I always love being surprised by an unsigned band. At first, I was very tempted to label MASQUERAGE as Power Metal due to a few snippets of double bass that I heard, in conjunction with singer Kimmo Perämäki’s Michael Kiske-esque vocals. However, I wisely decided to wait before I passed judgment on the band’s genre, and as I waited, I heard much slower tempos, as well as more keyboards and a more Rock feel to the music. Yep, this is Melodic Metal through and through.
MASQUERAGE sometimes straddle the line between Power Metal and Hard Rock in much the same way as Axel Rudi Pell does, thus resulting in a few quick double bass songs, such as “Better Liar” and “Doctors Order.” In general, these songs are pretty good, but it’s the more midtempo songs that make up the meat of the album. The album opener, “We Will Never Learn,” is an epic song with a haunting intro and chorus, and it contains a few jarring tempo changes as well. The title track is a pure Rock song featuring a neat retro keyboard sound courtesy of lead piano man Mika Maunus. “Silver Wings” has an air of triumphant feelgood-ness about it. I’ve always preferred a strong double bass song to a (generally less energetic) midtempo song, but for MASQUERAGE, it’s the other way around. The slower songs have such a nice, lazy, laid-back feel that I can’t help but enjoy them.
To be honest, I’m kind of shocked that MASQUERAGE aren’t signed yet. The song quality is there, the performance quality is there, and hell, even the production quality is pretty decent. Hopefully there’s a label out there that can make it happen. Until then, Melodic Metal fans, this album is certainly worthy of your dollar.
(Online November 4, 2008)