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Subterranean Masquerade - Temporary Psychotic State CD (album) cover


Subterranean Masquerade

Experimental/Post Metal

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 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.

Report this review (#76771)
Posted Monday, May 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Conclusion for the start: this is very nice music and I think you like it!

If this is the aggressive mood of Subterranean Masquerade, I thought I would skip their album Suspended Animation Dreams, because this is quite mellow. Maybe the other album has focused better on that side and it has got better ratings, too. But I got the other album. It's more divided (and more diverse) into mellow concept album symphonic pop and some kind of heavy metal, whereas this EP is more flowing, dark and psychedelic.

My disappointment doesn't mean that this EP is bad. It's quite atmospheric, air metal as I call it, with some violin and maybe even avant-gardistic elements (well, avant-garde isn't just odd instruments), maybe more like little bit odd landscapes and mild fusion of many styles (it isn't so apparent). The music is also slow and "beautiful", though flowing (having also faster rhythms beating up the folky swing - actually the main melodies are slower and the style showing them is quite much post-rock). Violin suits fine here, it's not tricking and it has very nice warm country sound and with some things makes this EP almost folk metal. There's also similarities with for example maudlin of the Well (that I think is more inventive..). 1. Temporary Psychotic State (A recollection of where it all began): Circus/Carnival/Amusement park theme is usual in avant-garde metal but in this, it's more just in the intro. The first thing I think about the music when it actually starts is Opeth. There's psychedelic melancholic feeling and the vocals are sounding quite good and warm. The song is growing to the end, for example getting more heavy and the vocals turn to death growl on doom metal. There's also some mellotron (sounding) choir ans electronic space elements. And I have to mention Finnish band Soundsleep's song Amity Between Life And Death, as it came into my mind listening this.

2. Observation Through Metamorphosis: I prefer this song, because it has more diversity. It goes few more times on quite waters, and coming back more "aggressive" in shorter notice, so it's basically much like the first song - maybe just more scary. It has also woman singing on the background, almost going Iranian psychedelic weeping.

After all, this is "common" atmospheric progressive metal, and I think many loves this. I was intending to give three stars, and some might give more, but because this EP isn't giving me much and because I know there's much music that I like more than this and that I must give three stars, I give only two, as an objective reviewer. There's tiny things that matters; if there was more songs and if they were more progressive, I'd gladly give for example four stars. Yeah, stars stars stars, blah blah.

Report this review (#181980)
Posted Sunday, September 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Temporary Psychotic State" is an EP release by international progressive metal act Subterranean Masquerade. The EP was released through The End Records in March 2004. Itīs the bandīs first official label release. Subterranean Masquerade was formed in 1997 by guitarist Tomer Pink. For this release he enlisted lead vocalist Paul Kuhr (Novembers Doom, These Are They), guitarist Jake DePolitte, bassist Jason William Walton (Agalloch, Celestiial, Sculptured), and drummer Tino LoSicco (Epoch of Unlight).

Stylistically the music is a rather unconventional type of progressive metal which defies a meaningful catagorization as it features elements from everything from acoustic folk, to rockīnīroll, to death growls and extreme metal elements, to psychadelic/progressive rock. It certainly is a very eclectic and unique sounding progressive metal style that doesnīt really sound like anything else on the scene.

The EP features 2 tracks and a full playing time of 17:21 minutes. Itīs a fairly good introduction to the bandīs unique music style. Both tracks are relatively slow building and goes through several changes without ever turning technically complex. The song structures are rather adventurous though. In addition to the "regular" instrumentation of guitars, bass, and drums, the music also features mellotron, keyboards/electronics, violin, female clean vocals, and male growling/clean vocals. It could have been a mess, but it all comes together in a very interesting sound. Itīs all performed by very skilled musicians, who deliver their parts to perfection.

The only minor issue is the sound production. Itīs generally a well produced album, but the heavy distorted parts sound a bit thin and lacks bottom. Other than that "Temporary Psychotic State" is a very intriguing and above all promising first release by Subterranean Masquerade. Itīs not often I find myself picking my jaw up from the floor in amazement and simoultaniously ripping hair from my head in frustration because I canīt really explain what it is Iīve just heard, but I know for certain that itīs a unique and very exciting take on progressive metal and that a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#189050)
Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Review Permalink

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