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Kansas - Masque CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.66 | 554 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

For some reasons, this album escaped my radar for over two decades, maybe due (most-likely) to the usual band logo was missing (it was not that established back then), so when I finally did in the mid-90's, I was quite excited to unearth some gem lost between SFA and Leftoverture, and I figured it would be a masterpiece. I wouldn't say I was cruelly deceived, but I will admit to thanking myself for going blind over two decades over this semi-dud. Not only is the logo absent, but the artwork is a stinker (rotting food faces induces stench), although still with an unchanged line-up, but with much shorter songs, many of these being blatant radio-friendly would-be-hits (the opening track failed miserably), etc?..

The huge majority of these songs are more or less inspired would-be-radio-friendly AOR tracks with conventional chorus/verse structure despite a bunch of slight complexities (the yes heritage is still sometimes apparent), but none strike me as successful enough to have been a regularly played tracks, if you'll except Icarus and Pinnacle. These two tracks are in the small minority of longer tracks, the third being All Over The World, ranging from 6 to 9 minutes. Icarus holds good interplay, but unfortunately it has that same AOR edge of the rest of the album. The same problem is valid for All Over The World. Only the album-longest The Pinnacle do we recognize the group's ability to be full-blown prog like in SFA, with a typical Yes edge along with some much crunchier guitar parts.

With too few good tracks on it, Masques turned out to be the poorest album of the band during the 70's, just edged out by Monolith by a hair. Anything but essential, although you'll guess that I'm in a minority, as no fan of the group will consider any of these early albums as bad or poor, always finding reasons enough to like it.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |


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