Spoken is no stranger to the hardcore/rock scene with many great records under their belt, like A Moment of Imperfect Clarity and Last Chance to Breathe. After delivering six albums on Tooth & Nail and Metro 1 Records, Spoken had been trying to figure out when they would be able to release their next project. Some slight changes have taken place in Spoken's sound (most notably the vocals); however, old fans will still be very receptive towards this change, as will new listeners. The wait is over and now Illusion is available to all in its entirety via eOne Music.
The first song, "Stand Alone," arrives in full force with screams and a good balance of melody with the chorus: "I stand alone before the fire / A past that's been chasing me / and so I face the flame now / I'm screaming out / I beg you to hear my voice / But I stand alone." The song seems to evoke one to move forward and let go of the things that are preventing progress for the best. Although a relatively short song, "Beneath the Surface" is a very straightforward hard rock track that complements the opener. Some very thoughtprovoking lyrics are found in "Through it All," "She watched the world as it slowly slipped away / Lost all her dreams in the ocean / She sees this face, feels this touch on her hand / Remembers when she had everything / One day she will again / I heard the sound saw the flashing lights / And watched the day turn into night." The song stresses that people go through trials, yet they can still pull through.
A positive characteristic about Illusion is that it persists in bringing some solid tunes here and there after the halfway point, which can be a curse for many artists. "Remember The Day" might be the song that would likely be labeled as commercial material due to the easily accessible melodies while also containing none of vocalist Matt Baird's signature screaming. However, it's still an impressive and passionate song ("Tell me what can I say / To show you love / And life is a treasure / I get from above"). "Take Everything" another unforgettable track with a slight ballad feel and traces of rock that make this song another favorite. It focuses on the importance of sacrificing, "There's more than love on the line / I'm begging you for life / Take what you want from me / Take it all the - air inside of me / My heart is just for the taking / Take what you want from me / Take it all / you are my everything." The album closes with a very unforgettable title track; "Illusion" reflects on how we need to let time heal, "Into the night - into the flame / Out of the ashes where healing begins / into the heart - into the world / that is where all our healing begins."
Usually when a band doesn't produce an album for as long as Spoken (almost 6 years), it's a miracle if the band can at least resume in the same fashion. Fortunately, Spoken has made a remarkable return with an achievement that surpasses all of their preceding efforts.
Having been absent from the music scene since their self-titled release in 2007 on Tooth & Nail Records, Spoken offers a new sound that should surprise old fans even though one might still be able to identify some of Matt Baird's signature voice. Though Matt's style of singing has gone through a new development, the vocals sound more refined and natural. All of the aggressiveness and screaming vocals that Spoken is known for remain in many tunes, like "Beneath the Surface," "Stand Alone" and "Illusion," however, the harmonies are more evident throughout (ex. "More Than You Know," "Through it All"). Illusion should offer a positive experience with various songs that include choruses that will linger long after each listen... --->
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