregg Bissonette and Mike Slamer. Ish, because, well, it all seems a bit more mainstream and less on the edge than before. Now, that's not a bad thing in the world of AOR, but I remember them as being more Angel than Alias.
Quibbles aside, this is still a great album. The opening couple of numbers - 'Never Find Her Alone' and 'All Out Of Love' are peerless pieces of melodic bliss. They hit you with a big melody, then thrown in an even bigger melody before thumping you over the head with the biggest melody ever. And they do it time and again. The vocals are immense, and you'll be hard pushed to find better musical performances anywhere in the genre.
Further down the line and it's 'Playing With Fire' and 'Sacrifice' that hit the AOR bullseye smack dab in the middle, and by the time they hit the big ballad, final track 'Forever With You', it's quite clear that you're in the presence of greatness. It might not be as individual as their earlier material, but it's rock straight out of the top drawer; an essential album for melodic rock fans.