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SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE

Experimental/Post Metal • United States


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Subterranean Masquerade biography
Originally formed by Tomer Pink in 1997 SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE's dysfunctional music revolution was first introduced to the world with the release of "Temporary Psychotic State" in April of 2004; a two track EP and the first chapter of the "X" trilogy, a conceptual story revolving around the life of an everyman protagonist. The EP released on The End Record quickly received high praises from media and fans alike, the blend of multi genes elements ranging from soft psychedelic Rock N Roll to progressive neo-metal into a feast of colors and sounds gained the band a genre defining status.

That same month the band recorded the track "Summoning Of The Muse" for "The Lotus Eaters," a Dead Can Dance tribute on Black Lotus Records. SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE's homage to the originators of the Dark Wave sound was done with a lot of ambition and creativity, as the band dissected the song and reconstructed the foundation with passages taken from several other Dead Can Dance tracks.

Devoted to his vision for the band, Pink entered Utah's Counterpoint Studios in July of 2004 in order to plant the seeds to the long awaited full-length album, "Suspended Animation Dreams", armed with a top notch cast of players including vocalist Paul Kuhr (Novembers Doom), guitarist/bassist Jake Depolitte, drummer Steve Lyman, keyboardist Ben Warren, violist Brownwean Beecher, singer Susan Naud and guitarist virtuoso Willis Clow as well as Choir, strings and Horns orchestra SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE crafted an 8 tracks journey that really does questioning the limits of music, linking together many genres and styles, from Urban Jazz to Folk, Classical to World Music and Progressive onto extreme Metal and creating a one of a kind mix.

Lyrically, "Suspended Animation Dreams" deals with the purest most personal inner dynamics, telling a love story painted with anger, angst and obsession, while dealing with everyday conflicts and showcasing a grim vision toward today's ethics.

"Suspended Animation Dreams" was mixed by Grammy award winner Neil Kernon, giving the album a superb crystal clear sound, beautiful & morbid artwork provided by Travis Smith and without doubt the perfect companion to the music itself.

With the release of "Suspended Animation Dreams" SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE are planning to take the show on the road and currently auditioning members for a touring band, Pink is also hard working writing the material for the closing chapter of the X trilogy t...
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Suspended Animation DreamsSuspended Animation Dreams
The End Records 2005
Audio CD$13.77
$1.25 (used)
Temporary Psychotic StateTemporary Psychotic State
EP
The End Records 2004
Audio CD$2.78
$0.01 (used)
HomeHome
Taklit Music
Vinyl$9.49
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SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE discography


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

4.19 | 66 ratings
Suspended Animation Dreams
2005
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Great Bazaar
2014

SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.71 | 16 ratings
Temporary Psychotic State
2004
3.65 | 8 ratings
Home
2013

SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Home by SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
3.65 | 8 ratings

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Home
Subterranean Masquerade Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars The Great Tease

This is the first I have heard of Subterranean Masquerade, but it certainly won't be the last.

From what I've heard, this band seems to be a bit of an enigma ? the Wintersun of the heavy prog world, so to say. The band's sole full-length album, Suspended Animation Dreams was released to great acclaim back in 2005, and the band has more or less been silent since. Gaining a cult following from that album, and their 2004 EP Temporary Psychotic State, Subterranean Masquerade went into long term hiding, until last year, when they bubbled up again, with the single Home, released on limited 7" vinyl.

Home was constantly appearing on my radar, from being at the top of my RYM automatic recommendations, to trusted critics talking about it and friends telling me I should hear it. But I generally ignore singles, and assumed, in my naiveté, that Home would be followed by a full- length record (this was before I knew of Subterranean Masquerade's reputation). And I was sort of right, since this is now the EP version of Home, released digitally, with the b-side "Beyond The Pale" (a cover of gothic rock band The Mission), and a lengthy bonus track, the nearly 10- minute "That Night". With this EP now reaching past 20 minutes, it was back on my radar as a worthwhile release, and damn? this is really something.

