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EVIL MASQUERADE ‘Welcome To The Show’ Frontiers/Cargo (2004)

I don't know you can call this band a super group ? But with a strong and quite well know line-up featuring [ex] members of Royal Hunt, Wuthering Heights/Manticora, Sinphonia, amongst others, it's hard not to. Add to this guest appearances from Andre Andersen [Royal Hunt], Richard Anderssen [Majestic, Time Requiem, Space Odyssey] and Yngwie Keyboarder Mats Olausson, this quite an all star line up.

The label describes this music as symphonic metal, but its far closer to neo-classical metal than anything. Having said that there are quite a few passages to suggest that Evil Masquerade are even touching on being quite progressive in more than a few songs. By adding these prog bits, the album is far more enjoyable and certainly less predictable than the standard neo-classical fodder that is quite the normal these days.

The 11 songs on offer here offer quite a variety, even the more faster songs, have memorable hooks, rather than being mere shred feasts. Guitarist Henrik Flyman is the star here, not overplaying and keeping the shredding to a minimum. Most surprising is the vocals of original Royal Hunt singer, Henrik Brockmann, his voice has improved out of sight since I last heard his rather weak vocals on the first two Royal Hunt albums. 'Welcome To The Show', showcases quite a wide range that he possesses.

Overall an most enjoyable listen, the right balance of instrumental prowess and quality songs. Fans of Rising Force, Symphony X and older style Royal Hunt should look out for this.

Label website


Review by Graham Boyle

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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