Sedate Illusion is a Progressive/Experimental metal band formed in Athens, Greece but based for some time in Corfu, who have just released what I think is their self-titled sixth full studio album. Unusually, it’s actually available as two separate EPs, Time Is Not The End and Black Untold. They’re split like this because of the nature of the songs, the first EP being more of a “traditional progressive” style with more upbeat and easy listening songs; whilst the second EP is more dark and depressing, built around sharing a great sense of loneliness, fear of dying, getting lost in the chaos of anxiety and anguish…Hmm!!
The band have actually been around in a loose form since 2004 when an instrumental debut album Illusions was released. There was a six year gap before 0545 came out in cahoots with several guests and friends from Equal Vector and Acid Death, followed by 2012’s Illusory Sustenance and 2014’s What Remains. This last was a full-on concept album and had loads of friends joining in, proving to be the impetus for the current foursome to commit full-time to “the band proper”, with an album of remixes called Glass Delusion was released in 2016. 2020 saw their first full-length album of new material, Ungod Me. This got the band considerable coverage across the Prog spectrum in Greece, providing the platform for regular touring around the Eastern Med and pointing the way to this new release.
Sedate Illusion (the album) is, as I say, available both as a full album and as two separate EPs – unique as far as I know?
So – kicking off with EP1’s opener What If, a pacey, staccato number driven by synths and fuzzed chords. This is proper prog-metal, there’s a tasty chord-line running through it, and some tasty lead licks underpinned by an unusual drumming rhythm. Quite Rush-like, very promising! Does It Matter follows the same swirling yet punchy arrangement…I give up trying to spot influences and instead sit back and lose myself in the vibe. The title track for this “first half” is next, its very different, introduced by a sweetly sonorous solo before quite pastoral sections alternate with beefier chord-led sections, followed by a quite dreamy piece of electronica. It’s a longer track at nearly eight minutes but is a fascinating, clever composition. The final song in this first “movement” is Stars, a gently sumptuous yet spacey, swirling epic packed into 4:37 minutes. A lovely, beguiling track, the lyrics are far darker than the vibe suggests – and you must watch the absolutely intriguing video below!
At this point, it’s worth mentioning their compatriots Villagers Of Ioannina City, a similarly gifted and beguilingly different bunch from mainland Greece – the two together are great ambassadors for what is an excellent circus of ‘semi-underground’ (?!), off-the-wall Greek rock bands – we don’t hear as much about them as perhaps we ought!
EP2 (Black Untold) sails smoothly enough in on the back of Breathe, although interestingly I can see it flowing out of the “dying” (pun intended, if I get the lyric right!)track from EP1. This one casts a Katatonia-like vibe at me, and I mean that very warmly, it’s got that same melancholic, melodious mantra to it….Elevated is darker still, an instrumental track introduced by a monochromatic chordline , flattened percussion and rumbling bass combining to put me on edge…again, within a composition that just touches six minutes, a second movement comes in at a tad over two minutes, sweetly sad guitar taking the lead before synths continue….and then we’re back on the dreading doomy chordline, before a gentle sign off…. it’s an altogether finely crafted piece of music!
EP2’s title track follows, a slow synth-led chunk of basically doom-metal. Without being too brain-crushingly heavy, this track has you on the edge of your seat wondering where it’s going next, the overall mood being distinctly dark and creepy! Very Evanescence-like, with very atmospheric added vocals from Lia Kolita. The cheerful Inside The Void concludes this offering, for me another strong echo of Katatonia that works very well, the two bands actually share a great dexterity of instrumentation and composition, I’m fascinated by this – another slice of melodic melancholy – Lovely stuff!
The album is called Sedate Illusion, the two EPs are Time is not the End and Black Untold respectively. Calling all Katatonia fans – and others – you need to listen to this, you’ll be captivated!