Analgesia - Beyond Illusion
Reviewer: Ghanem Belgacem - 2012-09-05
Highlights: Follow Me, Revolution Has Begun
…And so, fueled solely by passion, they sculpted a disheveled scraggy thirty-six-minute record out of nothing.
Here I am; plummeted into blithe bewilderment, fingers bent over the keyboard waiting for the right words to gush out and untangle the mystery that girdles “Beyond Illusion”. An album bereft of all shredding, nay, metal; pure, harmless like the gentle graze of a sauntering butterfly; waded in melody to its ankles and yet, horridly mirrored through scattered slivers of barely noticeable orchestral interludes, languid pianistic spells, and “rock-ish riffage”. Carved within the blistering kilns of Morocco and bestriding the fine line tethering melodic rock to symphonic metal (though “metal” might be too much of a word for it), the third delivery of Analgesia straddles between being inferior in terms of impact and mediocre while at the same time glistening with hope-boding shreds of ingenuity.
Ostensibly enough, “Beyond Illusion” might seem a plain symphonic metal record waiting for dust and oblivion to feast on, but truth is, does harbor within its mantles concealed “folk-ish”, festive, gothic , and progressive grains. Problem is, the band seem to have lost control of the reins and let all those elements ooze through the breaches of the album to the point of becoming quite unpleasant (sometimes) for the ears. However, it wouldn’t be fair to shrug off the honest pearls of sweat the band bred trying to be as original as possible. Because clearly, when it comes to originality, Analgesia edge it. They have managed to engraft violin, bass fiddle and synth unto the equation and still keep their sound roughly undeterred. Speaking of sound, at first glance, it would appear quite repellent for symphonic standards, especially when compared to the quality of sound looming over the pioneers’ classics, but nothing is ever what it seems. “Beyond Illusion” was recorded at Ahmed Zine’s home - the writer stood still for three seconds and then resumed writing - and for an independent release this is one hell of a decent production. I remember saying this somewhere but I, for one, would rather listen to the band's "unrefined" sweat-moistened unfledged sound which usually lies at the heart of their early releases than enjoying a better version of it with mixing consoles, monitor speakers and MIDI workstations all entrenched to it dulcifying its ruggedness.
Having said that, clearly the lack of experience has crawled like larvae into the band’s unripe development and left a trembling aura that made the overall sound grow desynchronized. Youssra Atmen’s vocals, as angelic as they sounded, seemed to roam between storytelling whispers and low-pitched classical clean vocals, staying safe and never trying to be adventurous. But again, who doesn’t? Most symphonic metal acts have the best record labels at their disposal from Nuclear Blast to Napalm Records and some of them still can’t squeeze out an agreeable listening experience. These guys with no record label whatsoever have still managed to pull together a mediocre, yet promising performance.
I wouldn’t recommend this album to anyone; unless you’re really looking for brief moments of enjoyment then this record is for you. However, I can tell you right now these guys do have talent, even if it doesn’t seem obvious right now, they will eventually succeed in forging their own sound. The passion is there, the talent is there, all they need to learn is how to master their instruments, how to synchronize their sound and more importantly, how to make it more heavy and less generic.