Illusion Dimensions


Lion's Music / SPV Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


There are times in this job where I pray to God that I'll never have to listen to a disc again... then I shudder as I put it back in the CD player to try and catch some nuance I might have missed the first few times through.

In the case of the Portugese prog-metal band Oratory, I don't think I'll ever be able to shake some of the memories of their disc Illusion Dimensions... unless I put a bullet through my skull, that is. This is a band who once in a while show a flash of promise, but otherwise tread on the carcasses of those bands who came before them while trying to find their own voice. Too bad they get lost in the woods early on.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Oratory tries to stand out in the crowd by alternating male and female lead vocals throughout the disc. Maybe such a concept would have worked if Ana Lara had a little bit stronger of a set of pipes, and Marco Alves had the vocal charisma such a stunt would need. The way things are at this moment in Oratory's career, such a vocal switcheroo is a little more distracting than awe-inspiring.

And while we're ranting about things, will someone please tell drummer João Rodrigues that just because he knows how to play double kick-drum doesn't mean that it fits this style of music? Occasionally, when I heard this kick in behind Miguel Gomes's guitar work (which needs a bit more bite or flash, I'm not sure which), I started to think I was listening to Viking metal... and I am no big fan of Viking metal.

Musically, Oratory doesn't seem to quite know where they want to go. There are signs that they want to be a metal band, but they also seem to want to grab the brass ring of popularity. What ends up happening is that tracks like "With Glory And Melody," "Metal Messenger" and "Life In Another Star" lose a lot of the punch they could have had with a little more meat in the instrumentation.

And sometimes it's a combination of the songwriting and Alves's singing style that is a track's downfall. Take "Kingdom's Legacy" -- please. I had no idea what the hell he was saying in the chorus until I read the lyric sheet -- and even after that, it was almost like he was singing stereo instructions. The constant repetition of this chorus only served to insure that, no matter how hard I try, I'm not going to be able to get this damn song out of my head... and I want it out, now .

Illusion Dimensions is a disc that I'm certain Oratory is proud of, and I'm sure they worked really hard to create the music contained on this disc of plastic and aluminum. But to say that this is a disc I could recommend to people is, well, an illusion.

Rating: D+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Lion's Music / SPV Records, and is used for informational purposes only.