On this release, Subterranean Masquerade are playing a style of progressive rock/metal that sounds somewhere between Orphaned Land, Opeth and Porcupine Tree. We have the introspective atmospheres of Wilson & Co, particularly evident on "Beyond The Pale", we have the deep growls and big riffs of Blackwater Park-era Opeth, which find their way into parts of the title track, as well as a significant majority of the final bonus track, and then we have the Arabic flavour of Orphaned Land, made even more notable now that Orphaned Land's drummer Mathan Smuhely has joined the band for this current lineup (along with Novembers Doom bassist Mike Feldman). The songs here are decorated by little flourishes of Arabic strings, both bowed and picked, and even the guitar riffing has the sort of of oriental flourish that Orphaned Land's guitars do.

The instrumentals here, for the most part, are outstanding. The first two tracks here were mixed by metal maestro Dan Swanö, who has produced many of my favourite records, and the production here is certainly excellent as well. The title track is lead by a quick riff, done with a flurry of guitar and Arabic violins (apologies for not knowing the correct name for these instruments). Although this riff, along with several here, sound straight of a record like ORwarriOR, Subterranean Masquerade keep their distance from Orphaned Land, done by using some Porcupine Tree-esque ambience and vocal parts in the verse. "Beyond The Pale", being a gothic rock cover, is a far softer affair, although even then, some metal and some Arabic stuff floats in, showing that Subterranean Masquerade aren't simply covering it, they're making it their own track, sounding perfectly fine right next to "Home". I do not know of the original track, released on The Mission's 1988 album Children, but judging from the high single rating it has gathered here, it seems to be a highly considered track in its original form as well. My favourite part here is certainly the Arabic section in the bridge, when the instrumentals get into a great groove, the sort of jam that could go on for minutes and never get boring, which is why I get kinda annoyed that it's cut off a bit fast at the end.

But honestly my only real complaint about this release, and it certainly gets in the way of my enjoyment, are the vocals. Both the deep growls and the low, baritone cleans are a bit irritating and weak in my books, and the only time they really work is during the gothic rock of the verses of "Beyond The Pale", but even then I'm still not too keen. The growls are a bit messy and vague, reminding me a lot of Mikko Kotamäki, especially his work with Barren Earth, in that they are rather infuriating and don't really mesh well with the style of music. The only time they really work here is during the final track, "That Night", in which they are the dominant vocal style for its 9-minute runtime. "That Night" was a song originally written and recorded for Suspended Animation Dreams nearly 10 years ago, but the band never released it until now, and if this is a bonus track, then I really have to get my hands on that album. The song is an incredibly Opethian track, relying on riffs more than anything else, and Subterranean Masquerade really show their hand in playing these; some of them are absolutely brilliant. I love the mood that the track holds for the first few minutes, how despite the death vocals, it feels sort of uplifting in a weird sense, like a happier and more upbeat track, yet simultaneously, it's melodic death metal.

Honestly, if Subterranean Masquerade plans to release a full-length record anytime soon, the Home has certainly done its job of pulling the hype back their way. With Orphaned Land releasing a lacklustre album last year, and Myrath's new one being nowhere to be found, it seems the world is in need of a new face of progressive oriental metal, and oddly, one that comes from New York. Subterranean Masquerade, you have our attention. Don't lose it.

7.8

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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 Suspended Animation Dreams by SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.19 | 66 ratings

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Suspended Animation Dreams
Subterranean Masquerade Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Suspended Animation Dreams' - Subterranean Masquerade (8/10)

I had been hearing some great things about this album for a long while before I got around to listening to Subterranean Masquerade's 'Suspended Animation Dreams', and once again, my my musical network has not let me down. Although often called a progressive metal, or avant-garde metal band, there is alot about them that does not fit any of those labels. Suffice to say, 'Suspended Animation Dreams' is an eclectic effort, but it ultimately gives off a lasting impression that keeps me coming back. Although aspects of the band's sound feel somewhat half-baked in comparison to the sheer perfection they reach with others, Subterranean Masquerade's first- and to date, only- album deserves an invested experience from any adventurous listener.

