SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE - The Great Bazaar
February 28, 2015, 4 years ago
Oh, man... so many things working against this international gaggle o' proggers (featuring members of Orphaned Land, Tristania, Novembers Doom, and Green Carnation): not one but two words that I can never spell in their band name, cover art that is kinda cool but kinda not, a very jarring mixture of sounds once inside the album. And it's hard to get into that death metal growling meshed up with the clean singing at first (when neither is particularly amazing), but think of this whole experiment in a sort of Pan.Thy.Monium way, and those feel-good horns (!) in the kinda incredible opener "Early Morning Mantra" (another thing working against them: the word "mantra" making an appearance) actually kinda rule.
Elsewhere, man, where to start? I keep thinking the band is going to bust into ska-pop-punk, and they damned near do on "Reliving The Feeling", which is cool in this context, especially considering the song later slides into full-on epic prog bombast. A song like "Blanket Of Longing" does the melodic prog thing with emotion and sincerity (and a keyboard solo that reminds me of the amazing Taxi theme song!) and regional non-metal sounds are scattered throughout the disc, quite prominently and effectively in "Nigen". Lots of different sonics here, and it borders on too-quirky-for-its-own-good and man, I should hate this, but it's just so much fun to listen to, the answer to my life-long question of "What would a band who loves Dream Theater and Convulse and Less Than Jake sound like?" finally answered. What am I supposed to do with my day now?