The long awaited third, self titled album from Vivid Illusion finds the duo of Aki McCollough (Dreamwell) and Ant Tabaoda exploring a broader range of textures, creating an intoxicating and ethereal, dreamlike sound all of their own. Whilst the heavier moments found on their previous two releases are still present, the more melodic hallmarks of post-metal and shoegaze have seeped into their sound, helping to create their most emotive and cohesive body of work yet.
Anyone familiar with guitarist/vocalist Aki McCollough’s other band Dreamwell will be more than aware of her exceptional ability to create gorgeously melancholic passages, and they’re here in abundance. From the bittersweet refrains midway through ‘Tarnished Memories’ to the shoegaze influenced chimes of ‘The Sentinel’ and lilting atmospherics of ‘First Time Seeing With My Eyes Closed’, her thoughtful, textured guitar work shines throughout the album. Vocally, McCollough delivers stunning harsh black metal moments whilst Toboada brings understated post-hardcore inspired cleans, complimenting each other perfectly, like on the towering ‘The Sentinel’. Elsewhere, quieter interludes such as instrumental opener ‘Goldenrod’ and the melancholic ‘Departure’ demonstrate the duo’s masterly use of synths and effects to create immersive soundscapes reminiscent of Isis and Sigur Rós in their more tender moments.
Whilst Vivid Illusion bring a variety of influences and sounds to the table, it never feels meandering or cluttered. Indeed their ability to meld these range of sounds together so seamlessly is what makes the album shine. Without doubt their most impressive collection of songs yet, Vivid Illusion have created an album that goes beyond genre limitations, delivering a unique album of emotive and affecting music.
Vivid Illusion is available now and can be purchased here.
Words: Adam Pegg