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MASQUE

Neo-Prog • Sweden


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Masque biography
Based in Göthenburg, the band was launched in 1989 by guitarist Johan Engström and four other musicians. Alternately called DÉJÀ VU and then POCKETFUL, they released three demos ("Masque", "Distant Divineness" and "Behind Thoughts") before their first official album in 1992, "Flesh That Understands", under the name MASQUE. "Ten Ways" followed two years after.

"Flesh That Understands" will likely remind you of early SAGA but with plenty of interesting and original ideas; the musicianship is tight and the vocals are excellent. "Ten Ways", however, is a totally different affair and difficult to categorize: a mixture of art-pop and world music (African percussions, Mariachi trumpets) tinted with a Scandinavian melancholy. It features a different guitarist and vocalist as well as four new guest musicians. It's a fun album but it's as far from neo prog as an album can get.

Neo-prog fans will want to concentrate on "Flesh That Understands" whereas "Ten Ways" is more likely to appeal to fans of Peter Gabriel.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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MASQUE discography


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MASQUE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.02 | 11 ratings
Flesh That Understands
1992
2.49 | 10 ratings
Ten Ways
1994

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MASQUE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ten Ways by MASQUE album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.49 | 10 ratings

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Ten Ways
Masque Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Ten ways from 1994 is the follow up of this discret band from Sweden named Masque. The album issued at same Musea records in 1994 is quite diffrent then the predecesor, musicaly speaking. In places is darker, is more paced, the musicins and compositions are not up tempo at all, only mid paced tempo of all piece, with maybe one exception. The album has that scandinavian atmosphere, this kind of neo prog is hard to swallow, but in the end is not quite bad is only less intristing andangaiging then other albums from that period, and even less captivating then their previous one. From the strange cover art to the whole parts from the album, Ten ways can easy diseppoint at some moment, to much slow moments, if are not totaly bad, some of the tracks are so dull and pale, for instance Gentle moves is a perfect example. On the other hand the moments that needs attention is the opening track This love and the final one I´m Watching you with some trumpet parts that are really intristing , puted together in a neo prog coat , sounds pretty well. So, I must tell that this album was a let down, is like the musicins were with the gear down in this time of their career, or maybe is what they wanted from the start to sound this album and to us seams that this is weaker then the predecesor. Anyway 3 stars with indulgence, because the album is lacking is pieces with balls and vein, is to much slow moemnts that at some point doesn't go anywhere.

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 Flesh That Understands by MASQUE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.02 | 11 ratings

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Flesh That Understands
Masque Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 for sure

Masque is an unknown neo prog band from Sweden with a short career that last until 1996 when they disbanded. They released two album, Flash that understands is their first one from 1992, issued at Musea records. Well, I was pleasent surprised about this album, melodic neo prog , that rely more on vocals department, but aswell the guitars and keybords are well constructed. At some point they remind me of Saga or even It Bites, that succesfuly combination between art pop and neo prog. Intristing arrangements on instrumental piece Malaria man, some great vocals on opening track and the follower Feeding her, Stefan Kelin has a pleasent voice that fits perfectly in this kind of music. Maybe to some listners, and because of the low ratings this album recived along the years, I must tell that this is not easy listning as many pretend to be, maybe at first spind seams this way, but after 4-5 listning is something elese, belive me I have almost same feeling. In the end is a quite decent and fair album, where the melodic hooks are well melted with more complex ones, just to be check the last trak of the album and the longest Of lesser dogs, a complex neo prog piece where all the musicians done a good job for sure. This album is somewhere between 3 and 3.5 , but because their next album is less intristing and in places weaker then this one, I remain convinced that this album desearve without hesitation 3.5, I have to make some diffrence between this two album in a way. A good album that fans of neo prog can put an ear on.

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 Flesh That Understands by MASQUE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.02 | 11 ratings

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Flesh That Understands
Masque Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Swedish neo progsters Masque were found in 1989 in Gotheburg by Johan Engström, Stefan Kalin, Fredrik Terje, Jerker Rellmark and Magnus Berggren.Already from their early time Masque gigged extensively and participated in various rock competitions,while through a two- years time they recorded three demos: ''Maques'', "Distant Divineness" and "Behind Thoughts".These were enough to be signed by Musea and in October 91' they enter the Gothenburg Sound Studios to record their debut ''Flesh that understands'',finally released in early 92'.

