If you thought that Temples Of Artifice, the debut album from Twisted Illusion was as mad as the film One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, then the follow up double album Insight To The Mind Of A Million Faces sees the cuckoo laying a clutch of eggs in it and taking over the World! Formed by lead vocalist/guitarist Matt Jones in 2014, releasing two albums in just under three years is no mean feat and the latest is a dizzying array of musical arrangements topped off by a vocal that could attract bats within a hundred mile radius. Best heard through headphones to appreciate the complexity of it all, it even contains a reviewer baffling twenty eight minute song!
The album can be pre-ordered by searching Twisted Illusion Big Cartel, retailing for £13.50 including postage. The quirky rhythms of ‘Reflections’ that open proceedings are almost jazz influenced that build up to a mental finish even by Matt’s standards as everything is thrown into the melting pot towards an intense guitar heavy freak out. The long tracks ease in with the seven minute follower ‘Worlds Apart’ with thumping John Entwistle like bass lines adding muscle to the blustering grooves. Intense, thought provoking lyrics raise the bar high early.
The upbeat folk rock of ‘The Problem With Eternity’ bounces along on vibrant bass and guitar lines as a whisper to a scream vocal covers all emotional bases. I sensed a touch of Kashmir in the main riff to ‘I Wish I Was There’, probably the most straight forward track that has an eerie echo effect in the vocals. ‘Textbook Tyranny’, the first single lifted off the album but with all the Rush comparisons thrown at them, this is the only track here that reminds me of them. The riffs hit hard but the inventive drum patterns are my highlight here. The eight minute ‘Social Paradox’ is like being on a magic carpet ride through clouds with the wind blowing through your hair. Wistful guitar lines meander around Matt’s soothing vocals as it heavies up midway towards crunching riffs and fluid solos.
‘Three Strangers’ is right in your face from the off with hard hitting riffs reminding me of ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’ by the Cars. The dynamics are chest beating backed by some sublime lead guitar breaks. The spaghetti western like intro and ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’ vibe in ‘Nobody’s Child’ make it an album contender song for me with Matt pulling off some ridiculously long, high notes throughout as laid back musical pieces allow him to dominate before it ends in a Lizzy esque guitar fest.
A vintage UFO like guitar riff that opens ‘Different Light’ precedes a guitar solo that goes into the stratosphere as the band shift into overdrive. By two minutes my head was in a whirl due to the multitude of time changes as a lone, crushing riff sees Matt hit an ear wax clearing shriek. The mood is brought down by a lilting guitar, keys and another spine tingling vocal that see the song end on a virtuoso guitar outro solo. And so we come to the title track, all twenty eight minutes of it but if you have the song writing suss and balls to do it, then go for it which they certainly do with aplomb and it does not seem that long if you don’t look at the clock counting down due to the captivating music.
It begins with a piano medley taken on by the guitars and drums as huge riffs herald powerful Queen like multi tracked vocals as Matt takes the song by the scruff of the neck for a lung busting tour de force. The mood lightens briefly for a string section backed by a glorious guitar solo. A melodic chug precedes dramatic parts with hyperventilating screams that pave the way for an almost choral vocal as Queen like heaviness comes back to the fore. Yet another acoustic mood swing piece builds up the mood for vocal histrionics as the calm is shattered for a full on musical outro with Matt finishing off whats left of his lungs. Should be an interesting song to say the least if or when they play it live.
Closing track and my personal highlight is ‘Discovery’ which, with headphones on feels like having your ears aurally massaged for fourteen minutes. So laid back it could be horizontal as winsome guitar lines and a lilting piano are backed by an almost lullaby delivered lead vocal. A piercing guitar solo midway followed by a Gilmour like blues lead break eases off for a lone piano outro so quiet you can hear a pin drop.
Album track listing :-
The Problem With Eternity.
I Wish I Was There.
Insight To The Mind Of A Million Faces.