Power Quest - Master of Illusion

Bruce Turnbull 02/05/2008

Rating: 4/5

Power Quest have always been a strange commodity. Starting life as a British fantasy metal act, practically all strands of their former DNA have been stripped away over the years, and as the line up became almost all-Italian, the band themselves became something more than your usual European breed. Their fourth album on as many labels, “Master of Illusion” sees the band adopt another change still, and bodes well for their future endeavours. Very well indeed.

Breaking away from the awkward DragonForce comparison, Power Quest have in fact little left of their happy Power Metal exterior as “Master of Illusion” finds the band slipping into a darker mind set with their musical mould morphing from lightning fast Freedom Call/Rhapsody-lite to sophisticated keyboard-laced Heavy Metal. True, Steve Williams and co divert their new attentions at times and relapse into the innocuous Power Metal leanings of old (“Kings of Eternity”, “Never Again”) but these tracks now sound contrived and lack balance. With what Power Quest have formulated during the time between 2005's “Magic Never Dies” and “Master of Illusion”, the band have shown true progression, and naturally, their sound is richer and more mature. Take blistering opener “Cemetery Gates” for example; a track which easily could have graced any AOR release, this is Power Quest at their most charming; quick witted, charging, catchy melodic metal that is impossible to knock out of your head. The hook-laden “Civilised?” offers a progressive keyboard/guitar interchange before bursting into a chorus that's reminiscent of the simpler side of Circus Maximus, and even the ace title track offers sweet, melodic hard rock spiked with hook-heavy Power Metal that pisses all over anything DragonFarce have put their name to.

Nothing is obstructing the way for “Master of Illusion”, and despite sounding a tad stagnant in its variety, it is a top notch Power Metal record that should open as many doors as it closes.