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Subterranean Masquerade - Suspended Animation Dreams CD (album) cover


Subterranean Masquerade


Experimental/Post Metal

4.19 | 107 ratings

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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.

hdfisch | 4/5 |


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