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Vangelis Mask album cover
3.58 | 98 ratings | 10 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1985

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Movement 1 (10:18)
2. Movement 2 (3:26)
3. Movement 3 (6:38)
4. Movement 4 (8:41)
5. Movement 5 (10:00)
6. Movement 6 (4:22)

Total Time 43:25

Line-up / Musicians

- Evangelos Papathanassiou / performer, arranger & producer

- English Chamber Choir / chorus vocals
- Guy Protheroe / conductor, tenor vocals (4)

Note: The actual instrumentation was not available at this moment

Releases information

Artwork: Alwyn Clayden

LP Polydor ‎- POLH 19 (1985, UK)

CD Polydor ‎- 825 245-2 (1985, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy VANGELIS Mask Music

VANGELIS Mask ratings distribution

(98 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(24%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

VANGELIS Mask reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by soundsweird
3 stars A little different from what he had been doing up until this was released, and the critics were impressed. The classical-sounding vocals are brought to the forefront here, and there are some good pieces. Still, I wouldn't call this one of his best works. Certainly one of his last good albums, though. Soon after, he seemed to go in the direction of New Age superstars like Yanni and Kitaro, creating albums that were nothing more than endless strings of flourishes, empty calories for the ears.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Mask is a good album but again like Soil Festivities sounds slightly ' light' in terms of substance. I think this was Vangelis's most testing era ( 1983- 1988). The choir additions don't go unnoticed and add a classical air to the mask suites. This album is good but certainly not one of his best.
Review by richardh
4 stars I like this album a lot.Split into 6 movements the music is very dark in tone and cleverly uses sequencers combined with choir. Movement 1 is quite frantic and full on. The Choir earn their corn! Movement 2 is a short interlude building a very lovely reflective tone very reminescent of Heaven and Hell. Movement 3 has a very ominous feel like a dark ritual is taking place to summon the forces of evil .A thumping Timpani punctuates every so often.There is some respite as the lighter female side of the choir takes over.Very lovely although that ominous timpiani soon gets to work again. Movement 4 is my favorite peice without question. Much slower in pace and reminsescent of some parts of the Soil Festivites album. The lead male vocal is just a complete joy.Serious goosebumps time. The whole peice is so perfect and must stand as one of Vangelis achievements. Movement 5 returns to the frantic sequencing that started the album with something of a nod towards the Spiral album. There seems to be a bit more interplay between the synths and choir.After about 4 minutes the music changes direction and a slower pace insues.Percussion is used very nicely here as it is throughout the album before the frantic pace returns. Movement 6 is a shortish peice, light in tone, to end matters nicely.Again that Heaven Hell comparison comes to mind. Overall this would be a perfect soundtrack for a film about demonic possession and sacrificial ritual!
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This music is absolutely GRAND, DEEP, MAJESTIC and UNFORGETTABLE! It is my favorite Vangelis' album. Even one of the best New Age music ever made!

First of all, the music is symphonic floating keyboards and (opera+choir)-like vocals oriented: those ingredients are put together in an amazingly intense, ritual & melodramatic manner. The important thing to mention is that this music will bring you unbelievable emotions: passion, love, awe, dream, recollection and romance. I don't know why this is not a soundtrack record. Everything is extremely echoed and loud, amazingly sustained, giving a powerful, mythic and legendary atmosphere: it sounds like if you celebrate the arrival of a triumphant hero and his heroine of the Greek mythology. For those who already know Vangelis, let's say the ambience slightly approaches the one on Jerusalem (Chariots of fire). The miscellaneous vocals sound a bit like pop New Age artist ERA. Furthermore, those omnipresent vocals and choirs will remind you a religious ceremony in a vast cathedral. There are also some percussive and bass sequencers, which give a magic dimension to the ensemble.


Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars im disagree with the most of the reviews of this album, i give to it 5 stars , because to me is an excellent album, an example of the imagination and the talent of this great musician called vangelis, also , this is a parfect example of what is electonic prog, very atmospheric and electronic with the neccesaries humor changes, 6 movements of great music , makes an extraordinary album, one of the best that i`ve heard of vangelis.
Review by Matti
3 stars 'Mask' is on one hand an excellent work with a very fine sound and mature composition far from either the weirdest or the poppiest of Vangelis. But it is also, in my opinion, quite a boring album as a whole, since there are relatively few motifs that are repeated over and over. Years ago I taped it with a "slight" (30-40%?) editing but after realizing I never listened to it, I decided to leave just an extract of couple of minutes.

The music seems to be connected to Greek mythology, but one senses it only on the atmospheric level, nothing story-like to be noticed. No revealing titles or texts either. Slow percussions and the choir sound great - someone compared it to ERA, only it's better - and drag the listener into a hypnotic state. It only goes on and on without much happening in the music. And the more typical synth motif keeps returning even if it's not very impressive. Well, of course the album would need more dedicated listenings than I gave it in the first place. But judged from my taped edition... boring, boring. Not among his best works no matter how good it actually sounds.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars «Mask » shares the same structure than its predecessor « Soil Activities ». And to some extent, the music deployed is quite similar as well.

Except during the opening Movement, which combines some classical and bombastic effects with powerful vocal parts (church oriented). The combination is quite successful, but a bit longish. The problem is that the album is surfing on the same wave almost all the way through and sounds somewhat boring and uniform.

