Secret Illusion – Change Of Time
Secret Illusion – Change Of Time (2014)
Reviewed by Christopher Foley
I’ll admit, the intro to Secret Illusion’s sophomore effort Change Of Time had me pumped: real cheesy, eighties-style synthesizers, which built up a promise that the band unfortunately just couldn’t live up to. You see, I expected flamboyant, cheesy power metal, hopefully in the vein of early Twilightning. What was delivered, however, was dull, third-rate music which failed to generate any form of emotional response for me.
Sure, Secret Illusion tries hard, and clearly the band’s collective hearts are in it, as we’re talking album number two here. Yet the material is tepid, despite the musicians’ best efforts to create material to excite or involve. Part of what sours the deal is the vocals of Dimitris Giannakopoulos, which are flatter than a steamrolled pancake. He isn’t actively a bad singer, but he aims for notes beyond his reach in the high register, and sounds plain bored in the mid to low registers.
As for the music and songwriting, I’d say it’s just barely passing grade power metal, around the level of Timo Tolkki at his most phoned in and formulaic (so, nowadays). Basically, Secret Illusion plays something of a cross between the Italian and Finnish schools, with keyboards dominating the show. There’s a decided lack in intensity, and it’s this which hurts Change Of Time the most. Secret Illusion is almost completely forgettable in the mid-pace portions, and the band obviously favors the faster realms. Fortunately, when the songs speed up, they’re fairly enjoyable and remind of countless also-rans from the early hey-days of the genre. I will say that “Beauty Queen” in particular gives me a smile, and brings forth fond memories of the days of the Underground Symphony roster.
For the most part, though, there isn’t a lot to write home about. Save for one or two decent moments – usually a speedy riff or relatively catchy chorus – the album becomes more of an endurance test than anything. If you’re a completionist or have an insatiable taste for all things power metal, then this is one to pick up, give a cursory listen, and archive – hell, maybe even keep “Beauty Queen” for a playlist. As for anyone else, you can happily avoid this one, and not miss out on anything. Oh, and did I mention they use a child choir in “Winter Poem”?
2.0 // 5