Subterranean Masquerade is progressive metal band based out of Israel but with an international cast of musicians. The band features members from Novembers Doom, Tristania, and Orphaned Land. In the past they've recorded two EPs and one full-length album. The Great Bazaar marks their return with their second long player, the first in ten years. According to the band, it's a concept album "about a man leaving home to find what's important in life and a dialog between so called Good and Evil." Which may account for one element within.
Musically, Subterranean Masquerade's style falls in the large genre of progressive metal, yet includes significant symphonic presence and then some Middle Eastern nuances. It's interesting and pleasing blend of music, with developed melodies, a heavy but not oppressive tone, some modest technicality, and a surprising balance of instrumentation. Actually, the music is the highlight.
The vocals not so much, at least the death vocals. This probably has something to do with the aforementioned "dialogue" concept, with the death vocals representing evil. In this modern metal age, it makes sense, but could have been done differently. Nevertheless, we all know that death vocals suck. Excepting the music, they basically ruin the first two songs Early Morning Mantra and Reliving The Feeling. After this they're dialed back in the next four song until you get to the last song Father and Son, where they trash that song too. I don't know. I hear the addition of death vocals and I just tune out, lose interest, and basically become dismissive of both the band and their songs. Otherwise, as said before, the music is pretty terrific. I'm guessing, if you're a fan of something like Orphaned Land, then this album will appeal to you.
With The Great Bazaar, Subterranean Masquerade presents a progressive metal concept album defined by some terrific and entertaining music, but then sabotaged by the inclusion of death vocals.
If anything can be said about founder and guitarist Michel St-Pere and his Mystery, he and the band are prolific in their output. If they're not offering consistent studio albums, the band delivers live CD/DVDs ... [ Read More ]