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Kansas - Masque CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.66 | 544 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars An incredible and terrible album at the same time

Kansas is one of the few progressive rock bands from the 70's coming from the United States that I listen. Despite not knowing, neither being interested in knowing, their entire discography, I find myself listening to some classic era album of this fantastic band from the US countryside in a somewhat regular basis (once every two months or so) and today was one of those days I have put one of their albums (Masque in this case) to play on my Ipod and I was really impressed how this album is, literally, a roller coaster ride.

That is because, like a roller coaster, Masque have numerous ups and downs, numerous boring, forgettable and discardable parts of songs and songs, wile it still have many exciting, thrilling and impressive parts of songs and songs. This can be explained easily: after the release of the fantastic Song for America, which somehow failed to impress the public and, therefore, had bad sales, something I find rather unexpected for an album like that and released during the 70's (despite the fact that Kansas was a very obscure and unknown band), the band's recording company pressured them to come with more accessible songs, which would be (or should be) the hit singles of Kansas all across the world. As happens in most cases like this in progressive rock, the album not only did not became a hit album, but it sold even less than the album before it, because it failed to please the band's following and was unable to bring enough new fans to the fan base.

Regarding the songs, musicianship and related features

The album don't start very well with the forgettable song It Takes A Woman's Love (To Make A Man), which can be clearly identified as one of the Kansas's recording studio's intended hit singles, which obviously failed in being that for lacking any kind of catchy melody. The next song, Two Cents Worth, is a great improvement, though not being a really remarkable song. One characteristic those two songs share is that none of them sound like Kansas at all. The next two songs, Icarus - Borne on the Wings of Steel and All Over the World, change the album mood drastically for two reasons: 1 - they actually sound like a song Kansas would make; and 2 - they are great songs. Icarus - Borne on the Wings of Steel is a powerful, energetic and epic-feeling song with tight instrumentation and composition wile All Over the World is a very beautiful ballad. Child of Innocence, It's You are average songs with some very interesting parts, wile Mysteries and Mayhem is a very good bluesy rock song with some forgettable parts. The last song of the album, entitled The Pinnacle, is definitely it's best (hence its name) and one of my all-time favorite Kansas songs: a multilayered and complex progressive rock epic with that distinct Kansas instrumentation.

The main problem with Masque, as you possibly could see in the paragraph above, is its unbalancedness. The album alternate amazing songs with not so amazing ones, resulting in a rather sloppy album flow. The highlights obviously go to Icarus - Borne on the Wings of Steel, All Over the World and The Pinnacle. Honorable mention to Mysteries and Mayhem.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Despite having some great songs, Masque have an uneven track list and some bad songs that drag the album's quality down. If the band could deliver an album filled with songs like The Pinnacle, Icarus - Borne on the Wings of Steel and All Over the World (pretty much what they in Song for America), the album would have been much better. Since that is not the case, Masque's grade is 4 stars.

CCVP | 4/5 |


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