- Master keyboardist Richard Andersson (Space Odyssey, Evil Masquerade, Adagio, Majestic, and Silver Seraph) unleashes The Optical Illusion, the third release under his project band Time Requiem. A blistering combination of neoclassical power metal and progressive metal, this CD covers the gamut, from thick keyboard washes and relentless effect-laden sweeps to crunchy guitars, intricate percussion, and lots and lots of noodling.
The most effective parts of The Optical Illusion are the duels between keyboard and guitar. Although not as heavy as the ones made famous by Deep Purple (remember the opus Child In Time?), Andersson and guitarist Magnus Nilsson (Space Odyssey and God B.C.) certainly have some skirmishes, particularly on tracks such as Ashen Soul and the title effort. New recruit Goran Edman (Yngwie J. Malmsteen) has an effective voice and bassist Andy Ross (Static) manages to create some effective low notes during the quieter moments. Rounding out the cast is drummer Jorg Andrews, whose technical but aggressive kit work gives the band is metallic edge.
For me, the strongest track from The Optical Illusion is the ballad Ocean Wings, principally because of the song's compositional strength. The music performed here is for music's sake, and as a result all the instruments work together instead of trying to outdo each other. The same can be said for the harder-edged Creator In Time and Miracle Man, both of which reminded me a little of the mighty Ayreon.
Fans of Symphony X, Stratovarius, Dream Theater, and even Rush during the synth years will definitely enjoy what they hear on The Optical Illusion.