You may have heard of the death metal elements that Subterranean bring to their music, but a listener who may be turned off by death growls should not be thwarted. Of the hour or so length, only a fraction is lent to metal, or heavy things in general. As a whole, Subterranean go for a prog rock sound that's hard to pinpoint in any prog trend. Their music can be acoustic and folky, or jazzy. As one may guess from a track title lie 'Rock n' Roll Preacher', there are also straight up 'rock' moments, where there's nothing particularly weird going on, and the music has an upbeat feel to it. Often, the mellower side of the band could draw comparisons from Pink Floyd. No mistakes made, however; 'Suspended Animation Dreams' is a challenging album, and there is not much out there that sounds like it. Although a listener will likely not confront something they perceive as being totally 'abstract', the fact that the wide range of sounds are all within the course of one album makes the album quite a handful to digest all at once.

The musicianship here is strong, though lopsided. Taking a look at the 'cast' for this album can go to indicate how many instruments are actually at work here. There are horns, saxophones, and harmonicas. Considering that this is a metal album, it takes some memorable songwriting to have it all fit together well, and Subterranean Masquerade do not disappoint on that front. Some of these instruments make a cameo for a moment only, and then leave, and it would have been nice to hear some of the most promising elements, such as the harmonica, a little further developed. There are Paul Kehr's vocals are arguably the most distinctive aspect of this band, a lower-register voice that carries alot of emotion and warmth to it. Where Subterranean Masquerade ironically loses some of their intensity is actually the metal portion of their sound. The metal guitar tone sounds a little weak, and it generally feels less well-executed and powerful than its mellow counterpart. Although they are labelled a 'prog metal' group, 'Suspended Animation Dream's greatest feature are the warm, often acoustically driven prog rock they make. Thankfully, that's where the band devotes most of their time, making Subterranean Masquerade's debut a winner.

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 Suspended Animation Dreams by SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.19 | 66 ratings

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Suspended Animation Dreams
Subterranean Masquerade Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Robinanimate

5 stars An instant classic

This album, and band for that matter, is really hard to categorize. It is definitely original, and that is about as good a compliment as I can give. The genre blending is like nothing I've witnessed before. Pop, Jazz, Blues and Extreme Metal are intertwined in the most casual way. Bands blending genres to this extent, however, tend to do it at the cost of good melodies. That is not the case With Suspended Animation Dreams. The melodies are really sticking to my brain once I got them under my skin. Aside from the regular rock band set up of drums, guitar bass, synth and vocal, there are also used trumpets, mouth harmonica, violin, choir and female chanting vocals. But the melodies are that which holds it all together. Even in the parts with growling vocals, every word is as clear as day. It is almost a pop felling lying underneath it all. But it is spiced up by the elements taken from other genres. A truly genuine mix is what this is.

It starts out with an intro, before Wolf Among Sheep kicks in. This is a very pop sounding melody that builds for over 5 minutes before a wonderful progressive metal riff kicks in and finishes of this great opening track. Following this the next songs spews out melodic pearls as No Place Like Home, with its jazzy feel, and Rock And Roll Preacher, which is more in the alley of alternative rock with some growling here and there. The most extreme song is Six Strings To Cover Fear, which is the only song with more metal elements in it than other elements. This song is filled with technical guitar riffs, double bass drums, accompanied by both death and black vocals. Following this power outlet is the song Awake. Another great melody, that starts up with piano and growling. Imagine Tom Waits screaming his heart out behind a piano with a couple of headbanging guitarists in the background, and you are not too far off. That is before the violin, choir and chanting female vocals kick in towards the end of the tune.

This album should appeal to extreme metal fans as well as progressive rock fans. The melodies alone should appeal to any fan of good music. Whether you buy, borrow, download or steal, do yourself a favor and get a hold of this album. It is an instant postmodern classic.

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 Temporary Psychotic State by SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
3.71 | 16 ratings

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Temporary Psychotic State
Subterranean Masquerade Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Temporary Psychotic State is the debut EP from US progressive metal act Subterranean Masquerade. The two song EP was released in 2004 and has a playing time that says 17:21 minutes. I must admit that when I saw the name Subterranean Masquerade the first time I was instantly turned off. I thought to myself that it was a really foolish name and I imagined a bad Dream Theater clone. This is fortunately as far from the truth as possible and I´m really glad that I decided to give Subterranean Masquerade a chance after all because this is truly a unique and very eclectic band.

