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Mad Puppet


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Mad Puppet Masque  album cover
3.20 | 20 ratings | 7 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Wild Rushing Waters (6:22)
2. Look out (5:14)
3. The Masque of the red Death (9:24)
4. Icarus Part 1 (4:42)
5. Icarus Part 2 (8:42)
6. Wheel of Time (5:00)

Total Time: 39:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Mauro Rossi / drums
- Michael Seberich / bass
- Manfred Kaufmann / keyboards
- Manfred Schweigkofler / vocals
- Christoph Senoner / guitar
- Arthur Frei / guitar

Releases information

CD Music is Intelligence-WWMS-015-Ger (1992)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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Buy MAD PUPPET Masque Music

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MAD PUPPET Masque ratings distribution

(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (55%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MAD PUPPET Masque reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars According to my information this is an Italian band, the album is a re-release from their album made in 1982. The first impression on their opener "Wild rushing waters" is positive: a swinging rhythm with propulsive bass work and fiery electric guitar. The keyboards sound tasteful delivering pleasant organ waves, fluent synthesizer flights and strong electric piano play. The final part contains a biting electric guitar solo. The song "Look out" has echoes from the bluesrock in the vein of Peter Green, the Fender Rhodes electric piano work reminds me of "Riders on the storm" from The Doors (addition please!). Next two long compositions that showcases the talents from this band: "The masque of the red death" (derived from the E.A. Poe story) contains a folky climate, lots of flute and beautiful acoustic guitar. Then an accellaration featuring great work on guitar and keyboards. Halfway we can feel the E.A. Poe horror due to an ominous atmosphere (keyboards, vocals and scary sounds). The song "Icarus" has two parts: first many shifting moods with lots of flute and acoustic guitar along some fiery electric guitar. The second part has swinging keyboards, a propulsive bass and powerful electric guitar. The vocals are strong. The final composition is very swinging, almost an invitation to dance, this is too much for this non-rhythmic reviewer! Nonetheless, this is a fine progrock album.
Review by Prog-jester
3 stars The story of searches and finds…Two years ago or so I saw a review of Erik Neuteboom on this album, and realized, that I need that record. 1982, Neo-Prog, an obscure band – any Neo-Prog devotee should understand me I guess. Since those time I became less euphoric towards the genre, but suddenly found an opportunity to get this album (along with other rare Neo items). Hesitation lasted shortly – I got them practically by a song (very cheaply). Well, this is not quite Neo. This is what I’d call Heavy Prog. Songs like “Wild Rushing Waters” and “Icarus” are good examples of URIAH HEEP-inspired Prog Rock, while “Look Out” and “Wheels of Time” are rather funky (that’s what I didn’t like, to be honest). Folky “The Mask of Red Death” has stolen “Stairway to Heaven” chord progression and no singing, only declamation; nevertheless, it’s a best track here, along with 13-min long “Icarus” and opener track. Recommended, but bear in mind, that this is Heavy Prog, not Neo. Prog collectors, get this without hesitation – it’s very interesting.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 3.5 STARS...

Formed in Tyrol in 1980,MAD PUPPET were a progressive rock band inclunding musicians both from Austria and Italy,mainly students.The band was inspired lyrically from literature and mythology and they tried to create an epic atmosphere in their albums.The first of their works,called ''Masque'' was recorded in 1982 and it contained 6 original compositions,much influenced by CAMEL and in a lesser extent URIAH HEEP.Their musicianship is dominated by the Latimer-like guitar work (from the interesting solos to the mellow passages and the bluesy riffs) and the great alternating synths/organ parts in the vein of Peter Bardens.Vocals are sung in English and have a slight foreign accent.When the music takes a little bit off,then you'll get some fast rockin' rhythmic parts and solos in the vein of URIAH HEEP,but there are also some decent smooth flutes added for good measure.A very interesting release back in early 80's,which I personally enjoy very much.Strongly recommended!