The main feeling is that this album is rather mystic and ceremonial oriented. But I was not really impressed with the end result which sounds quite poor to my ears. I was always expecting a new angle to appear; but this hope was not fulfilled. The fifth movement is slightly better and is sharing lots of characteristics with the first one from this album.

The whole of this album conveyed a dull feeling while I listened to it first, and my opinion hasn't changed for this review. Two stars for "Mask". It is quite an esoteric and experimental album.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Listening to this album after many years I still have the same impression: it's like an electronic version of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. Surely what the choir sings is not vulgar latin. It's likely neither a language. However we are speaking of a symphony. This won't be the only Vangelis album without track titles. Calling them "movements" is a way to define it as modern symphonic music.

If it wasn't for the rhythm given by the fast sequence of notes that is the base of the whole structure of movement one, I would see a contact with the Estonian genius Arvo Part. Movement 1 has also a quiet and peaceful interlude. As in Heaven and Hell, male choir is used for the chaotic and ossessive parts, while a soprano soloist sings on the lighter and heavenly moments as in the central section of this movement.

Movement 2 is nothing special. Two chords and violins for three repetitive minutes. There are some pitch changes in the two chords, but that's all.

Movement 3 gets darker. a good soundtrack for a horror or a SciFi movie. Symphonic and dark. The male choir enters after the percussions to stop after a crescendo. Another track with few or no variations. Until the choir restarts.

Movement 4 is opened by percussions and bass. Electronic of course. There's a lot of pseudo-latin singing on this track. Why not true latin I don't know. A very hypnotic and ambient track. Did you think that only Brian Eno was capable of this?

With Movement 5 the chaotic part restarts. As on Movement 1 a fast sequence of notes is the base from which the music developes. First with a percussive accent and changes of pitch in the base. Later the choir enters the arena. Again the parallel with Carmina Burana is not forced.

Movement 6 is peaceful and symphonic and a good closer. It reminds a bit to So Long Ago So Clear (almost the same chords).

Good and actually unusual excursion of Vangelis into the classical realm. Not bad.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This is the 2nd in the series of Vangelis albums released in the 80's. With the previous album "Soil Festivities", he concentrated on an improvisational style, but this time, he returns to a more structured feel. However, "Mask" is a much darker affair than what we are used to with increased use of percussion to help heighten the dramatic and majestic atmosphere that is the most prevalent on this album. Vangelis also brings back the same choir that he used on the "Heaven and Hell" album which is one of his most successful (and rightfully so) albums.

Movement 1 - A fast moving background serves as the foundation for a stately sounding melody, all done by synths. The choir comes in quickly, and this immediately brings to mind the "Heaven and Hell" album, one of Vangelis' masterpieces. Heavy and dramatic, this is very cinematic and expansive and it will grab your attention immediately. After several minutes, the music calms to a pensive and almost hymn-like section with a female soloist which later gets joined by the choir. The vocals are all wordless or in a made-up language. This part is quite lovely. The main theme returns later with the same flair as before.

Movement 2 - A waltz pattern is established and sustained chords play over the top of this. The choir is used later on mostly for atmosphere this time.

Movement 3 - A much darker feel is obvious here with this menacing sounding track. Rolling, loud percussion speaks of impending danger and the choir sings in a mysterious manner. The thumping drums and bass might bring a feeling of an approaching threat and this feeling continues through the movement.

Movement 4 - This is where the real tribal feel comes in. After a brighter tonal percussive pattern created by what sounds like marimba starts this off, a male soloist sings the melody using the imaginary language that is used on the album. Later, as the tribal sounding pattern continues, the soloist and choir trade off in a sort of "call and response" style. Everything is much lighter in tone on this track and nicely melodic. This track seems very unlike the typical Vangelis sound in a surprisingly good way. Minimal synth sounds do come in later, but are not heavily present.

Movement 5 - As in the first track, this movement begins with a sharp, quick arpeggio sequence that establishes the foundation for the entire movement. This one is less melodic except for the singing by the choir, which seems to be pushed further back into the mix here, making the non-melodic accompaniment seem more up front. This is a long 10 minute movement and to me, it gets a bit redundant. It seems to build, but never reaches any satisfactory pay off. The album definitely loses a lot of steam on this track which is too bad since up to this point, it is quite good.

Movement 6 - Sustained notes make this sort of airy and atmospheric. Overall, it's quite minimal, even with the occasional understated choir passages. Nothing really happens here though and it is sadly a let down to what starts out as a great album.

No doubt that this album is quite dynamic and dramatic, at least at first. The first four movements are quite good, but the last two don't really add anything to the entire experience. With the dark and tense feel of the first three movements and the release from tension in the fourth movement, you would hope that the last two movements would deliver much more that they do, but it ends up dragging the entire album down. Since this is how the album ends, the listener is left feeling unfulfilled, which, if we are to compare this to the masterpiece "Heaven and Hell", I always wish for a more satisfying conclusion to the album. It's the last thing you remember of the album, and that unfortunately, brings the overall attitude down quite a bit. What starts out as a possible 5-star affair ends up just becoming something mediocre.

So, it's a very strong beginning , but the last (almost) half of the album does not remain on the pinnacle that it started out on leaving this as a 3 star album.

Latest members reviews

5 stars One of two albums released this year. Mask is completely different from Soil Festivities even though it is also structured in a sequence of movements. In this case, six. The first movement starts off frantically, with a male chorus and dynamic flourishes over a fast electric piano arpegiati ... (read more)

Report this review (#292857) | Posted by Progosopher | Saturday, July 31, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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