You can check out and purchase the latest release from, Lunar, here!
Prog rock, prog metal, progressive, all these connotations of "prog" within the world of both rock and roll and metal bring about visions of the legends within the scene. Dream Theater, Haken, Steven Wilson, Ayreon, to the heavier albums from older era Opeth, Mastodon and Periphery and many more, progressive music has always been a genre that sits on the side with a subset of niche' music alongside niche' followers, similar in fashion to black metal. There is of course a large fan base for both, but these types of bands seem to have a hard time finding fans crossing genres. Some however have had success in doing so while others tend to stick within their fan base. Lunar on the other hand, is on its own level with the music that Alex Bosson of California brings to the table, which I personally feel lends a helping hand in his music being able to cross those lines into other genres while still remaining true to his musical roots for Lunar.
Alex has been working hard at honing the Lunar blade across an early EP and three full length albums now that with each release has seen him bring in more elements and dabble into new territories with each new track. This solo project from Alex has seen it's shares of hardships, from loss of members and friends along the way to having to meet guest musicians in the middle with their busy schedules for them to appear on specific tracks from all of his releases so his music is exactly how he imagines it to be, he is, after all, the sole composer of this orchestration. Through said hard work and diligence however, Alex has given to us another full length album entitled, The Illusionist.
The Illusionist starts off as if one is opening a new mysterious book, once the dust has been blown off and the first page has been turned, we are pulled in to the mind of the protagonist of this story through first hand narrative. We are treated with an opening dialogue of what seems to be the headmaster of the show introducing the protagonist in the opening track, Prestidigitation. You can almost feel the anxiety the main character is feeling while awaiting his moment to walk out on stage. The music here has an almost unsettling vibe to it with a guitar melody that evokes these feelings equally. Through the obvious intentional cacophony of nerve wracking musical movements, we are treated to some rather slick guitar riffs and soothing wind instrumentation from Gleb Kanasevish, to help calm things down a bit between movements, and movements are what this album is definitely presenting, with each one moving this story forward.
After a beast of an ending of the opening song, we move on to the title track, The Illusionist. We now begin the dive into this persons psyche. Feeling the forced emotions one feels when longing for something new, or a more deeper meaning in life, rather than going through the motions day in and day out, constantly searching for that "something" to make it all worth it. Clean vocals from the talented, Chandler Mogel, returning once again to front the music Alex has created, alongside Lunar mainstays, Ryan Price on bass, Balmore Lemus playing guitars, and of course Alex on the drums and writing all the music itself. Brian Lewis provides the Death growls as a counterpart to the clean vocals that create an almost, "beauty and the beast" approach to the music. The Illusionist sets the stage both musically and lyrically for the remainder of this album, intermixing elements of death metal, swing, blues and jazz, with some fantastic piano provided by keyboardist of this album, Alex Nasla. Additional musicians rounding out this particular track are Patrick Corona on the saxophone and Andy Gillion providing additional guitar solos.
Our next chapter in this musical journey is one that sees the album pick things up in what can be said as classic Lunar for fans since it's inception. Showtime brings forth the excitement that goes hand in hand with being a performance artist, but with a twist. You can tell the protagonist both loves what he does and hates it, he appreciates the audience but at the same time loathes them, almost as if they feel as if they're a slave to the audience, doing their bidding. You can definitely feel this energy and anger presented in the aggressive musical arrangements here that's almost evocative of old school Megadeth with that "in your face", balls to the wall assault, compliments of solo work from Taylor Washington, this track will get your asses out of your chairs and moving on down to the pits for sure!
Seemlessly flowing without missing a beat into the next track is, Worship The Sun, you really have to be paying attention to know that this is a new track, it flows so well between the two. Opening with a middle eastern flavor that is heard throughout the song, this one might be my favorite track on this album. Really creative drums from beginning to end that compliments the spicy guitar work. This is definitely a unique and welcome addition to the Lunar catalog of songs.
Up next, Turn Off The World feels almost as if its a direct sequel of sorts, both musically and lyrically, from the previous albums(Eidolon) track titled, Comfort. A sense of loss and sorrow are present here but seems to almost give the audience a feeling of hope, that one should never give up and to keep pushing forward. By far the most audibly accessible track on this album, Turn Off The World is a catchy tune that admittedly, I found myself having the chorus stuck in my head all day after going over this albums review. Additional guitar solos on this track are provided by Sam Vallen.
Mysterious and foreboding is the vibe of the next track, Disassembled. A slower song, Disassembled features more wind-work instrumentation presented by Jorgen Munkeby that adds a mental and musical ailment to the audible experience. You can feel the protagonist in deep regrets, longing for something from the past, with less cares in the world, almost as if he is currently, in the present, a shattered soul looking to put himself back together.
The dread of the previous track carries over to the opening of the next, Juggling Chainsaws, before exploding into a heavy as all hell riff that hits you upside the head. This song is a strong contender for my favorite from this album, just slightly below or side by side with Worship The Sun. The guitar solos in this one from Christian Munzner, add a hectic energy to an already upbeat riff-fest. Brian Lewis returns for more of the beastly vocal approach that creates that dark meets beautiful dynamic range here that glues this all together musically. A frantic song until the mid section change up into a emotional rollercoaster ride until the end, truly aids in helping you feel the complexities of the inner workings of our main character and his inner demons.
For My Next Trick is up next. With an opening from the movie of which this album shares it's name, it delivers a curious dialogue of attempting to control time, adding to the aforementioned concept of possibly having and living with past regrets, longing to go back and change things or to try, "this", rather than, "that", hoping for a different outcome. The music in this song is quite beautiful and powerful in it's simplicity, showing that even in prog bands, sometimes they know when to keep it simple, which helps to drive the emotive point home.
Finally on this concept album, we have the closing track, Now You See Me. Featuring violin and viola work by Ben Karas, this song wraps things up with a emotional bow. Tying things together musically and lyrically with the overall concepts of this album, another slower song that exemplifies the musical approach of a ballad, complete with the powerful build up to the end that thrusts the song into overhaul for quite the ending bang to this musical presentation that Alex Bosson has painstakingly crafted for us all to enjoy. Instrument by instrument, until all the pieces of the puzzle that is now known as, The Illusionist, can be heard in its entirety by all, Alex has put in an incredible amount of thought and imagination to what is by far his most diverse and creative offering yet with his project, Lunar.
Having been there since the beginning of Alex's musical career, I can say that I have not only watched him grow musically, but have also witnessed him mature as a musician. From brutal black metal bands, his first band, Scythe and one of his current projects and second band, The Obsidian Resurrection, to currently playing in the sci-fi themed, Helion Prime Alex has truly been a inspiration to behold. He has gone through his own hardships in this life, dealing with great losses and battling and conquering physical health, yet through it all I have seen someone whom I consider a brother rise up above it all time and time again, and through these experiences, I feel that Lunar is his personal avenue of expression and a way of helping him cope with the world. His passion for music, of all genres, is expertly woven through each new track that he writes on each new album with Lunar. The Illusionist is quite the musical journey of ones mental states and the innerworkings of ones soul. This album is a rock solid 8.5 out of 10 for me as it not just "ticks" the boxes of a solid and excellent prog metal album, but the incorporation of all the other musical elements and genres helps elevate this release above just your typical prog metal or prog rock album and will definitely help fans of other genres take notice of this music. I for one am excited and curious to hear what comes next with Lunar after hearing this album, you can listen to it and purchase it for yourself here, and dont forget to follow Lunar on all social media platforms.
Review by, Joshuah Jones, the bassist of The Obsidian Resurrection