Review by progrules
4 stars Mad Puppet must have been one of the very first neo progressive bands for with their first official release, this Masque album, they were around before Marillion and IQ albeit that Marillion was there in the same year with their MSH EP. That leaves probably just Twelfth Night as the one that was around sooner. Anyway, Mad Puppet is from Italy and that's a whole different area than Great Britain, the cradle of neo. So the least we can do is check out what this first album was like. I had to get used a bit at first but in the end it proved to be a very interesting debut.

1. Wild Rushing Waters is a nice sounding melodic song with dominant keyboards though a pretty fierce guitar tries to be very present as well. I like very much what Manfred Kaufmann is showing in this opening track. A few impressing guitar performances as well by the way. 3,75*.

2. Look out has actually a very interesting opening riff that reminds me of Spooky by Atlanta Rhythm Section that was a hit over here around the same time. Could be coincidence or just an influence. Rest of the song sounds quite different anyway. Again a nice one but less impressive than previous. 3,25*.

3. The Masque of the Red Death (title track ?) starts with nice flute and keys accompanied by laid back acoustic guitar. Lovely opening section of this almost epical track. After these first three minutes the usual sound emerges again with the organ-like keys and the typical recognizable vocals of Manfred Schweigkofler. The names of these Italians sound German and that is because they are from northern Italy where more people have those kind of names. A theatrecal middle part breaks the song in two parts, it reminds a bit of Fish's acts on Marillion's debut. Harpsichord sounds and flute make the song go on giving it a medieval touch. 3,75*.

4+5 Icarus Part I and II is in a way the other epic on this album clocking 13:30 in total. Mad Puppet are already showing on this debut that they are good composers. The longer songs have a structured build up, it all sounds pretty mature. Part I is a vocal part, Part II starts with fast keys and drumming later on guitar joins in completing a very compelling instrumental section. Vocals arrive in next section making the diversity complete. Guitar sounds like Eloy I suddenly realize. The song gets better and better. This must be the absolute highlight. 4*.

6. Wheels of Time has a bit of a Camel feel in the beginning, rest of the song is the Mad Puppet I've really grown used to. This is not the very best song of them all but still very respectable. 3,25*.

At first I was sure this was going to be a three star effort but after this individual reviewing of each song I have to admit 3 stars is selling them short. And mainly looking at the year of issue I think this whole performance deserves 4 stars after all, though rounded up (3,6).

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars The organ was a popular instrument in the rock of the late 1960s and early 1970s, particularly in progressive rock, but, after a fallow period, it owes most of its resurgence, such as it is, to the prog movement. MAD PUPPET was one of the rare groups that carried the torch for melodramatic songs backed by ample organs in the synth-pop heydays of the 1980s. I wonder if groups like MEN OF LAKE would even had existed were it not for Mad Puppet. In fact, the opener to this album sounds exactly like Men of Lake circa their debut album which appeared 9 years after this.

The group takes cues from THE DOORS, JETHRO TULL, and possibly some German acts of the 70s. In "Look Out", a rich plate of influences, none fully copied, contribute to the bluesy and rock and roll palate. Manfred Kaufmann's electric piano is also a highlight. "Masque of the Red Death" is a Gothic tour de force, utilizing the organ as a wind instrument (perhaps it's a "pipe" organ) and the harpsichord to set the atmosphere for one of Edgar Allan Poe's more macabre tales. The lyrics are sung, spoken and shouted. It's certainly not a flawless interpretation, but interesting enough to merit longest cut.

