Illusions of Gandeur
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Illusions of Gandeur

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE | AFTRA

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Hard Rock

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"Illusions of Grandeur Mine the Depths of Ancient Mythology for Compelling Music and Aesthetic"

If you like your hard rock and metal music accompanied by riveting visuals, a powerhouse live show that incorporates a distinctly epic and theatrical tone, alongside a compelling narrative story that brings together aspects of myth, legend for a truly wonderful and all-encompassing entertainment experience, you’re going to love the debut album, The Songs of The Siren, by Lancaster, Pennsylvania quintet Illusions of Grandeur. It is set for release on Aug. 30.

After plugging away on the music scene for many years in various bands without either commercial success or personal, creative satisfaction, CM and Maggie, the core artistic duo behind the music and concept for Illusions of Grandeur, decided they needed to do something bold, something that would make a powerful visual, aural and philosophical statement.
“It’s a little bit like a metal opera. It’s a concept album and a full on show. There are elements of Queen and Kiss and In This Moment and then you throw in a bit of Broadway and Opera and that’s what we do. Maggie and I were in a rock band for a while and were doing some touring but felt that it had all been done. How many times are you going to see guys on stage in t-shirts and jeans, or even with good lights and good songs, but no real show for the people? Nowadays, we feel like if people are there and have paid their hard-earned dollars to see you play live, you really want to give them an all-out performance – something they will remember,” said bassist CM (his preferred off-stage moniker, to help maintain a sense of mystery surrounding the band.

“And Maggie has a background in theatre and opera and I am a producer and songwriter as well as bassist so we took our strongest attributes, which were writing and production and stagecraft and put it all into a hat and pulled out the hallmarks of what would become Illusions of Grandeur, including the story of the Siren.”

Illusions of Grandeur are under no illusions as to the scope of the project they have set out for themselves. The forthcoming album Songs of the Siren is meant to be the first of a comprehensive three-part conceptual trilogy that will be infused with a dynamic range of music, compelling and sometimes lush production, and a story arc that will take the listener on a journey rooted in history, myth and the reality of Maggie’s own experiences. Maggie, of course is the Siren, which is a nickname she has had for years, and it is the ‘character’ she portrays on stage during Illusions of Grandeur shows.

“The story is a mash-up of mythologies. Basically, the story is about the Siren losing her powers and her wings and her place on Mount Olympus. It’s an awakening for her, and an epic journey. She is supposed to protect Persephone the daughter of the goddess Demeter and Zeus. Persephone is cast out because she loses Persephone to Hades the god of the Underworld when she is down gathering flowers on Earth and Hades snatches her up to be his queen. Because of her, all seven of the Sirens, of which I am the Queen, are banished until I can bring Persephone back,” Maggie explained.

“And that sets up most of what is on the first record. It’s her awakening and realizing it is her purpose to get Persephone back, and the Siren realizes she needs to build an army to do that. So, she is drawn to other immortals and kind of forms a gang, which become the players in the band. And they are drawn from all over the place. We have the Archangel Michael which is what CM plays, and we have Vikings on guitar, Taranis (Nolan Jackson-Barr) and Thano (Nick Dowling) and our drummer Dave Herr is Mercury, the messenger of the Gods. They all have a special purpose in the story. This first record ends on a bit of a cliff-0hanger and it’s where the next record, The Siren, will pick up. The third chapter is tentatively titled The Siren Rises.

“She eventually realizes, after losing her wings, that she is drawn to water and once in the water, realizes that she is a mermaid and becomes a Siren of the sea. The first single, Red Sky Morning is her basically sending out a warning to sailors, and that’s what the red flag in the live show is about. She is warming the sailors that she is capable of controlling the seas. It’s from the old adage, ‘red sky in the morning, sailors take warning; red sky at night, sailor’s delight.’ It’s a warning song where she essentially tells you what she’s going to do before she does it.”

Like a good concept album, a number of the songs can be ‘lifted’ out of the overall narrative and be stand alone tracks, much in the way that Pinball Wizard and See Me, Feel Me were for the Who off their Tommy rock opera record. CM said that Illusions of Grandeur actually made radio-friendly single remixes of three songs: the aforementioned Red Sky Morning, as well as Awakening and Breathe – that latter two are excellent as stand-alones but are also keys to the overall Siren saga.

Another compelling track is Silent Suicide, which is part of the tale that nearly spells the doom for The Siren.

“That is a story I pulled from Greek mythology where I use the character of Odysseus, who in my version is actually the Archangel Michael, but the Siren doesn’t realize that. He is in disguise and is crossing the ocean near where the Sirens are, and no mortal is capable of crossing the Sirens without being lured to their death. If they do manage to get past, the Siren has to commit suicide. My Siren character meets the Archangel in that song, realizing that he is able to get past her and thinks she may have to commit suicide, but then looks into his eyes and realizes he is not a mortal.

“The song Breathe, which is also a future single, is the one and only love song on the album, and it’s the Siren falling in love with the Archangel. It’s the only love song I have ever written and it’s also the first song we completed for the album. It was kind of a test to see if the concept was going to fly. And we were happy with how it turned out and just kept on moving forward from there.”

Both CM and Maggie point out that as much as the story is a crucial component to the Siren trilogy, the music is actually pre-eminent in their minds during the entirety of the creative process.

“I didn’t want to have to fit the songs to the story, rather it’s the opposite. We sketched the whole story out, but it’s about the songs – it’s song driven. So, we let the songs take the lead,” said CM.

Maggie said her fascination with mythological characters and stories started at an early age and has never abated.

