Sometime during early 2005 I stumbled upon this 2-song EP by a mysterious band I knew nothing about. It was very cheap on this online cd store I used to buy from and the description made it sound like something I'd like.
Upon getting the album and listening to it, I was stunned."This is brilliant; how come it is flying under the radar? why is it not hailed by more folks? why are the only praises limited to underground metal circles?"
Upon further exploration I found out that this band, Subterranean Masquerade, is the brainchild of Tomer Pink, Israeli guitarist (now living in the USA) along with Jake DePolitte and a variety of other musicians, including Andy Winter of Winds and vocalist Paul Kuhr of Novembers Doom (I love his growling). They embarked on a trilogy that started with the 2004 EP, Temporary Psychotic State, telling the story of X, an everyday protagonist and his experiences and mental states.
The first full-length, Suspended Animation Dreams, came out in 2005 and was as good as the EP. A gorgeous eclectic album, with metal, jazz and rock elements, mixed vocal styles and strong emphasis on song-writing. Indeed, the songs were carved deeply into our ears (my wife's and mine) as we were listening to this on repeatedly.
We have been waiting since for the third release, In Pastille Colors, which was promised to be out by now.
The band also did two covers, one is The Summoning Of The Muse by Dead Can Dance and the other is Cuts You Up by Peter Murphy (a wonderful cover).
In 2005 I wrote a short review about the EP:
A short EP, but what great music!
The first chapter of the trilogy of an individual named X. It begins in his room, number 63, where he tells us his story abut his madness, his desires and hallucinations. And the music that he plays fits this mood so perfectly, you feel as if you are with him in his mind. You can feel his agony, his tormented soul, his psychological scars caused by the woodpecker in his head.
This band is the brainchild of Tomer Pink who wrote here the lyrics along with Yishai Swaerts (An Israeli metal figure and previously vocalist for Israeli metal bands Nail Within and Moonskin). Pink surrounded himself with very good musicians in order to achieve the best possible result, which he has. Every note here is carefully thought of, planned and carried out in a very good manner.
The first song starts with a tune that sounds as a park show amusement theme. Then you hear an acoustic guitar greeting you in, and a slightly mad voice welcoming you. Then the music starts and the violin makes sure you understand you have entered into a hall of insanity. The vocals at first are clear and "normal" and in the second part of the song change to death growls which are Paul Kuhr's specialty (He is the vocalist of Chicago's doom band November's Doom). The music flows on perfectly; creating weird, disturbing soundscapes that along with the lyrics make you wonder where the hell it is that you have wondered into. At about 4:20 begins the part that leads to the climax of this song. The lyrics and the music together create an effect that surpasses anything each one alone could have achieved. And then Paul switches to death growls singing abut his Psychotic State of Mind. His voice/growls just points out how much disturbed X is, and in how much pain he is. The music itself is so beautiful, making you sympathize with X, feel sorry for his pain.
Then the second song, starting again acoustically with the violin's perpetual company to warn us, this insanity is not over yet. In here we hear Susan Naud's beautiful vocal performance that perhaps personifies X lost love and his memories of her. Then the music changes again its style to the last part which is a cry for help.
The music is somewhat eclectic in that, that there are many genres blended perfectly into one composition. You get rock, metal, some folkish tunes (which the violin creates) and other bits of other styles – the result is progressive music that keeps on evolving all the time, not resting in its place, searching for more ways of developing and original.
The music is beautiful, the musicianship very good, the emotions expressed are overwhelming. A brilliant piece of work.
Metal-Archives band page
Prog Archvies band page