Masque had a very rich,diverse and varied sound with plenty of keys,good distorted guitar parts and decent vocals to say the least.Moreover their compositions were not easy- listening,containing a fair amount of breaks,different atmospheres and changing moods.Electric passages often exchange with acoustic parts with majestic virtuosity and symphonic keys pop up for a more grandiose approach.The final package was a fine mix of Neo Prog and Symphonic Rock and they sound a lot like a cross between JADIS,COLLAGE and ENCHANT.On the other hand some ideas do not seem fully developed or some combining parts do not suit well to each other.Additionally, while all tracks stand at a good level, the puzzle misses this piece,which will blow the listener's mind in comparison to other great Neo Prog acts of the time.

Neo Prog buffs will find much to like in Masque's debut,but the album comes recommended even for fans of more complicated styles,despite its melodic orientation.A decent debut by a band with energy and talent.

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 Flesh That Understands by MASQUE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.02 | 11 ratings

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Flesh That Understands
Masque Neo-Prog

Review by dmwilkie

3 stars This is a fairly typical prog album, although of mixed quality. There is plenty of guitar and keyboards (synths rather than mellotron).There are catchy tunes and melodic guitar interludes. The guitarists solos are uninspired, though. Stefan Kalin has an unusual but melodic voice, and I am impressed by the bass guitarist throughout the cd. Highlights are;- 'Time To Burn', an excellent prog song which has a lovely keyboard intro, catchy tune, nice tempo change in the middle and clever touches throughout. 'Wash The Sun' is a good up-tempo track despite the sound of someone vomiting in the middle of it! 'Of lesser dogs is a fine 15-minute epic with a variety of moods. I'm glad I have this cd for these tracks, but there are other enjoyable moments. Worth a listen for anyone who likes symphonic prog.

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 Ten Ways by MASQUE album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.49 | 10 ratings

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Ten Ways
Masque Neo-Prog

Review by geff

4 stars The one - poor - rating on the site so far, demands a second opinion. Eversince I heard the bands 'Flesh that understands' I've been waiting for the next. And it's proved itself an album worth waiting for. Both albums are interesting for every open-minded (prog)music-lover and show a band that doesn't stand still but genuinly progresses. And finally; don't you dare skip the brilliant rythmic track 'Ten Ways'!

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 Ten Ways by MASQUE album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.49 | 10 ratings

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Ten Ways
Masque Neo-Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

1 stars I always have a passion to explore bands that I have never heard before. When I got the CD of this band I expected it would be a great album. But, I regret to own this CD. Sorry, I'm too honest probably. But this is my subjective opinion, you may have other opinion.

"This love" kicks off with a jazzy percussion / drums accompanied by guitar rhythm and tiny keyboard sound. The female background voice accentuate the bars but sounds boring (to my personal taste) because of its repetition ("e ya ya ya" "E ya ya ya") in melody. It fails to accentuate the song. The electric guitar solo during interlude is actually good but due to the inclusion of background voice it ruins overall texture of the song.

"Where is god?" opening part is a simple music with tiny guitar fills. The song flows flat throughout the track even though there are tempo changes as well. The interlude part contains electric guitar fills - nice touch. "Gentle moves" is a mellow track with some guitar fills / rhythm and background keyboard sound. Looking at the beats, this is purely a pop song. Again the guitar is actually good but the song is a bit loose in structure and melody. It does not seem to flow naturally.

"Become" reminds me to Camel music. It starts off with a howling guitar sound. Unfortunately it lacks melody and bit loose in composition. "You" has some melodic opening with piano fills and vocal line. This probably the most melodic song in the album performed in neo prog mood. The music seems to flow naturally with acoustic guitar rhythm and piano touch. The interlude part with electric guitar solo reminds me to the style of Marillion's "Sugar Mice" guitar interlude.

"Ten ways" opens with spacey, ambient keyboard sound. It's a mellow track with some jazzy mood. "The scent" moves the music to a faster tempo. This track reminds me to IQ "Nomzamo" album. One think that I hate (sorry) about this track is the "reggae" nuance. Even though I like the bass line. It reminds me to The Police "Spirits in The Material World" (observe the guitar rhythm in sort of reggae mood!). Uuughhh . skip this track!

"Wrap it up" starts with a solo drum and flat backing voice line (female) followed by male vocal. Guitar fills are good. But .. the female backing vocal has worsen the composition - it sounds boring to me. "I´m Watching you" is the concluding track with spacey / psychedelic mood. The music flows too flat (to my personal taste).

Overall, this album does not taste well for me personally. And I guess. if you are a neo prog aficionado, it would be a regret to buy this album. The album is lacking in songwriting (melody is really weak), composition, musicianship and overall performance. But, you are the final judge - it's up to you whether or not to own this CD. I cannot rate this album. GW, Indonesia.

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