“In my eighth grade English class we had a unit specifically about Greek and Norse mythology and I have been interested in it ever since. I was super excited too when the Percy Jackson movies started coming out, even though they were a little bit hokey, but still pretty cool. And then there is the Vikings TV show in the History Channel, which rocked my world. It’s a deep seated thing for me, I feel as though I have some kind of connection with these stories and these myths – they have been a part of me ever since I started learning about it in school,” she said.

“I have a lot of the English translations of the old sagas and books and tried to watch and read everything that currently comes out about Norse and Greek mythology. I have read many articles on Sirens and their different kinds and where they come from. I find it incredible that I am Italian, and Sirens are supposedly from Sicily, which is where my roots are. I have always been fascinated by them and I feel that is maybe where my connection comes from.”

It is an impressive feat to be able to incorporate the sorts of theatrical elements, from costuming to stage movement to props and other visual elements, without it becoming distracting. For Illusions of Grandeur, the whole point is to create an experience that wallops the audience in all their senses.

“We’re not doing this to try and be cool. We are taking these elements from the sagas and from history and then elements from fantasy so that when people come to our show, we want to let them have that fantasy element and that Dungeons & Dragons thing. We’re mixing ideas, we’re mixing the mythologies and producing a show and music that goes with it. It gives people a chance to put their own imagination into it and interpret the stories and the songs how they want to interpret it,” said CM.

“It’s a rock show. When people first look at us and see all the lights and the makeup and banners and the theatrics they don’t get turned off, because at the core of everything, we rock. We got out there and we are moving around and playing great rock music. Even if people are a little hesitant to all that at first, we find that after a few songs rockin’ out we break down that resistance because there is great drumming and solos and vocals. We’re trying to hit as many levels as possible with our show and our music, and we are serious about it. I think a little bit of that seriousness and putting an effort into rocks shows got lost. People took on a little too much of that sloppy drunken rock star thing, not respecting the audience. And that’s one thing we’re really very serious about is making sure we do it right and we do it to the best of our ability 24/7.”

The band has toured throughout Europe over the past two summers and has garnered both critical acclaim and legions of fans. This is no surprise, considering European audiences are more familiar with the theatricality of the stage show and music of Illusions of Grandeur, thanks to the onslaught of symphonic metal and other forms of metal incorporating elaborate costumes, storylines and personas. They are also more used to female fronted metal acts.

“They get us over there. They love us. Our goal at the end of 2019 is to get The Songs of the Siren album done and use the first part of 2020 to kind of conquer over here in North America and bring the message here. In the Ukraine, the U.K., France and Germany, they already like it and get it. The crowds come out in droves to see us, so we’re kind of working in reverse. We went over there last summer and tested the waters to see if our concept was viable. It definitely was, and now we’re ready to bring it to America. It has been an interesting journey so far over the last couple of years, and it’s just getting started,” said CM.

For more information on Illusions of Grandeur, The Songs of the Siren and forthcoming tour dates, visit http://www.iogmusic.com.

Jim Barber is a veteran award-winning journalist and author based in Napanee, ON, who has been writing about music and musicians for a quarter of a century. Besides his journalistic endeavours, he now works as a communications and marketing specialist. Contact him at jimbarberwritingservices@gmail.com. - Music Life Magazine


"Illusions of Grandeur – The Songs of the Siren"

oday we offer up for your attention one of the most striking and impressive debuts you are likely to hear this year. It comes from theatrical hard rock/fantasy metal band Illusions of Grandeur and goes by the name of The Songs of the Siren. Quite simply it is one of the most fascinating and rousing releases we have come across with all the reasons on display as to why the band has such a devoted following.

Hailing from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Illusions of Grandeur have drawn rich praise, support and attention with their live shows, each soaked in energy and drama now vocal within their first album. The Songs of the Siren is the first release in the grand tale of The Siren Saga. The album takes the listener on epic adventures with the Siren and her warriors, their perils and triumphs revealed through fact and fiction “combining Greek and Norse Mythology, Sirens, Warriors, Archangels, and Kharon “The Ferryman.” It is a rich adventure immersed in just as fascinating and rousing sounds bred on a tapestry of flavours which proves hard to define but easy to devour.

Illusions of Grandeur and The Songs of the Siren are ‘led’ by the presence of The Siren with one of the most compelling voices to grace these ears in recent times. Alongside her warriors of sound consist of bassist Archangel Michael, drummer Mercury, and guitarists Taranis and Thano, a quintet which together cast a tempest of sound as varied, imaginative, and contagious as it is formidable and insatiable. As waves break upon the album’s creative shore and a lone melody casts its melancholic sigh intrigue made a swift companion, opener Fallen/Awakening instantly a potent lure but only just beginning to cast its spell. Quickly an even more enticing thread of guitar is coaxing ears, an invitation soon inescapable as The Siren shares her irresistible tones. To say we were hooked within the tracks opening minute is an understatement and only further enthralled and enslaved as the song proved one of the most devilishly captivating musical moments. Its controlled and virulent bait only intensifies as sonic flames erupt and the track’s springs its full rapacious trespass, the track setting the striking character and thrill of the album. - The Ring Master reviews


Discography

Illusions of Grandeur "The Songs of The Siren" Pavement Entertainment 2019

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Bio

illusions of Grandeur is a Theatrical Hard Rock/Fantasy Metal band based in Lancaster, PA. In 2015 they took the PA and NJ scenes by storm, debuting “The Siren Saga” live show. The Siren Saga is a story of the journeys, perils, and triumphs of the Siren and her warriors. The story mixes fact and fiction combining Greek and Norse Mythology, Sirens, Viking Warriors, Archangels and Kharon “The Ferryman”. The first part, “The Songs of the Siren”, is to be released on Pavement Entertainment in 2019.