The music defies catagorization as there are both elements from acoustic folk and rock´n´roll to death growls and extreme metal and everything in between. What can be said about the music is that it is slow building and very interesting. There are lots of different parts in both songs and they never get boring or repetitive. The vocals from Paul Kuhr are really great. He adds a lot of emotion to the music. There is some really great violin playing in Temporary Psychotic State (A Recollection Of Where It All Began) which is the first song on the EP. Female vocals also appear in the second song called Observation Through Metamorphosis. The music is generally not very metal orientated but when the metal parts do appear they are pretty heavy with growling vocals. It´s actually pretty confusing music but also really unique and exciting.

The musicianship is excellent and I especially enjoy the great vocals from Paul Kuhr and the intriguing acoustic guitar riffs.

The production is excellent in the parts with acoustic guitar but not as good in the heavy parts. Those parts are a bit thin sounding and lacks bottom IMO.

I can only say that this is one of those very rare times where I have actually found a truly progressive and unique band. I honestly can´t tell you who have inspired Subterranean Masquerade because their sound is so different from anything else. A really exciting choice if you want to hear music which explore new ground. A deserved 4 star rating IMO. I´ll be looking forward to listening to their full length debut from 2005 called Suspended Animation Dreams to see if the eclectic style holds water for the duration of a whole album.

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 Suspended Animation Dreams by SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.19 | 66 ratings

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Suspended Animation Dreams
Subterranean Masquerade Experimental/Post Metal

Review by progressive

3 stars Eclectic music (well, also even a bit of extreme metal)

1. Opeth-like guitar passage, then smoothly jazzy Pekka Pohjola, vocal harmonies and different kind of instruments - so what we can expect for this album could be gentle retro prog and atmospheric (metal?).

2. Mild metal comes to picture with mild death metal vocals, and for example with modest violin the mildness maybe makes the song very harmonic and the moods can change freely.

3. Catchy weird heavy rock at the start(for example the beginning with only rhythmic and melodic singing like the briskness of "digging myself"), then heavier and more airy dresses, but the same concept of flowing. Reminds me of those common progressive rock oriented band in the clubs that wants to entertain everyone. Well, instrumental parts can be quite soft here, but the overall is a piece of art that has fairly enough different moods and for example the great piano and oriental feeling (including violin) at the end of the song makes it special and my favourite.

4. Kind of A Blur is like symphonic pop, instrumental movies fanfare music. Nice melodies and celebrating choir at the end. Says nothing to me.

5. A ridiculous heavy rock imitation right from the beginning, at least the sounds are rather awful, and somewhere it sounds.. gothic "death" rock, well I take Babylon Whores as representing the genre. But again, there's much more (basic things I've described earlier here) in this song. Piano reminds me even of Supertramp (and the symphonic pop in the bigger art concept). Song includes also some happy pop choirs in and the title "The Rock N' Roll Preacher" describes well the thing I see here. Though the song is not rock and roll. There's also some more ambient part with weird sounds, and right after that at seven minutes there's the real avant-gardism that I like much and actually haven't heard much like this: a bit funky soft sax still with simple drum rhythm and death metal vocals (reminding me of rap) in a layerly atmospheric symphonic pop form. And right in the middle, there comes a peculiar guitar solo, melody with very odd pitches and sounds reminding me of surf rock. THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO HEAR.

6. The "symphonic pop" continues, but starts to sound folk metal, then it becomes to meander always without a warning: stronger epical melody, and the heaviness reaches its top when I hear the first double bass drumming. More traditional death metal stops or turns to violin and drum oriented and almost carnivalic. There's also more landscape painting, and all in between you can imagine of basic avant-garde metal band. This song is very good and when it's maybe the most diverse here this far, I think it's also the most harmonic.

7. First almost approaching to math metal, then slower atmospheric metal with female, choir (nice a bit odd harmonies!) and male vocals. At this point, at the latest, the band shows to be eclectic, and that's what makes it special. This is a long song and for example the choir comes again with nice and weird harmonic melodies and the thing is growing big, violin in the final. In the end, there's also quite fast space rock combined to melodic heavy metal, or that's the partition I get, thought the total is maybe more music like eg Amorphis (well, there's much more, and unfortunately these rhythms and melodies (here and before) are very usual even for the kinds of Opeth)

8. As a pop, this is great. Female singer a bit like Dido, very gentle and with soul, and this is very atmospheric piece, and this is progressive rock, mostly instrumental. Conclusion for the album. I like the last moments where I hear something like people counting by shouting.

