(Echo) - _Devoid of Illusions_
(BadMoodMan Music, 2011)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
Dismissing this recording for too long, almost completely, refraining from reviewing it due to some quirky notion this was yet another uninspired doom/death vs. post-core lame animal of sorts (the cover art, the horrendous cover art), _Devoid of Illusions_ almost, almost flew right under the radar. Fortunately, I have decided to give it another try, and this time really listen to it, and I'm glad I did; for this is an invigorating, rejuvenating and beautiful recording. Ear candy from beginning to end, with its unique blend (and by no means bland) of atmospheric death/doom metal and what can only be dubbed as neoclassical, piano-driven music, with magical mellow parts a la Opeth's best moments and a powerful ambient, doom-oriented death metal backbone of the highest order.

The melodies are mesmerizing. They often bear an alternating approach to heavy music; at times the gothic elements do overwhelm and at other times an almost shoegaze-y approach takes over, yet none ever sounds ridiculous, cliché-ridden or misplaced. Everything within this recording, and I mean everything, is done with class; the songwriting is amazing, the ever-present piano is bewitching, the growls are right where they are needed, and the clean vocals are passionate and nowhere near goofy.

_Devoid of Illusions_ is the perfect doom/death vs. gothic vs. post-rock vs. shoegaze combo, if there ever was one. The music is as heavy as it is melancholic, slow-paced as it is dynamic; the riffs are classic and perfect for what they are, allowing a sense of familiarity but not to the verge of been-there-done-that redundancy; the structures of the tracks are complex, presenting many highs and lows and almost no plateaus to be found.

The plot, while passionately and willingly unfolding and disclosing in front of your very eyes (and ears), is always enigmatic, holding at bay some secrets, not revealing everything, making the listener come back for another session, and yet another one, in the hope another secret would be revealed upon another listening experience. All that is wrapped in a crisp sound; a work of excellence in terms of production, allowing every god-damn instrument to be perfectly represented and be accurately heard.

Had this foolish writer paid the attention this album deserves upon its release, this could have been one of this writer's nominees for best album for the year 2011. Don't make the same mistake! Don't let this beautiful creature slip from your hands (and ears). Don't let the hideous cover art deter you from an hour and five minutes of transcendence courtesy of _Devoid of Illusions_. Order your copy today!

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