Formed in 2014, and proving just what an (as yet) unsigned band can achieve, Manchester-based Prog Rockers Twisted Illusion is set to release a further set of no less than 4 studio albums over the next 18 months (a culmination of the past 3 years hard work) beginning with this 7-track ‘Temple of Artifice.’

Charging in like an ‘80s classic ‘Imitate Me: Part 1’ features bold strikes of instruments and vocals that sound like they mean business.  This song has a crashing melody to it and an overload of hatred of what life has become; there’s a determination to break the mold though.  At 3:36 the song could’ve ended (but such is the rule of prog, it won’t) instead there’s a change to an almost acoustic reawakening,  the vocals now verge on Operatic and there’s a feeling of artificial contentment – they’ve somehow tranquilized the song – it has wings, background harmonies and no will to fight.  Fear not, with just over a minute left, the drive returns, the song once again enraged to the end!

Freedom to Fail’ is a rather paranoid song. Vocals, keyboard, and acoustic guitar introduce the woe.  Slow and powerfully emotive are the lyrics – each word hitting home. There is anguish and frustration at whatever dark hell they’re going through but it remains polite.  This song wouldn’t be out of place on a soundtrack for a Labyrinth-like movie, does that make it Bowie-like?  Perhaps, but it is closer to The Darkness wearing a more serious hat.  I’m sure there’s a cast full of mythical beings somewhere just searching for this sound so that’s where we’ll pitch it; an anthem for orcs and goblins.  ‘Hatred is a Virtue’ has a more metal-feel and a pleasing scream to it.   Drumbeats build and roll throughout and there’s a catchy tune to the chorus and dual vocalists at times.  With lyrics such as “Delusions of Grandeur” it’s easy to imagine this coming straight from the pages of the cathartic journal.

Apocalypse…#LOL’ has to be the softest, acoustic apocalypse going until it blurs into a steady electric riff and soft keys.  The bass guitar in this track is particularly beautiful.  The vocals sound jolly, despite singing of explosions and other threatening action but the guitars hint at danger.  It’s a fun one, the band seems to be relishing this but hang on, it’s the end of the world, isn’t it?  With a tempo change just over midway (but still a lovely rich bass line) the vocals begin to sing of a lovely afterlife full of lilies and chocolate, until another delicious scream and the warped danger is back, complete with the guitar solo.  ‘Online and Inline’  pokes fun at social media and is perhaps the best sing-a-long song on this album because of the great tune and mocking lyrics.  Aside from this though, there’s a great guitar showcase at the start and more of those interesting bass lines.

Rounding off the album is ‘Imitate Me: Part 2’ this time a deeper and wiser affair.  A song to tell us to be happy, to not get caught in the endless smoke and mirrors of media highlights, and to stay true to who we are rather than joining the force that feeds us synthetic versions of how life should be.  It could well be retitled ‘Put your bloody phone down and look up.’

These musicians are without a doubt a talented bunch; guitarists unafraid of interjecting with a well-placed solo;  Vocalists able to switch and turn between smooth rich tones and menacing screams, Keyboard skills that add just the right touch of soft spiciness and texture, and did I already mention the smokin’ hot ‘n’ funky bass playing?  It sounds like they’ve enjoyed making this album.  There’s a certain sense of letting go, which in the current world full of restrictions and face masks, is a nice breather. ‘Temple of Artifice’ is out Friday 28th May 2021.



Twisted Illusion is:

Matt Jones – Guitar and Vocals

Saxon Davids – Guitar and Vocals

Phil Shacklady – Drums

Andy Gotteri – Keys

Chris Jones – Bass



Imitate Me: Part 1  6:43

Freedom to Fail  4:41

Hatred is a Virtue  4:01

Apocalypse…#LOL  5:18

Online and Inline  4:13

A Moment of Lucidity  4:17

Imitate Me: Part 2  5:37

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