Another Mask

Faces

Written by: BL on 23/06/2009 13:10:43

From the Russian capital Moscow comes Another Mask, a band with relatively no previous exposure to the world as far as I was aware. Their recently released album "Faces" is 12 tracks of fairly straightforward emo post-hardcore and there aren't really any surprises if you're familiar with the territory: clean guitar harmonies fading into distorted guitars, lots of singing mixed with screaming about when life isn't great and the odd breakdown or two.

The music isn't that overly heavy, with less than half the tracks really having sustained periods of heavy guitar work and guttural screams. There are a lot of clean guitar arrangements in the vein of Fightstar and Silverstein (the intro to the blessthefall-esque "Chatoyment" is simple and very catchy to my ear). Another highlight perhaps is the intro to "If Only We Could" where it starts with some soothing piano before synths help transition to the heavier meat of the song. Guitarist Oleg and Maxim seems to have worked hard on keeping the guitars layered all the time with little parts panned left and right and on top. The drumming from Dmitry keeps the rhythm together for the most part, albeit in a very timid and rather unspectacular performance - rarely allowed to show any flair. The Bass similarly treads the same paths as the drumming and the rhythm guitars, nothing to write home about until the very last track where there is a brief interesting little bass run.

Quite a few of the songs are quite catchy which is a plus. But what isn't though is how many there are and how similar they are as well. 12 songs of over 50 minutes using practically the same layered appearance, the same ambient soft parts, and the same kind of climatic build up left me finding it difficult to stay focused on the music the whole way through. I would have picked maybe half of the songs and packed them into an EP as a lot of the other ones are too filler to be memorable. Another downside are perhaps some of the most lame melodramatic and sad-emo-teenager style lyrics I've heard in a long time: "So stop me, Stop me from watching my dreams, Because they are never going to come alive" or "Like falling stars, We'll stay forever young, So make a wish, And I will fall for you" being a few of the bad ones. I had to really not pay too much attention to the words before I started to cringe due to the cheesiness, though perhaps with English as a second language to these guys I am willing to save them too much of a lyrical bashing this time round. The vocal delivery for these lyrics from Pavel is rather bland at best, his cleans a little whiny and rough in tone like Steve from German emo alt rockers Blind (incidentally they share the same sort of musical imagery despite Blind playing a lot more mainstream rock) but at least staying in tune, and his screams are too monotone staying in the low guttural area (it would have been nice to hear him expand his harsh range).

All in all there are some songs here worth checking out, though it becomes rather laborious trying to sift through it all. Plus the lyrics alone might be enough for you steer clear, maybe having enough appeal only to the more depressed of listeners out there or just the young emo kids in the crowd. It's a little bit of a shame though, since with better handling of the ingredients and perhaps more ambition this could have been something really special, as it stands there is more to be had elsewhere.

Download: Chatoyment, If Only We Could, The Nightmare Box
For the fans of: Blessthefall, Silverstein, Blind
Listen: Myspace

Release date Spring 2009
Chaotic Noiz

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