Review | Thornbridge – Daydream Illusion

Massacre Records

Following their 2016 release `What will Prevail’ and sophomore album `Theatrical Masterpiece’ from 2019, I kept an eye open for the enjoyable German style power metal of Thornbridge. Their German roots fulfilled, the band’s efforts weren’t shocking, solid to say the least. `Theatrical Masterpiece’, didn’t live up to its potential, not to its title, but the groundworks of the album displayed the band’s altered direction. Slightly prejudiced I gave `Daydream Illusion’ a spin and I admit: It blew me away! 


Thornbridge’s shift has to be hailing from their recent line-up changes, pressing forward Jörg Nanender’s vision of their future. Signing off on a large chop of the album’s songwriting while handling vocals, acoustic guitars, bass and piano, his musical exposé increased. Likely his mark on Thornbridge caused the rift with only lead guitarist Patrick Rogalski remaining his companion, meanwhile enforcing their current line-up. Adding Rebellion bass player Thomas Göttlich and drummer Vincent Bechtold. Though original drummer Nils Kreul signed off on the recording of the new album, it becomes inevitable clear Thornbridge has anted up their game big time!


`Daydream Illusion’ does justice to the theatrical masterpiece the previous album proclaimed to be and sets sail with wonderful melodies and harmonies on the short and colorful ‘merry go round’ music box intro welling with phantasy. Storming into the riff laden title track, the band discharges wonderful harmonies and guitar themes stacked upon each other. Highly memorable vocal melodies pitch forward with grandeur. Reminiscent to the heavy metal and musical swirl of Blind Guardian and Gamma Ray, Thornbridge storms forward all guns blazing.

The guitar breaks, repetitive chord progressions and giant hooks unload adventurous maritime folklore with danceable morale rouses. Following this path ,,Final War” packs more dynamics and the multi-melodies are fused front to back with tempo-shifts. Bridge and chorus (chants) again slick melodic, much like Running Wild, featuring a polka-like danceable bliss. 


A lot going on at the center of the album, with crisp harmonized guitars firing simple and effective riffage, wonderful themes and short musical licks to increase the guitar density. The vocals tower into their swirling (also heavily harmonized) choruses that nest on the spot. For the first time in their history the band records a ballad that is matching the album’s conceptual spirit. The piano ballad meanders with piano and vocal interplay towards the superb guitar solo in which instrumentation builds tension and the vocals intensify over the pompous chorus. 

More upbeat, ,,Kingdom of Starlight” and the colorful ,,Island of Memories” are excellent, packing great musical interplay and melodies. ,,My Last Desire” gels well with its generic melody and sticky chorus, but little less memorable. The harmonies in place, the song fires on its musical engines, but lyrically and in terms of chorus needs a few spins to identify. 


The drum onslaught and high pace drum and guitar interaction swing the great ,,I am the Storm’’ into action. The drum dynamics and rhythm changes are impressive, fills and tom rolls add to the raw riff carnage while Jörg belts his higher register. The urge is tremendous and the song packs trademark epic choruses, much like on the following ,,Sacrifice” with its drum rattles and Teutonic drum and bass, which is more on the progressive edge. This high paced metal also rolls from your speakers on the dense and energized ,,Bird of Salvation”, but doesn’t instantly make impact. Again, it needs a spin or two. 

,,Lost on the Dark Side” tops it off with gigantic choruses and wonderful cinematic musical explorations breathing life into the story. The guitars at the helm, riffs and hooks are all extremely powerful while the solo execution is swirling with melodic prowess. Returning to form of its opening the breakdown of the track is impressive and makes. 


All of Thornbridge’s epic and cinematic ingredients build for the conceptual story of a boy working to safe his safe haven, his dream world. The violence and destruction of the characters is transmuted onto his own life being tugged away in a Victorian era mental asylum where he undergoes highly questionable shock treatments and mind-altering brain surgeries. This is all packed in a highly turbulent musical release of heavy German power metal, discharging a multitude of catchy slick melodies and nesting choruses, making `Daydream Illusion’ an indisputable must-hear album for fans of Avantasia, Blind Guardian, Orden Ogan and likewise bands. 

Thornbridge definitely surprises!

Release date: 22 March 2024



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