Evil Masquerade
Fade to Black

If you still think of classic Metal bands as veritable dinosaurs, not dying off soon enough to make way for more advanced and sophisticated contemporaries, then you are sadly misinformed about the current state of the genre. In fact, it’s as large as ever, and more often than not, a trove of new ideas being mixed in with the tried and true of the old. Denmark’s Evil Masquerade makes for an excellent example of this, as evidenced on their fourth full-length album Fade To Black.

This time, guitarist and chief composer Henrik Flyman has rallied a strong supporting lineup around his flag. Besides powerhouse vocal machine Apollo Papathanasio of Firewind fame, who already got in on the band’s previous album Third Act, the new album features Mind’s Eye mastermind Daniel Flores on drums, bassist Johan Niemann, notable for his work in Therion and Demonoid, and the legendary Tony Carey doing keyboards and Hammond organ, whose style of playing here will definitely remind many of his best days in Rainbow.

Fade To Black is perhaps the most memorable of the band’s four albums. As a composer, Henrik was clearly very inspired and there are plenty of proofs to be found throughout this disc. I may not have been quite impressed with the somewhat generic opener “Lights Out”, but the following pieces, “In A Dungeon Close To Hell” and “The Darkness Within”, certainly appealed to me. Whilst the former is especially good at blending the catchy onslaughts of double guitar leads along with Modern Metal vibes and organic textures, “Darkness Within” flirts with a nice sing-along chorus, while slowing things down to a hypnotizing murky verse which creates an impressive contrast to the faster sections.

“Hollow Souls” is yet another highlight. While not blazing any new trails, it nonetheless stands out with its fabulous Hammond Organ which is masterfully woven into Henrik’s Ritchie Blackmore sounding guitar accents with neo-classical embellishments and sporadic growls also fitting the song nicely. Of all, the songs, “Different Shades Of Black” is probably my favourite. I like the way its rhythm guitar flashes smoothly flow together with simple yet harmonic bass chords and half-whispered mesmerizing vocals from Apollo. The rest of the album offers similar pleasantries and is also well worth exploring.

I think this album will mainly be of interest to those who still appreciate the style of classic Metal with the mighty vocal performance a la Dio or Tony Martin, but are also accustomed to and welcoming of Modern sounds and all sorts of progression, like unpredictable instrumental passages and solos as well as a good sense of theatricality filling every track here with its own charismatic personality.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Igor Stakh
February 19th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Maidendeth

    Great review for a kick ass album \m/


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