The highlight of the proceedings, however, is "Icarus Part 1", starting with a sprightly yet reflective combination of acoustic guitar and, again, what sounds like flute but is probably a versatile organ or synthesizer. The guitars strum as they lead into the vocal segment, where a masterful melody unfolds reminiscent of JETHRO TULL at their best (but I prefer Manfred Schweigkofler's voice to Ian Anderson). The middle break MUST contain flute even if not in the credits - I can hear the breathing! While "Icarus Part 2" is a bit too close to a jam of 1970s RPI instrumentally, and to "You Keep me Hanging on" in main song thrusts, the musical prowess of the group remains intact throughout. The "Wheel of Time" injects a folk rock bias again, and the baritone lead guitar parts remind me of the mid 1970s STEELEYE SPAN, but otherwise rehashes devices already exploited in prior cuts.

This is a fairly diverse yet cohesive album that displays the potential of Mad Puppet., even though they were working in an environment in which record company execs were pulling the strings.

Review by J-Man
3 stars Though most of the neo-prog movement during the early eighties' took place in England, Mad Puppet actually hails from Tyrol, Italy. Formed in 1980, these lads are certainly among the first groups to take part in the neo-progressive rock movement, although their credentials as a 'neo-prog' band can be a bit disputed. I tend to think of Masque as a 'proto-neo prog' album (I'll elaborate later), but I do certainly recognize that a case can be made for its classification as a pure neo-prog album. Either way, this 1982 debut is a solid collection of early eighties' progressive rock tunes that helped keep the spirit of the genre alive as its pioneers began to lose steam. Masque is a flawed release in many regards, but it's certainly worth hearing if you're a collector of early neo-prog recordings.

A strong influence from Genesis is definitely present in Mad Puppet's music, but many of the pop/rock influences and synthesizer-based aesthetics that characterized other neo-prog groups are nowhere in sight - although some ties can certainly be made to pioneers like Twelfth Night, Marillion, and IQ, Mad Puppet sounds quite different from many of their contemporaries. The choice of keyboard tones is particularly unique for the time period, as the array of warm electric piano tones and Hammond organs sound about as far away from the synthetic-dominated eighties' as possible. A late sixties' psychedelic feel is present throughout much of the album, and this matched with some medieval touches and pure symphonic prog makes Masque actually a rather unique album, especially in the dying prog climate of the early eighties'.

Masque's rather original musical approach, unfortunately, isn't enough to save it from a few other nagging flaws. The production is a particularly large shortcoming; while everything is audible, it doesn't sound nearly as crisp as the music demands. Mad Puppet's compositional techniques also aren't quite up to par at this point, and most of the album strikes me as 'average' rather than extraordinary. I wouldn't call Masque a particularly great or essential album, but it is worth hunting down if you're into early eighties' progressive rock.

Review by andrea
3 stars Mad Puppet is an Italian band that began life in Bolzano in 1980 with a line up featuring Mauro Rossi (drums), Michael Seberich (bass), Manfred Kaufmann (keyboards), Manfred Schweigkofler (vocals), Christoph Senoner (guitar) and Arthur Frei (guitar). In 1982 they released 'Masque', a self-produced album that sounds very different from the mainstream albums of that period. In the early eighties progressive rock was completely out of fashion but the young musicians involved in this project went against the tide and managed to shape a nice mix of seventies influences with a personal touch. Of course the album is not flawless nor particularly original but it's really worth listening to.

The opener 'Wild Rushing Waters' begins softly. It deals with a religious theme and draws from... Genesis! The following 'Look Out' recalls The Doors and evokes the shadow of Jim Morrison passing by, sailing across the grey night. 'The Masque Of The Red Death' is a long, complex track introduced by a charming medieval atmosphere and inspired by a short story by Edgar Allan Poe about a masquerade ball and a dangerous, uninvited guest. 'Icarus' is another long, complex track, a suite in two parts with lyrics inspired by the ancient myth of the Greek hero. Here the music flows away with gentle giants smiling in the background and wolves running wild all around. The bitter-sweet, nervous 'Wheels Of Time' concludes this good work with a pungent reflection about the changes that time provokes on our lives and our sense of freedom and security. The album was released on CD in 1992 on the independent label WMMS Music.

You can listen to the complete album and legally download it for free from the official website. Have a try!

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