Circle Of Illusion: Jeremias – Foreshadow Of Forgotten Realms

Austrian symph-proggers’ generously-titled concept album.

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Spawned from a solo demo track with no home called Closing Doors, this 80-minute epic has sprung from the imagination of keyboard player Gerald Peter. A concept album with a slightly surreal fantasy storyline, it’s fleshed out by the warm, rich vocals of musical theatre star Taris Brown (Hair, JC Superstar, We Will Rock You), who also wrote the lyrics.

This album certainly holds the attention but while The Run, 13th Floor and the aforementioned Closing Doors are impressive and predicated on fine musicianship, there’s also a feeling that Circle Of Illusion are overstretching themselves at times.

The music veers through classical, funk, jazz, metal, folk and disco, which can seem quite a pile up, particularly on dizzying finale Nightmare, which weighs in at over 16 minutes. In some respects, this album is what might happen if Nightwish were let wildly off the leash – one online review called this Les Miserables on acid.

The result is nonetheless largely admirable, the far-reaching ambition of Peter, Brown and everyone involved to be appreciated. It’s so overwhelming, though, that it misses being one of the year’s most essential releases, while showing potential if they can learn to focus their ideas.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021