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Emissary: The Wretched Masquerade
Emissary - The Wretched Masquerade Album Art

Emissary: The Wretched Masquerade

Traditional Heavy/Power Metal
3.5/5.0

Once more we journey into the depths of heavy metal obscurity to revisit another band: Emissary from Oregon in the northwest United States. But the roots of the band date back to 1989 where vocalist and drummer Jym Harris who formed the band in high school in Las Vegas. Four years later, having moved to Oregon, he recreated Emissary with guitarist and songwriting co-conspirator Tim Dahlen. Emissary dropped a few demos between 93 and 96. But the foundation of this band couldn't have happened at the worst time in rock/metal history. In the early nineties, Northwest America gave rise to grunge and nu-metal music, stabbing traditional metal in the heart and leaving it on life-support. Emissary disolved again. Harris would resurface in Sylent Storm nearly a decade later.

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Emissary

Dashing through history, Emissary returned in 2008, only to disband once again a year later. Jump to 2020 where Emissary was mentioned in the book Rusted Metal, a history of metal in the Pacific Northwest. This caught the interest of Germany's Underground Power Records to release a new recording. In the meantime, Emissary did some reunion shows in the same year wherein they opened for Tesla in August. Now the band, with several old members, drops their first long player, The Wretched Masquerade.

Before we get all excited, hot and bothered, by this recording, we must first note that this album does not contain any new material. Actually it's a mixing and mastering of eight tunes from Emissary's demo history. (Actually, it's unclear whether these few songs were actually re-recorded.) The CD also contains all the original songs from Emissary's four demos.

Musically speaking then, what you have with Emissary is classic and traditional heavy/power metal. Crafted around twin guitars and an ambitious rhythm section, the band delivers fast and heavy metal, perhaps with some slight thrash nuances. For the vocals, Harris can be a bit rough and raw, as with Out Of Reach or Chemical Hatred. Largely, to these ears, he sounds beaten down and gnarly in the songs. If he wanted, Harris could probably make a decent death metal growler. But the real take away is the spry guitar lines of Dahlen, often in the forward parts of songs, but also notable within Ruler Of Defiance and In Solitude.

So what does the future hold for Emissary? The obvious question is, will there be both more and new material ahead? I will not speculate. But for a slice of old school American traditional heavy metal, Emissary is the real deal and The Wretched Masquerade perhaps a contender for its modern revival. Check it out and support the band!




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The Take Away

For a slice of old school American traditional heavy metal, Emissary is the real deal and The Wretched Masquerade perhaps a contender for its modern revival. Check it out and support the band!

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