“Jeremia’s Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms” is one hell of a prog rock\metal gem, both its strength and weakness stemming from its theatrical style. It uses motifs that instantly proclaim it a rock opera, like the classic-esque arrangements and the dual operatic vocals, where the two heroes of our story share an unfolding dialogue. The band’s music at first brings to mind bands like DT and Haken, but the great focus on dialogue you hear from beginning to end on this album sets Circle of Illusion apart from other modern prog acts.
Beside the obviously needed and well-placed instrumental breaks, the music seems to be always following the lyrics – by either preparing for them, accentuating words to convey what feelings are being expressed, or complimenting them in the next arriving melody; As I said, a rock opera. Personally, I found following the lyrics was a bit tiring, Maybe since it’s not a very straight-forward story and the lyrics are way too vague at times. So if I were to recommend this album to a friend, I’d ditch the story part and emphasize the great, great musicianship featured in this release, especially on tracks like “The Beginning“, “The Memory Returns“, or “New Age“.
- We’re talkin’ beautiful, often symphonic arrangements using many classic instruments as well as modern synth pads and metal guitar tones that set the groove just right. Using this wide diversity of sound together with those perfect female vocals by singer Elga Shafran gives the songs an element of surprise. It’s such a refreshing listen – the most memorable moments for me being probably the Disco sections. Not kidding, there are a few Sections of proggy disco parts and they work really well, reminding you immediately of ABBA with their infectious phrases and hooks. Have a listen below:
As you can hear, the band fuses together many genres – and travels through many moods, doing so in such a charming way it feels very organic, never forced. The only flaw this album has in my opinion, is that by deciding to stick to the theatrical, it is bound to be somewhat formulaic. Don’t get me wrong – there is a lot of creative freedom here. The guys are exceptional musicians, among the best you’ll find in prog really. I’m merely suggesting that the band’s (obviously conscious) intention was clearly the creation of a rock opera, and they do not deviate from that idea, for good or bad. (Mostly for good, but if you know me – I just gotta have a bit of chaos and destruction in my playlist!).
Putting my tendency for critique aside though, I’d take this record over the countless power-prog copycats out there any day. Forget’em! Circle of Illusion offers you a whole different wonderful thing, an album with so much thought and effort put into it it’s impressive, and if you’re a fan of progressive music, this record of theirs should be in your collection, no doubt about it! Don’t miss out and give it a listen on their Bandcamp page!