Twisted Illusion – Insight to the Mind of a Million Faces

Well who would have thought it? 48 ½ years on this planet and still finding new and exciting music that fills one soul with passion and excitement. Sure, I will always be a child of the 1980s when music was all about fun, big hair and stupidity, yet here I am filling my ears with what can only be described by the rather disturbing pigeonhole “prog”.

Now here’s the rub. Prog and its fans have a bit of a reputation – somewhat highfalutin, at times pretentious and, most of all, with a tendency to place technical ability and “look at me” cleverness above the thing about rock ‘n’ roll that makes us all love it   …..   passion and excitement. Hang on, I hear you cry, surely there’s nothing new about prog? Surely it’s stuck sometime in around about 1971? Do I need to grow a beard and start drinking real ale with lots of bits in it, in order to enjoy listening to prog? In fact, is it actually possible to enjoy listening to prog?

Given some of the music I’ve been listening to in the past few weeks, I can categorically tell you that the answer to your questions lies in actually listening to some of this stuff. Which brings us to the topic of this review – the new album by Twisted Illusion “Insight to the Mind of a Million Faces”.

Hot on the heels of the extremely well received and amazingly wonderful sounding “Temple of Artifice”, songwriter, singer, guitarist (and general potty mouth) Matt Jones couldn’t stop the creative juices flowing. I first came across the band at SOS Festival last summer, where I couldn’t help but be impressed by the musicianship, quality of the songs and, more importantly, the pure unadulterated passion displayed in the live show. Matt has a unique take on music and the music industry which belies his youthfulness. Moreover, in the wonderful X Factor world in which we live his desire to do his own thing, in his own way is quite phenomenal. This even extended to the way in which Twisted Illusion were going to put this record together. I can remember seeing Matt post comments on social media questioning whether the pledge campaign route was the right way forward. The hard work that the band has put in on the live circuit has clearly enabled them to build a network of fans not only eager to hear more but also prepared to put their money where their mouths are – resulting in a 200% pledge campaign outcome and the resulting double album of music.

In fact double album doesn’t really give you the full picture. What we have here is a record of epic proportions. Not just in terms of running time but one track alone, the title track itself, is something more akin to the type of work not seen since Mozart. 28 minutes of light and shade, spread across different movements and themes. Throughout the album vocal harmonies, technical guitar parts (not forgetting drums keyboard and bass) take the listener through what can only be described as the thoughts and observations of the kind of angry young man that the press would have us believe doesn’t exist anymore. This is not a record full of three-minute throwaway pop songs, what we have here is a set of beautifully constructed, thought-provoking, challenging and dramatic soundscapes which enable the listener to build pictures in their mind – in my opinion, the beauty of prog is the ability to form mental imagery that overshadows the most epic of films. First single ”Textbook Tyranny” was formed from Matt’s experiences of visiting the job centre, but the passion, the anger and the talents on display take what could be a mundane tale and delivers it to a higher plane.

For those of you who need to get an idea of what Twisted Illusion sound like, picture the bastard offspring of Rush, Queen and a whole host of other bands. Without ever sounding particular like any of them, Twisted Illusion channel the influences they’ve grown up with and around and produced some work deserves to bring the massive success.

“Insight to the Mind of a Million Faces” this is available to pre-order now and actually releases 22nd September. Do yourselves a favour and check out something that can take your love of music and a whole different direction. So, yes, I am a proggy and proud. Remove your blinkers, pull yourself out of the past and get over the clichés that surround the genre.

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