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JFH Music Review

Spoken, Illusion


Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 12 tracks: 41 minutes, 47 seconds
Street Date: February 12, 2013

Spoken is no stranger to the hardcore/rock scene with many great records under their belt, like A Moment of Imperfect Clarity and Last Chance to Breathe. After delivering six albums on Tooth & Nail and Metro 1 Records, Spoken had been trying to figure out when they would be able to release their next project. Some slight changes have taken place in Spoken's sound (most notably the vocals); however, old fans will still be very receptive towards this change, as will new listeners. The wait is over and now Illusion is available to all in its entirety via eOne Music.

The first song, "Stand Alone," arrives in full force with screams and a good balance of melody with the chorus: "I stand alone before the fire / A past that's been chasing me / and so I face the flame now / I'm screaming out / I beg you to hear my voice / But I stand alone." The song seems to evoke one to move forward and let go of the things that are preventing progress for the best. Although a relatively short song, "Beneath the Surface" is a very straightforward hard rock track that complements the opener. Some very thoughtprovoking lyrics are found in "Through it All," "She watched the world as it slowly slipped away / Lost all her dreams in the ocean / She sees this face, feels this touch on her hand / Remembers when she had everything / One day she will again / I heard the sound saw the flashing lights / And watched the day turn into night." The song stresses that people go through trials, yet they can still pull through.

A positive characteristic about Illusion is that it persists in bringing some solid tunes here and there after the halfway point, which can be a curse for many artists. "Remember The Day" might be the song that would likely be labeled as commercial material due to the easily accessible melodies while also containing none of vocalist Matt Baird's signature screaming. However, it's still an impressive and passionate song ("Tell me what can I say / To show you love / And life is a treasure / I get from above"). "Take Everything" another unforgettable track with a slight ballad feel and traces of rock that make this song another favorite. It focuses on the importance of sacrificing, "There's more than love on the line / I'm begging you for life / Take what you want from me / Take it all the - air inside of me / My heart is just for the taking / Take what you want from me / Take it all / you are my everything." The album closes with a very unforgettable title track; "Illusion" reflects on how we need to let time heal, "Into the night - into the flame / Out of the ashes where healing begins / into the heart - into the world / that is where all our healing begins."

Usually when a band doesn't produce an album for as long as Spoken (almost 6 years), it's a miracle if the band can at least resume in the same fashion. Fortunately, Spoken has made a remarkable return with an achievement that surpasses all of their preceding efforts.

- Review date: 1/22/13, written by Wayne Myatt of

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

Matt Baird is the sole member of Spoken's original line-up and is still making music after 17 years. The band is now releasing their first album since 2007's self-titled record. While their self-titled was a bit of a disappointment, especially with Baird's weakest vocal attempt, Illusion is far from a let-down. To say Spoken has returned to form after a six year hiatus is an understatement. Baird's screams, and especially his cleans, are as good (or better) than ever. The record has plenty of heavy moments, but it also contains an equal amount of sing-a-long sections as well. Songs like "Stand Alone," "Don't Go" and "Shadow Over Me" rock the house, while others like "Remember the Day" and "Take Everything" scream out for you to sing. Yes, a couple of tracks sound like some Linkin Park material -- "Through it All" and "More Than You Know" certainly stand out as sound-alikes -- but the resemblance isn't too overbearing or annoying. Spoken has possibly released their best album to date and is undeniably a fun listen. Fans of the band or rock music with screaming vocals should definitely check out Illusion. - Michael Weaver, 2/12/13


. Record Label: eOne
. Album length: 12 tracks: 41 minutes, 47 seconds
. Street Date: February 12, 2013
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: AmazonMP3
. Buy It:

  1. Stand Alone (2:51)
  2. Beneath The Surface (2:40)
  3. Don't Go (2:53)
  4. Through It All (3:37)
  5. More Than You Know (4:01)
  6. Remember The Day (3:37)
  7. Shadow Over Me (3:03)
  8. Accuser (3:41)
  9. Take Everything (3:44)
  10. Tonight (4:27)
  11. Calm The Storm (3:43)
  12. Illusion (3:37)


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