Although the subject matter is very timely, musically, The Grand Delusion feels like it came out of a time machine stamped for 2006. The Intersphere’s latest enjoyable expedition (it really is a sonic adventure) continues the German act’s adoration for last decade’s heavy prog rock.
Armed with massive, burly, fuzzy riffs; hooks big enough to catch a Lovecraftian sea monster; and the dexterous, adventurous spirit to make music suitable for the biggest of stadiums without stooping to synthpop, The Grand Delusion is no mere carbon copy; however, what makes the album work so damn well is the same oomph that made mid-00s Muse, dredg (remember them?) and Fightstar so memorable.
These are songs that give the listener a lot to chew on, but nothing on The Grand Delusion feels overwrought or overloaded. The Intersphere’s keen understanding of making songs fun, first and foremost, elevates heady tunes like “Antitype,” “You Feel Better When I Feel Bad,” and the title track. Each of those three certainly employ a formula, but Christoph Hessler’s soaring, flexible vocal range brings something uniquely memorable to each of those songs; yet, the dual-guitar attack of Hessler and Thomas Zipner adeptly navigates the spacey moments as well as the earth-shattering riffs.
The Grand Delusion never gets lost in its own ideas, even if the overall execution of the album’s narrative isn’t wholly smooth, but the push to discovering truth and making the world a better place only elevates the sweeping music.
While the group’s past efforts featured similar ingredients, the act’s fifth record finds The Intersphere expanding on everything: the riffs and hooks are much bigger, and this record somehow results in a more melodic and metallic version of the band. This growth worked wonders, as The Grand Delusion is a truly wonderful release; it’s stadium-sized prog rock that never dumbs itself down for cheap thrills. If the latest Muse record disappointed you, The Intersphere are likely going to be your new favorite band.