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Goad - Masquerade CD (album) cover

MASQUERADE

Goad

 

Eclectic Prog

3.64 | 30 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Strange, windy, and unsettled....

Goad is a project over 30 years old who have joined forces with the illustrious Black Widow Records. Led by Florence based brothers Gianni and Maurilio Rossi the band has numerous releases. While this is the first album I've heard by Goad I have a distinct gut feeling "Masquerade" is a special one, it feels like a band reborn rather than a band at the end of a long road. The most obvious influence to me is Van Der Graaf Generator though there are also notes of Crimson and darker heavy rock and prog-rock bands. The band is very much in step with another well known band of Italian VDGG devotees, their label mates in the superb Areknames. I actually prefer Goad to Areknames a little bit though, while still dense there is more contrasting space here. Other references that came to mind include Hero, Procol Harum, sometimes even Jacula for the dark organ atmospheres.

At 77 minutes "Masquerade" is a long and chilling journey which some will say could use editing, but those who enjoy it will not want it to end. Driving heavy guitars and bass, chunky, lumbering and distorted are featured with all manner of dark keyboard textures, saxophone, and larger than life vocals. The moods are powerful and thundering, occasionally contrasted with eerie softer sections which just make the tracks pop with intrigue. In these sections you will experience sumptuous solo string performance, flute, and acoustic guitar----even a classical solo interlude at one point. But the most important impression to convey is the sense of unease and imbalance foisted on the listener as this unfolds like a tale from a dusty old magician's book. The music's structure in these weird sections are unpredictable and throw you off base, they make you feel odd somehow. True haunting mood music, I love it! Several pieces are long enough to allow some great instrumental stretching. Some listeners are going to find this work an unstructured mess while others (like me) are going to love the strange magic and feeling of being lost in the woods. The two part "To Helen" may be my favorite, featuring spirited guitar leads challenged by violin accompaniment, it then spirals into a strange place with descending piano lines behind the bold string performance. The five part title suite closes the album with a hearty epic feel and charms. I really enjoy these kinds of intimate projects which sound so different from much of what is out there these days. You can tell these guys are still in it for the love of good music.

"Masquerade" is going to thrill lovers of the dark, turbulent prog-rock that Black Widow specializes in. The only thing that would have made it better for me personally would have been Italian vocals. But I'll spare you that rant this time. Don't miss Goad if you enjoy Areknames or Jacula/Rex, though Goad are not as overtly dark as the latter. Italy is having yet another great year of releases! 3 1/2 stars.

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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