It happens time and again that members of different bands join together, also the case with EVIL MASQUERADE. The ingredients of this recipe? Well, take a Swedish guitarist (Henrik Flyman, ex MOAHNI MOAHNA and ZOOL) and let him meet the original ROYAL HUNT singer Henrik Brockmann in a Copenhagen Blues club. Add to that SINPHONIA drummer Dennis Buhl and the also Danish bassist Kasper Gram and you have – tadaaa – EVIL MASQUERADE!
The whole thing is called “Theatrical Metal“ and is advertised as “unique“, if that is not a bit much, but let’s get at this as unprejudiced as possible… Visually “Welcome To The Show” has turned out to be less than impressive, because this cover really does not give me the urge to put this CD in right away. Well, a little jump start may be excused, if you can cover it up musically.
The intro brings us a Metal version of Wagner’s “Ride Of The Valkyries”, an interesting and well done start, while the title track brings us fast, neo-classical Metal with intricate guitars, good vocals, but somehow not much more. “The Wind Will Rise“ continues right then and there, also with the typically Scandinavian sound, well written, arranged and played, but nothing that would mark EVIL MASQUERADE different from the rest, I’m not even starting with “unique”. The keyboard support by Mats Olausson (Yngwie Malmsteen), André Andersen (ROYAL HUNT) and Richard Andersson (MAJESTIC, TIME REQUIEM, SPACE ODYSSEY) doesn’t really help much anymore, they add to the great performance, but nothing to the innovation.
“Oh Harlequin“ with its good and pretty heavy guitar work is without a doubt one of the highlights of “Welcome To The Show“ and the implementation of Mozart („Surprises In The Dark“) and Beethoven („Children Of The Light“) sounds good, while “Deliver Us” on the other side is so not my thing…
The whole thing is, as said before, very well done and produced, partly orchestrated quite dramatically, with some classical influences and also some instrumental wizardry, but I ask one question: What make EVIL MASQUERADE stand apart from the rest of the comparable bands? The answer is: Absolutely nothing.
As conclusion I can only say that if you like bands of the neo-classical scene, this Swedish/Danish supergroup could be your thing, but even though I normally like this sound, I am really not sure how I could really recommend “Welcome To The Show“… (Online May 10, 2004)