Evil Masquerade – Pentagram (Dark Minstrel Music)
Having always been a massive fan of Firewind I was nothing short of gutted
on hearing the news that lead singer and energy of the band Apollo Papathanasio
had left by “mutual consent”. So, I decided to follow one of my favourite
personalities in the business and checked out his other offerings to the metal
industry. In doing so I came across Evil Masquerade; a Danish outfit set up by
Henrik Flyman (Formally of Lacrimosa) and their 5th and new album Pentagram.
Pentagram opens up delightfully with the title track offering a pounding
galloping riff that the likes of Iron Maiden and Deep Purple would be proud of.
Shortly the rough yet tuneful voice of Apollo's that I have come to love kicks
in with a heavy rock sound. The track rolls on with some simple but beautiful
solos from Flyman and speed changes that hook you into the darkness that
album delivers. Without a seconds’ break the album slides flawlessly into A
Silhouette, this grungy track drops the album to a darker
level with Apollo and Henrik combining to make the track flow wonderfully
with the slow sharp drumming from Dennis Buhl perking up your ears and keeping
you enveloped in the journey.
The next few tracks; Perfect Disgrace and Spirits Of The Dead
pick up the pace of the album, again with the earlier sprinklings of Iron
Maiden and Deep Purple present and now the lyrical undertones of which the late
great Ronnie James Dio. The Spirits Of The Dead is a highlight of this
album as it demonstrates the brilliance of Apollo's voice. The sheer
anguish he is able to deliver really pulls you into the track, particularly
when accompanied by a thrilling solo courtesy of Flyman that further
compounds the emotions the band are trying to convey. As a band they are trying
to take you on a musical journey, as they have done on previous albums they are
very much an album band rather than one making a collection of songs. The dark
emotion filled track Moonlight Fantasy hits you right in the guts
and slows the pace of the album.
At this point in the album we reach somewhat of a lull in the journey
as tracks such as Unholy Water, Pray For Mercy On Our
Souls and Soul Taker chug on through dragging slightly. Despite
the talents of both bass’s player Thor Jeppesen and keyboardist Artur Meinild
adding a little more melody to the tracks they fail to grip you as previous
chapters of Masquerades journey did which does become slightly
annoying. Although this is by no means the end as the band once again
pick up the dark pounding grunge influences and power into On A Bed Of
Thorns. Which starts out slow but bursts into a track full of raw emotion,
anguish and defiance this track is another particular highlight.
The journey comes to a slow but eventually thumping end on When The
Fire Dies and instrumental track Golden Ratio are
released. Meinilds’ keyboards take centre stage at this juncture as
Apollo’s vocals bring the sense of ending to the journey. The general feeling
of When the Fire Dies is that of a retrospect of the album, as it mixes all the
power, grunge and melodic elements of the album into one lump, eventually
summing up the tone of the journey and album with the climactic instrumental Golden
Ratio, leaving Flyman to have the final say on his guitar with a
thundering statement of closure.
This being my first true listen to any Evil Masquerade material I have
to say I am very impressed. The entire band has talent… this is obvious. Their
ability to be able to draw the listener into the journey is brilliant. Many
albums have done this to me but the combination of Apollo’s expressive vocals
and Hendriks’ poignant guitars are able to make you feel a little more than
most albums. The down side is that there are one too many songs in the album
that seem a little irrelevant compared to the majority of the songs on offer
and really stagnate the journey that Evil Masquerade attempt to take you on.
This for me is a great place to start when considering Evil Masquerade, quality
dark powerful emotive music clearly influenced by some of the greats. 8/10