Grand Illusion
Prince of Paupers

01 - Gates Of Fire
02 - Better Believe It
03 - Prince Of Paupers
04 - So Faraway
05 - St. Teresa's Love
06 - Through This War
07 - Eyes Of Ice
08 - Gone
09 - Believe In Miracles
10 - On And On
11 - Under The Wire
12 - Winds Of Change

Anders Rydholm - keyboards, bass, rhythm guitars
Peter Sundell - lead and background vocals
Per Svensson - lead and background vocals

The Book of How to Make It (2001)
In the Beginning (2001)
View from the Top (2002)
Ordinary Just Won't Do (2004)
Brand New World (2010)

Gregg Bissonette - drums
Steve Lukather - guitar solo on 4
Jay Graydon - guitar solo on 2
Tim Pierce - rhythm guitars and guitar solos on 5, 6, 8, 9,10, 12
Muris Varajic - guitar solo on 1, 3, 7, 9, 11
Robert Säll - guitar solo on 13
Paul Buckmaster - orchestral arrangements and synths on 1
Kjell Klaesson - acoustic guitar on 9
Staffan Stavert - keyboards on 10, 13

Produced and arranged by: Anders Rydholm

Released 28/10-2011
Reviewed 9/10-2011


”Welcome to the Grand Illusion
come on in and see what’s happening…”

This is how one of the best albums ever made starts, it has the name Grand Illusion and that is the same name as this band took for themselves in the late nineties.

” if you think your life is complete confusion
'cause your neighbor's got it made
just remember that it's a grand illusion
and deep inside we're all the same”

The above text lines are from the same album which was released on 7/7-77 and was the seventh studio album of american band Styx, it was also their first multi platinum selling album. Styx is by the way one band along with several other melodic rock bands this band confess themselves inspired by, it is also one of my absolute favourite bands and the Grand Illusion album is one of those albums that has shaped my life and musical preference during my younger years.

That is why this name is both interesting but also a name that obligates, so of course this was an album that was both interesting and at the same time a bit bothering to me. It is the sixth album from this band and I have not heard any of the prior, it is also 25 years since the band started out in 1986 when they were named promotion, they did release two albums in the nineties under that name as well so in reality these guys have done eight albums with this one counted. Acknowledging that this album is released in the band’s 25th year and the fact that they call themselves Grand Illusion have to be an omen for something great to come. And the only review I could find said it was one of the best of the year, which is a surprise considering that most reviewers seem to think every AOR album is one of the best of the year.

Musically they do slightly remind me of Styx with their grande musical landscape and powerful yet melodic sound, along with the crystal clear production and vocal harmonies. Sure there are other bands that can be mentioned here as well and some of the guests from Toto, Airplay, Phil Collins amongst others might slightly indicate what kind of music to expect. Melodic grande powerful rock music with a majestic musical imagery, it might be called AOR for the one who likes to use that label as well. The band has certainly not been skimping on the arrangements which are majestic all way through, there are also symphonic elements to add to the majestic sound even more in some of the music. The choruses are mostly catchy and the verses melodic, and the vocals are mainly high pitched with harmonies from the backing choirs making filling the spectre all the way. Bombastic melodic rock music is a good way to describe this band I think. Prince of Paupers has twelve tracks and it is more than twice as long as the animated film The Prince and the Pauper with Micky Mouse as the main character, which means around 56 minutes.

The album starts with a track called Gates of Fire and all I can say is wow, what a song, majestic, speedy and just fantastic, I do believe I haven’t heard a better song all year, not that I can recall anyway. This song sets up massive expectations for the rest of the album and it is hardly getting worse when the second track show to be almost as fantastic as the first one, now I am really hooked in a positive mood for this album and will give a positive rating no matter how bad the rest of the album is. But I needn’t worry since the great songs just line up one after another and in the end my breath is just taken away forcing me to sit down for a while reflecting on what I have just heard, and the 56 minutes just fly by faster than a frightened lizards drives away when he realises he is spotted.

I was sitting here trying to think of reasons not to run out and buy this album right now and the only one I can think of is that it isn’t yet released.
For some reason we did not get the predecessor to this album that was released last year, maybe if I ask I will be sent one by the label, but I don’t think I need it as I can always listen to this album again and again and it will still be as good.

So with all about this album said now, all that remains is to say: “welcome to the Grand Illusion!”





Label: AOR Heaven/GerMusica
Three similar bands: Grand Design/Cornerstone/Styx
Rating: HHHHHHH (6/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

På svenska