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Kansas - Masque CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.66 | 543 ratings

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4 stars I really don't like the opening bar-room boogie tune It Takes A Woman's Love To Make A Man, but aside from that this album is a near flawless example of Kansas' particular brand of art-rock. Full of tight playing, creative lyrics, incisive solos, and impassioned vocals, Masque is brimful of nuggets. While's it true that the group already started off with a bang and then recycled most of its ideas, the songwriting got better and better, and there are a few peaks on this album.

Masque has its moments of sheer prog brilliance in Icarus (Borne On Wings Of Steel) which has a chorus that still gives me chills and the suitably-named epic The Pinnacle, which is a multi-dimensional piece which pulls out all the stops. The shorter hard-rocking songs like the awesome Child Of Innocence, Two Cents Worth and the thrill a minute Mysteries And Mayhem also see the guys in top form. It's You and All The World which moves seamless from a violin/piano intro to a major heavy rock part also contain great moments although I don't rate them as highly as I do the others.

If I do have a complaint, it's that the Moog and ARP synth leads that characterized some of Kansas' earlier work is not present often enough here (a brief section during an excellent instrumental interlude in the middle of The Pinnacle is about all we get.) Ironically despite not containing any of my three favourite Kansas songs (and those are Dust In The Wind, Carry On Wayward Son and Song For America) Masque is the Kansas album I turn to the most. The bonus tracks include a rehearsal version of Child Of Innocence that shows just what a strong live band Kansas was at the time. ... 80% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 4/5 |


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