Ever decided to enjoy your first listen of a new album with your eyes closed, just to see what influences and nuances wash over you? It’s surprising how often initial, intuitive musings are compounded by subsequent listens. That is most definitely the case with Reality Illusion by Finland’s DAMNATION PLAN.
Reality Illusion was the result of a lengthy gestation period. In fact it has been under construction since the release of 2013’s The Wakening. Dan Swanö was involved in the mixing process and the final product has a slick, polished sheen. The two influences that introduced themselves to these two ears during the aforementioned blind first listening were the melodeath crunch of SOILWORK and the uber professionalism of SYMPHONY X. Constant refinements can bleach the soul from an album, but that’s not the case with Reality Illusion.
The interplay between the harsh vocals of Tommy Tuovinen and the cleaner warbling of Asim Searah is well-balanced throughout, further enhancing the five star feel of the album. The playing is clipped and precise, never wandering into pointless self-indulgence, although each track on Reality Illusion feels like it’s got its duration just about right.
The other standout point of Reality Illusion is the care lavished upon the lyrics. Whilst not a concept album, the recurrent theme is stripping away the jetsam of modern living and the attempt to define reality. Beyond These Walls could slip seamlessly into SOILWORK‘s Figure Number Five album without altering the overall feel. Rulers Of Truth has a more expansive, proggy feel and packs a considerable punch in the words department. Rise Of The Messenger melds the character of the preceding two tracks and illustrates the skillful way the contrasting vocal styles within DAMNATION PLAN have been blended; never competing, always complimenting.
Blinded Faith continues the work started by Rise Of The Messenger. Built upon the chassis of a staccato riff, growly voice and smooth voice take their turns; its more velvet glove than iron fist. Maze of Despair and Iron Curtain Falls are more reflective pieces. As Reality Illusion takes it’s labyrinthine route through light and shade, fear and hope, it builds to it’s keystone track, the penultimate The Final Destination. Bringing proceedings to a classy close is a well-executed stab at DIO‘s Don’t Talk To Strangers.
It feels like DAMNATION PLAN have thoroughly planned what they wanted to achieve with Reality Illusion and have kept hammering away until the final product looks exactly like what was on their blueprints. That doesn’t mean to say that the album is contrived, but sometimes if you know what you want you’ve just got to keep plugging away until you get exactly what you’ve dreamed of. Reality Illusion oozes class from every pore.
Reality Illusion is set for release on March 10th via Inverse Records.
Like DAMNATION PLAN on Facebook.