Sound — 10
Staind's newest CD, "The Illusion of Progress" shows the experience that Staind has. The songs are mostly very soft and have a melodic sound showing that Staind can basically play any style of rock. In my opinion every album gets better and better. The sound is much more mature sounding. The vocal talent is enough to impress anyone fans of Staind and non-fans alike. Mike and Johnny work well together to create perfect mix of bass and guitar riffs and Jon's drumming is still very impressive.
Lyrics — 9
Aaron's lyric writing skills are unbelieveable. Each song on the CD has very poetic and meaninful lyrics. Aaron has also improved greatly vocally, which I found hard to believe because he was already amazing. 01. This Is It - absolutely the perfect opener. It has a real strong guitar riff in the intro and immediately turns into soft melody verse and right back into a very powerful chorus. Awesome bridge riff too. 02. The Way I Am - is Aaron being very honest about himself and admitting he is not perfect, but at the same time doesn't want you to change him. 03. Believe - very good single and mainstream popularity already, "Believe"'s structure is reminiscent to that of "Right Here". 04. Save Me - has very good chord progression during the verse. One of the songs has a harder chorus. 05. All I Want - very well put together song. The chorus is amazing. 06. Pardon Me - the lyrics are great. The song has a ballad feel to it. 07. Lost Along The Way - great drum intro. Jon always does a very impressive job of accenting the music. The end is incredible, the overlapping vocals and harmonization that Aaron puts out is so awesome it makes me listen to that part of this song over and over. 08. Break Away - my personal favorite off the album. Probably the hardest song on the whole album. The chorus riff is great. 09. Tangled Up In You - definitely shows off Aaron's singing. This song is the "Epiphany" of this album. "Epiphany" followed "Can't Believe" which was "Break the Cycle's" hardest track. "Tangled up in you" follows "Break Away", which is the hardest on this album. 10. Raining Again - Mike's solo rocks! 11. Rainy Day Parade - another nice hard rock song with really good well written lyrics. 12. The Corner - a gospel style ballad that Aaron shows his tue talent. 13. Nothing Left To Say - good song but it should have been switched with "Rainy Day Parade" so that it could have ended with a hard rock strong ending.
Overall Impression — 10
Buy this CD if you like the softer side of Staind. Although there is some hard rock songs, the ones who love "Dysfunction", and "Break the Cycle" will probably not like this side of Staind as much as the did when they played hard rock/metal, but if you like "14 Shades of Grey" and "Chapter V" you will most likely love this CD as much as I did. So out and get the Limited Edition version of this album to get 3 bonus songs "It's Been Awhile," "Devil," and "Schizophrenic Conversations." Staind is definitely progressing.