I would like to give this album even four stars and I was just giving two when I realized it would be bad thing for "Six Strings to Cover Fear" and other great things here, or actually, the concept and, well, strangeness of for example pop things. Weird, haha.

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 Temporary Psychotic State by SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
3.71 | 16 ratings

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Temporary Psychotic State
Subterranean Masquerade Experimental/Post Metal

Review by progressive

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.

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 Suspended Animation Dreams by SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.19 | 66 ratings

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Suspended Animation Dreams
Subterranean Masquerade Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Drakk

5 stars Wow.

I discovered SubMasq some time ago, yet it wasn't until recently that I had aquired their album. To say the least, I was more than pleasantly suprised with this little musical abomination of sorts. Though I am already a huge fan of many bands that could concievably fall into the same category as this band (Mr. Bungle, Estradasphere, Kay Dot/maudlin of the Well), I find a distinct voice and style present in this CD, as well as the band as a whole, considering the plethora of Bungle-esque bands that seem to plague the whole scene, and the paradoxically unambitiious bands that plague this "unique" genre.

From the slightly eerie opening, to the brilliant outro song "X", this album really does it's job, wonderfully, of keeping the listener intrigued, and possibly slightly confused. Though there are a myriad of seemingly unrelated genres here, they seem to mesh together wonderfully. In reality, the only reason this band might be called "metal", or in this case "Prog Metal" is the interladen metal riffs, and the growled vocals. Though it obviously has it's influences from heavy metal, Opeth being a large influence, from what I can garner, it also has a vast pallette of musical influences that it draw's from. Song's like 'No Place Like Home' having a Middle Eastern World Music flare, to the strangely upbeat and interesting Rock and Roll Preacher, throwing in some nice Jazz implements near the end of the song. Even it's mainly metal oriented songs are laden with other influences, and strings are abundant throughout the whole album. (I must add, on somewhat of a side note, that the Harmonica solo at the beginnimg of NPLH is brilliant)

As an overall concept, the lyrics are difficult to decipher, and the story is odd and confusing, yet, it adds to the mystery and oddity of the whole concept. Though decipherable, the strange lyrics are one part of the whole mystery of the concept, as confusing as Tomer intended it to be. It took me several listens to fully grasp the lyrical content of the album. At first, I thought the lyrics (those that I could decipher, mind you) were somewhat juvenile or un refined, but after several listens, I found them to be quite intelligent.

All in all, an incredible find for me, and something I will look forward to in the future.

9.25/10 Stars

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 Suspended Animation Dreams by SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.19 | 66 ratings

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Suspended Animation Dreams
Subterranean Masquerade Experimental/Post Metal

Review by OpethGuitarist
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Avant-garde Metal at its finest.

Incredible output by this very Non-prog metal band. I say that not because they aren't progressive, but because this band/album is so much more than a generic prog metal band. If you're biggest complaint is that there's no thought/emotion in prog metal, this is an album you must own. It's not only extremely out there in many regards, but the songwriting is gripping and poetic. Just take a quick glance over the instruments used here. I'd like to think of this band as the doom version of Kayo Dot, in order to give some kind of comparison.

Wolf Among Sheep has an amazing impromptu chorus in the middle with lush chords and a quirky spring like sound that will have you dazzled. Despite the craziness that ensues, its incredibly well formed to keep a sense of structure rather than random ramblings that many avant style bands might fall into. What's most important is that there's enough here to keep you guessing, and to keep you coming back to the album searching for more.

I can't think of too many other projects pulled off like this with what seems like such ease. One can hope to expect many more outputs by this band of the same quality, as they have outstanding potential. A real gem in the field.

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 Suspended Animation Dreams by SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.19 | 66 ratings

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Suspended Animation Dreams
Subterranean Masquerade Experimental/Post Metal

Review by FruMp
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This was perhaps the first prog metal I ever came into contact with and boy was I lucky to discover this gem. This album features an amalgamation of several different genres - seemlessly, it's got jazz, death metal, prog and space rock and not only that it takes some of the best parts from each.

