Harsh Illusion is an eclectic four-piece out of Fargo, North Dakota. Their goal since their summer of 2002 inception has been the combining and reinterpretation of all of their influences, without creative boundries imposed by genres and labels. A mix of thrash, hardcore, melodic death, nu-metal, grunge, prog, sludge, emo, and doom metal make up the majority of the styles covered by the band, and myriad other influences poke through from time to time.
The history of Harsh Illusion is short and relatively uneventful. Formed in July of 2002 by Rick Cummings (guitar), TJ Weisenberger (vocals), and Matt Costello (drums), collective schoolmates from Dilworth and Glyndon, MN, and Chad Kartenson (bass) from Fargo, they began rehearsing where all bands rehearse at some point: the drummer's basement. Soon after, they relocated to a new home: The Compound, in Fargo, ND. After moving, it became apparent that Chad wouldnâ€™t work out as bassist, so Harsh Illusion and Chad parted ways. What followed was a short and intense search for a new bassist. Enter Greg Johnson, of Colfax, ND. His melodic, harmonic and progressive sensibilities led the band into new musical territory.
Move to March 2003. Sporadic gigging begins. The band record their first demo. While not exactly a beacon in the world of metal, it marks a landmark for the band. It is played on the radio and picked up by more than a few people.
However, after a few months things began to fall apart. Tension grew between TJ and the rest of the band, and eventually, TJ was fired.
Again, the search that followed was short and intense. It ended mere days after it was begun, with the band selecting former Catharsis member Adam Carico as its new voice. Adamâ€™s musical interests and vocal talents had given another boost to the fledgling group. Not only are his influences many and varied, his vocal flexibility and added guitar ability thickened out the sound of the band, adding depth and dimension theyâ€™d only touched upon previously.
After some time, the band records another demo. October 2003â€™s epynomous release featured better production and more complex songs. Rick, Matt, Greg, and Adam spent four months getting to know each other, learning to play off each other as a cohesive unit, and the demo shows that cohesiveness.