STARDUST – Kingdom of Illusion

STARDUST - Kingdom of Illusion cover art
  • 6.8/10
    STARDUST - Kingdom of Illusion - 6.8/10


Label: Frontiers Music Srl
Release date: June 16, 2023

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

After forming in 2015, Melodic Hard Rock band Stardust released their self-titled debut EP in 2016. It drew a lot of attention from the underground Melodic Rock scene and helped them gain some hardcore fans, which eventually led the band to getting signed by Frontiers Music Srl. The band finally released their debut full-length studio release Highway to Heartbreak in 2020, which was well received by critics and fans alike. Now, almost three years later, the Hungarian rockers hope to keep their winning streak going with their second full-length studio release, Kingdom of Illusion.

The Good and the Bad

The album kicks off with the moody, orchestrated rocker “War.” It’s got an insanely catchy chorus, a piercing guitar riff, pounding drums, and a killer groove. The second track, simply called “The Fire,” is a throwback to Classic Rock / AOR music with big keyboards and irresistible Pop hooks. “Losing Me” takes those Pop hooks a step further and is more modern sounding. That one also has a great groove and the riff is fantastic.

“Make Me Feel Your Love,” although a strange title, is an excellent ballad that hits all of the feels. It has a beautiful melody, heartfelt lyrics, big keyboards, and pounding drums to give it a classic ‘80s feel. “Ain’t No Woman” is one of those fun rockers that listeners can blast on their stereos and have a good time. For the most part, Stardust does a fine job of combining retro elements and modern elements into one. The Pop hooks, the bright sounding production, and Adam Stewart’s vocals help with that a lot.

However, Kingdom of Illusion is a peaks and valleys album. The key change in the chorus and the lyrics prevent “Sacrifice” from reaching its true potential. While “Love Sells” and “Sarah” are forgettable and need more development, especially the latter. Another red flag is that the album’s last song is a cover of Cinderella’s “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone).” It’s not a terrible cover, but it’s hard to beat Tom Keifer’s gritty vocals from the original. Cinderella’s version has an edge because it was the ‘80s and everything was bigger; Stardust’s version is too tame.

Final Assessment

Kingdom of Illusion is not horrible, by any means. It’s pretty good, actually. The average songs just drag the album down a bit. Some may complain that it’s too commercial as well, but it depends on the listener. As for the cover of “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone),” it should be an automatic rule to never take on Cinderella, unless the singer can do Tom Keifer justice.

Album Tracklist

  1. War
  2. The Fire
  3. Losing Me
  4. Sacrifice
  5. Love Sells
  6. Heroes
  7. One First Kiss
  8. Make Me Feel Your Love
  9. Ain’t No Woman
  10. Sarah
  11. Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone) (Cinderella cover)

Band Lineup

Adam Stewart – lead vocals and rhythm guitars
Ben Martin – bass guitar
Peter Horn – drums
Dave Legrand – keyboards
Facey – guitars


  • Lana Teramae

    Lana is a reviewer at Metal Express Radio from Honolulu, Hawaii. She's always had a passion for music, but she didn't get into Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music until she discovered Rick Allen's story in the summer of 2019. She was inspired by his determination to play drums for Def Leppard again after losing his left arm in a car accident. From there, her tastes expanded to other bands such as AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Judas Priest, Saxon, Cinderella, and Overkill. Aside from listening to music, she loves watching YouTube and writing on her personal blog.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.