The albums starts out with the very chilled introductory song, a very fitting preface. The second song wolf among sheep (or maybe the other way around) is my favourite song on the album and also simply one of my favourite songs, it starts with a very beautiful acoustic section with a nice warm organ, a very good chord progression and some excellent harmonised vocal work. Then the song is cast into a burning pit of sludge and death metal whilst still retaining the musical complexity of the previous section (it has piano in this part and by god it somehow works), and then the release and we are greeted with some great violin work. Fantastically written music, very melodically rich, very dark and very rewarding.

No place like home is another fantastic song, a jolly song with some great harmonica and other stuff (invokes images of wind in the willows for me) and then we're cast into the pit with the death metal again but it is again melodically rich and tempered with violin and then we are sent into our warm cosy spacey world again.

Awake is the epic on the album and it too is a great song - melancholy, amazing female vocals throughout with some great vocal soloing going on around the 9 minute mark. it also degenerates into an ethnic freakout after some symphonic goodness and we end on a metallic note.

X is a great finale, beautiful, spacey, awesome black chick singing, climatic solo to finish it all off - outstanding.

A very very interesting, rewarding and different album recommended to most prog fans, I was a huge fan of this even when I didn't like metal at all that's how diverse this album is.

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 Suspended Animation Dreams by SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.19 | 66 ratings

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Suspended Animation Dreams
Subterranean Masquerade Experimental/Post Metal

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Before listening to this album the first time one should certainly expect the unexpected since the music we get offered here is absolutely impossible to categorize. Though usually being filed under progressive metal only 15 % of its contents in fact can be considered metal. Truly there are quite a few death metal type of growls, but those ones are very well woven into a fine drapery of lounge jazz, ethnic tunes, progressive rock, pop and who knows else type of music. Actually I'm not aware of ever having heard a similar record than this one (though I dare claiming to have a broad knowledge) and the only band sounding that much eclectic that comes to my mind is DISCUS from Indonesia. But the big difference to them is that Subterranean Masquerade succeeded even better since their record is much easier accessible than theirs. It's really big fun to listen how these musicians manage to merge all those different genres together to form a truly unique piece of modern art. Very often styles are changing a couple of time within the same track without making it sound blatantly or unbearable for the ears. Instead the songs here sound highly enjoyable, at times almost harmless and unspectacular.

"For the rest of this session, you might ask yourself 'Am I going crazy?"... this announcement after the opening intro speaks for the whole album. "Wolf Among Sheep (Or Maybe The Other Way Around?)" for example starts with acoustic guitar and whispering vocals before developing into a mournful solo on electric guitar, then a few growls for a short while which are soon thwarted however by warm string arrangements. The electric guitar returns uniting with the acoustic one later on, then there are enjoyable clean vocals combined with strings and the track finishes with a faster paced guitar solo. "No Place Like Home" is a blend of folk and ethnic tunes on flute, oriental type of vocals and jazzy piano sounds. "Kind Of A Blur" offers dreamy piano and string sections next to rather pop-ish sounding choir singing but despite its obvious simplicity this song is nonetheless a great one. In "The Rock'n Roll Preacher" we get to hear heavy guitars, a piano playing lounge jazz, acoustic prog reminiscent of the 70's and growls partly combined with sax tunes. "Six Strings To Cover Fear" is the only track here in a common prog metal vein and though being the easiest accessible one far away from being a dropout, quite heavy and sinister, but very strong. "Awake", longest track with 14 min consists of an awesome mix of orchestral sound, pleasant female vocals, heavy frowning growls and jazzy sections. Last track "X" is then a welcome recovery from this roller coaster trip and a perfect closure for this excellent album.

Hope my description doesn't sound too much alienating for most readers. Just trust me, the music doesn't sound by far that messy like it might seam. Everything fits together somehow in a great miraculous way and after a couple of spins one has the impression to listen to the most normal music in the world. Certainly this record won't please everybody; metal heads will find little here to be satisfactory and those having problems with growling will find only parts of it enjoyable. Nevertheless it's an excellent and unique one IMO and I'd highly recommend it to anyone having an open mind and a broad musical taste.

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