This is Illusion Suite’s second album and it is to be released on the 29th of March 2013, by Impulse Music. (http://www.impulsemusic.com/browsecatalog/)
Even before “The Iron Cemetery” has reached the stores it has gotten quite a bit of attention. Here you can experience the full story behind the production of “The Iron Cemetary”.
18th of January the album was shown to the public for the first time. Illusion Suite had an exclusive party for special invited guests (press and celebrities of the Norwegian metal scene.)
Eternal Terror wrote an article about the event. After one listen-through the magazine had the following conclusion: “If Illusion Suite was not at the very top of Norwegian prog metal elite before they certainly are now”. You can read the article in full here:
(The article is in Norwegian)
“The Iron Cemetery” has the following content:
Intro (instrumental): 00:55
Orpheus Quest: 05:03
The Iron Cemetery: 05:35
When love fails: 04:58
Nostradamus first prophecy: 04:23
The Ugly Duckling: 03:35
Orpheus Quest: This is a dialog between Orpheus and Hades. Orpheus goes down into the underworld to save his wife that Hades kidnapped.
Uni-Twins: Two different versions of the same person from different parallel universes tries to communicate with each other.
The Iron Cemetery: The concept is explained in more detail later in this article.
When love fails: A story about a boy who is neglected by his mother.
Nero: A simple story about a tyrant from ancient Rome? Or does it have a symbolic dimension?
Nostradamus first prophecy: This song is telling the story of the very first prophecy of Nostradamus.
The Ugly Duckling: This is the classic story about somebody who is not “shining” until he finds the right people to appreciate his qualities.
Premonition: Based on the historical battle between Saladin and the French Christian king that took place in the 12th century.
The album is quite short for a prog metal album. However, the band emphasized quality before quantity and every inch of music on the album has been carefully thought through.
The concept of “The Iron Cemetery”
Nicola Tesla was the scientist that started the building of the Wardenclyffe tower. It was to be used in research, but in reality they never even finished it properly. In Illusion Suite’s alternative reality the tower generates electricity that collides with the atmosphere of the earth. This causes an infectious disease that makes everything into iron to spread.
The cover design on the album is done by Anestis Goudas (http://www.anestisgoudas.com/web/) and the inspiration is taken from the ironized world that tesla’s failed project left behind.
The production of “The Iron Cemetery”
The production of the album was particularly difficult because some of the band’s material was torn apart as two of the members parted from the band in the middle of the recording process.
Luckily Illusion Suite managed to turn a disadvantage into an advantage in the search of a new angle to bring new creativity into the project. Once the new constellation with the current members where formed new creativity came into the project and the members made some of the best work they had done so far.
The first chapter of the project where the drums that was recorded sometime early in the year of 2011 by Roger Bjørge. This was before the band split up.
Illusion Suite was left with drums and some vocal arrangements as the guitar was removed. A new guitar with a different arrangement that still fitted into the musical picture had to be made. This was quite a puzzle, but over the course of four months the band managed to make guitars that would be the new sound for Illusion Suite.
While working on the album the band members would refer to the guitar as “The testosterone guitar”. The former member of “It’s the end”, who had won the progmetal award (http://www.progawards.it/index.php?option=com_muscol&view=artists&letter=I&Itemid=568), had the aggressive guitar style that the band needed.
You can view a few clips from Kim Jacobsen’s outrages guitar playing here:
Next up were the vocal arrangements. This was a process that the band had worked on from the earliest phases of the songwriting, as it was the most time consuming element of a prog music production.
The vocals took a slightly different direction than on the previous album. The sound generally turned out rougher and with more power in order to fit the “testosterone guitar”. In addition to the main vocalist, Bill Makatowicz, Roger Bjørge also participated on both backup vocals and lead vocal.
Here you can see a movie from the vocal recording. The video also contains a full song from the upcoming album at the end.
The bass recording was being done simultaneously with the vocal recording. The bass has got a central part in the music compared to what is normal with other progmetal recordings. Several places on the album the bass has come to play a major part, where it is leading on the music. Clips from the process, showing Dag Erik Johnsen playing bass, can be viewed here:
Most of the strings were arranged after everything else was in place. The synth arrangements on “The Iron Cemetary” binds everything together, and it does so in a new way.
The strings on the album is probably one of the things that extinguish this album the most from the previous one. There is a whole new quality to the arrangement and the sound is more electrical than before. There is a synergy between the guitar and the synth, and the synth like the guitar, has a leading role in the music.
The mixing process
The album was mixed and mastered at “Fascination Street studios” in Sweden by Jens Bogren. The studio has done bands/artists like Symphony X, Paradise Lost, James Labrie, Soilwork, Opeth and Amon Amarth to mention a few. The band was very satisfied with the final master and could not have hoped to get a better sound. Under you can see a movie of some of the mixing process: