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Yoke Shire - Masque of Shadows  CD (album) cover

MASQUE OF SHADOWS

Yoke Shire

Prog Folk


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loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars So here is a zero cheese factor release which I am sure will fill the bill if you are into heavy classic rock affiliated prog. To best describe "Masque Of Shadows" you must imagine loads of analog synths, organ and piano drenched with deep, complex and precise drumming littered with acid laced guitars and dark bass rhythms. Songs are excellent and seem to never stand still taking on many different identities. YOKE SHIRE are a highly inventive band who deliver a high energy ever-changing crafted progressive music. One of YOKE SHIRE's greatest attributes lies in their originality, attempting to always bring out their own colors and character into the music. Vocals are deep and dark and in many ways haunting ! To give you an idea as to how wide and range YOKE SHIRE play let me acknowledge some of the musical allusions one may derive such as HENDRIX, ZZ TOP, RUSH, Celtic influences, The Psychedelia and even DEEP PURPLE. Overall this album is fine enough to serve in the worlds finest restaurants.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#7723)
Posted Monday, March 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
Steve Hegede
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After reading through the promo of YOKE SHIRE's debut album, and before listening to their music, I guessed that these guys probably played aggressive, riff-oriented, retro progressive rock. In fact, the photos of the band members, who look a bit like members of JETHRO TULL, circa 1972, gave me the impression that they were a TULL-clone band. But, the music tells another story.

YOKE SHIRE are definitely progressive rock, yet they sound nothing like the 70s prog bands that they list as influences. The band seems to have the same philosophy as GENTLE GIANT in that they love to play multiple instruments, and mix different styles of music in the same composition. The various styles of music explored here include latin grooving, heavy metal, English folk, and church-influenced chanting.

The trio seems very interested in building grooves, and creating atmosphere. So, nothing reaches a very high level of complexity, although the mixing of various musical styles gives an unpredictable quality that keeps the ears alert. You might guess that the musicians are leading towards a certain point, but instead they whip out an unexpected groove, or introduce new instruments. The impressive thing is that it all sounds very smooth, and never awkward. At first, the vocals on a few tracks surprised me, though, they quickly became enjoyable. The vocal style here reminded me of the bluesy, yet oddball, vocals on Frank ZAPPA's "One Size Fits All". There is a non-serious element to the lyrics that is unusual when compared to the typical, serious, prog vocals on other modern albums. Anyway, this is one of the top releases from 1999.

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Send comments to Steve Hegede (BETA) | Report this review (#7726)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
Greger
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The American progressive rock band YOKE SHIRE came as a big surprise to me. With a very appealing 70's sound they instantly found their way right to my heart. Although they're only three band members they have a wide spectrum of instruments. They're using flute, guitars, keyboards, bass, harmonica, dulcimer, mandolin, bass pedals, Theremin, marimba, melodihorn, drums, percussion and Glockenspiel. The front man Craig Herlihy who is a skilful multi-instrumentalist plays most of the instruments.

YOKE SHIRE's 70's influenced progressive hard rock is a mix between ATOMIC ROOSTER, CAMEL, DEEP PURPLE, GENTLE GIANT, INCREDIBLE HOG and JETHRO TULL, with strong compositions, complex arrangements and a very good production overall.

When I saw the front cover I was expecting something completely different. Something that would sound like some average 80's heavy metal band, but that was oh so wrong. YOKE SHIRE is a band that will appeal to those who are into 70's hard rock and progressive rock. Highly Recommended!

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Send comments to Greger (BETA) | Report this review (#7724)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars From Boston, Massachusetts, comes this US band, fronted by two brothers, Craig and Brian Herlihy.It was 1993, when multi-instrumentalist Craig Herlihy came up with the idea of Yoke Shire along with his brother Brian (guitar, backing vocals).The duo enjoyed performing live with the help of session musicians and released the single ''A Foreshadowing'' in 1998.Both tracks of this single made it to the first album of the band ''Masque of Shadows'', recorded at West Sound Studios in New Hampshire and released in 1999 on Zygo Records.

A modern Psych/Folk/Heavy Progressive Rock album, ''Masque of Shadows'' by the Herlihy brothers (along with drummer Brad Dillon) proposes a unique but not always consistent blend of doomy Heavy Rock sounds, organ-driven Progressive Rock, Boogie Rock and American/Celtic Folk with often interesting results.What really spoils this effort are the mediocre vocals of the brothers, the musicianship on the other hand is mostly well-crafted.A combination of rough-edged Guitar Rock with plenty of Folk breaks, mostly based on mandolins, harmonica, flutes and dulcimers, which works well most of the time and is often mixed with prog aesthetics like synth passages, piano interludes and organ waves.The choruses are quite catchy on the opposite, trying to soften a bit the listening.A special mention for the nice mini-epic ''The Brook, the Mirror and the Maiden'', a great blend of flute-driven Acoustic Rock, synth-based Electronic Prog along with ethereal multi-vocal arrangements.

Not totally conveincing, ''Masque of Shadows'' is quite a daring step for Yoke Shire.Highly original material, which works nicely for the most of the listening but I dare to say the style needs something like a refinement.Still warmly recommended.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#763992)
Posted Monday, June 04, 2012 | Review Permalink

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