Lucid Dream - The Eleventh Illusion

Just two years after their debut, Italian prog metal/ rock group Lucid Dream are at it again with releasing their conceptual sophomore full length 'The Eleventh Illusion.' On their previous work, the band created a solid alternative rock and progressive metal sound that felt quite balanced but didn't really shatter new ground. Here, trying to avoid the sophomore slump, the band delves in a slightly different direction while retaining their rooted hard rock sound. Here the instruments sound fuzzier, rawer, and overall have more of that classic 80s heavy metal sound mixed with progressive bits to give the whole album a harder edge while still retaining accessible melodies. Tracks like "Back To Cosmos11" are excellent examples of how the band trades more complex technicality for upbeat, simple guitar riffs to create an enegertic atmosphere while still delivering on the same instrumental and vocal level that bands like Dream Theater can in a short span of time versus a ten minute epic. Other tracks like "Leave Me Alone" and "River Drained" feature surprises like saxophone and a more progressive sound that might appeal to those who like artists such as Ihsahn (without the black metal influence of course). It is little surprises like these that continue to make Lucid Dream interesting.

The band has cut back a bit on their insturmentals compared to the previous album, but the album still stretches a bit longer by twenty minutes. Granted, two of the tracks- intro and outro- feature mostly spoken word sections and the others just feel like ambient sections to break up the album. While these interludes are not really on musical par with others like "Fallin'" from the debut album, Lucid Dream does include these pieces to give this album more of its conceptual feel. In place of the more beautiful instrumentals are heavier pieces that give the album more energy, but not all of them are heavy metal hybrids. The band even jumps to the ballad route by including the acoustic "The Song Of The Beyond" which, if one for the first time heard this track and then heard a different one by Lucid Dream, they would be surprised it was the same band. With this particular track, the band does for more of  dreamy atmosphere that will definitely appeal to the ambient prog fans out there. Also, in the spirit of prog metal, the band does deliver their most epic track- about eight minutes- called "The Lightseeker." Rather than follow typical prog. metal or epic formula, the band keeps it hard and heavy the whole way through without any soft intersections or moments to give listeners a break. As a result, the band demonstrates their stamina to keep a loud track quite interesting.

As a result, this collection of music is certainly impressive for Lucid Dream and continues to raise their standard for their music. 'Eleventh Illusion' continues to build on where 'Visions From Cosmos 11' left off- the band even does a bit of 'revisiting' of the debut's sound with the track "Back To Cosmos11" but it doesn't detract from the album at all. Fans should be quite happy with the delivery and continue to enjoy this prog rock band's talents while we wait for the next piece they deliver.

  1. The Gates Of Shadow
  2. Evolution
  3. Leave Me Alone
  4. River Drained
  5. The Lightseeker
  6. Back To Cosmos11
  7. Connections
  8. Two Songs In The Sunrise
  9. The Song Of The Beyond
  10. Black
  11. The Eleventh Illusion
  12. The Pulse Of Infinity
  13. The Way Of 7M