Masquerader - Masquerader (2011) - Old school thrash metal attitude from Taiwan - 75% (28/05/14)
On their debut record, Taiwanese thrash metal outfit Masquerader plays a rather technical and pitiless style that reminds of bands like Slayer, Venom or even Voivod in the best moments. The somewhat brutal style including discordant guitar sounds is rather hard to digest and only enjoyable for fans of the aforementioned bands or similar acts.
What really makes this first strike rather unique is the unchained death metal vocal performance that gives the release an apocalyptic touch. On the other side, the music and the vocals don’t always harmonize very well and sometimes feel like an odd mismatch. The technical aspects in the vein of Vektor or Martyr to cite two contemporary examples are surely interesting but the vocals would rather fit to bands like Cannibal Corpse or maybe Carcass with a slight Metalcore touch. In my ears, this sounds a little bit odd but some people may enjoy this unusual mixture.
The in-your-face-lyrics that criticize capitalism and the idolization of Japanese culture fit though perfectly to the music. It’s something new for many of us to see this kind of lyrics coming from Taiwan but this band clearly shows a big middle finger to its society. This anger and engagement in the lyrics make the music sound more authentic as you might think at first contact. While the bands sometimes tends to make its thrash metal sound more extreme in a death metal vein, they also explore the other extreme by heading to more punk related territories.
A few small surprises come along at the end of several tracks that happen to be rather calm. “Captilism, Cannibalism” features a short piano closure while “Samurai Slave Driver” has a few melancholic and laid back guitar riffs to close the record on an almost introspective note. These short passages lighten an otherwise quite straight album up a little bit.
There is no doubt: this band has a lot of inspiration and talent. They are open-minded enough to try out different genres from British hardcore punk over Bay Area thrash metal to early American death metal. The mix of these styles doesn't always sound coherent though. That’s why the three songs are intriguing but request multiple listening experiences if you’re not too mixed up after a first contact. The more I listen to these three songs, the more I actually like their weird and unpredictable style. In the end, it’s up to you to decide if you invest your time into this kind of particular music but in my opinion this extreme metal band definitely has plenty of potential.
Originally written for The Metal Observer« ดอนผีบิน / Donpheebin - สองฟากฝั่ง / Collision (1997) - Collision of extreme metal and ethereal folk sound - 87% (28/05/14)ดอนผีบิน / Donpheebin - โลกมืด / Dark World (1993) - A milestone debut record for the Asian metal scene - 95% (28/05/14) »
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