AOR Heaven [Release date 29.01.21]
This is the debut album by Art Of Illusion, a duo consisting of composer and producer Anders Rydholm (Grand Illusion) and singer Lars Säfsund (Work Of Art) – see what they did there with the band name? Very good chaps!
Lars Säfsund is well known in melodic rock circles not only for Work Of Art but also for his singing with Lionville and Enbound. Anders Rydholm is no slouch either having worked with Overland, Seikima II and Japanese artist Demon Kakka.
There are shades of Toto on ‘Run’, then on ‘Snakebite Charm’ you have a neat piece of modern melodic rock – definite shades of Grand Illusion’s love of backing vocal arrangements on here. They can rock out too, just listen to the fast paced ‘Go’ which features some top guitar soloing.
‘Let The Games Begin’ mixes pomp and AOR to good effect, reminiscent of Robbie Valentine with lots thrown into the mix musically, and a again emphasis on the vocals and their arrangements. Makes for a very impressive listen.
There are a couple of bizarre musical offerings, ‘Waltz For The Movies’ recalls cult prog/pomp band A.C.T. mixed with Queen. Very theatrical and perhaps the work Lars Säfsund has done with Disney rubs off on this song?
Hopefully Grand Illusion and Work Of Art will continue alongside Art Of Illusion, as there is easily room for all three, especially as they are more studio based projects and not always on tour.
You can’t really go wrong when two talents in the Scandi melodic rock scene combine as on here. Plenty of melody, strong choruses and the wonderful vocals of Lars Säfsund. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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