ART OF ILLUSION - X Marks the Spot


Album: X Marks the Spot

Genre:  AOR / Melodic Hard Rock

Release Date: January 29th 2021

Country: Sweden

Label: AOR Heaven


Do you need something to brighten your day? Then I’d kindly suggest ART OF ILLUSION for your listening pleasure. The Swedish collaboration between singer Lars Säfsund (Work of Art, Lionville, Enbound) and multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Anders Rydholm (Grand Illusion, Code) released its debut album “X Marks the Spot” on January 29th via AOR Heaven and offers great melodic hard rock with some nice, musical surprises. 

“Wild and Free” opens the album and comes straight to the point thanks to its groovy riff. What stands out for me from the beginning is the amazing vocal performance of Lars. His range is impressive, tone and feeling just mesmerizing. You can hear his smile shining through the melodies, and it always warms my heart. "Run" is next with the same positive vibes. 

The following “My Loveless Lullaby” starts with a bit of harp and a melancholic intro, then builds up a great dynamic thanks to the amazing song-writing and  instrumentation. This one can easily get stuck in your head for days and is one of my favorites here. 

Let's take a look at the musical surprises: “Waltz for the Movies” is an homage to past films and their stars. The second one is “A Culinary Detour”, which impressively shows the talent of Lars, as he sings all parts. Some guys can even perform an Italian menu and make it sound awesome. These little interludes bring in something special and make the project name ART OF ILLUSION very fitting. 

The other songs remain in best AOR manner, with great harmonies, beautiful melodies, and an amazing variety. Changes in mood and tempo keep things interesting, the songs wander between more baladic tracks, like "4am" or "Race Against Time", and straight forward, melodic rock. "Let the Games Begin" and "Catch you if I can" are two more highlights for me. 

ART OF ILLUSION is like a musical ray of sunlight coming through the clouds – It’s impossible to be in a sad mood while listening to “X Marks the Spot”, and it develops this certain magic with every spin. Give it a try to see whether it works for you in the same way :-)  

Written by Katha


Lars Säfsund- Vocals

Anders Rydholm - Guitar, Bass, Keyboards

Guest musicians:

Per Svensson - Background Vocals

Frank "Frallan" Nilsson - Drums

Muris Varajic - Guitar Solos

Kristian Larsen - Guitar Solos

Jay Graydon - Guitar Solo

Pelle Holmberg - Guitar Solo

Daniel Rydholm - Guitar

Tony Paoletta - Steel Guitar


1. Wild and Free

2. Run

3. My Loveless Lullaby

4. Waltz for the Movies

5. 4Am

6. Go

7. Snakebite Charm 

8. Let the Games Begin

9. A Culinary Detour

10. Catch You If I Can

11. Rampant Wildfire

12. Race Against Time


X Marks the Spot - 2021