• John 3:16 – Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (2011)


    Hailing from Switzerland, today we have the experimental one-man music making machine John 3:16. Fusing ambient sounds with some electronic/drone sections and a dosage of Post-Rock, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is one of those EP’s that will captivate you from start to finish with its hypnotic sound and perfectly crafted songs.

    The intro track “Earthly Father” wills enshroud you with mystery due to the drone elements an hints of ethereal atmospheric influences, but this track does not really give away anything that is to come. In “In the Name of the Lord”, the music continues to be dark with its droning elements and it suddenly moves into the Post-Rock area with some excellent guitar work. The drums get a bit annoying in the background, but I guess they are used to contrast for the first 2 minutes of so. Then this piece turns completely ethereal with some nice atmospheric elements and very dreamy guitars. This song reminded us a bit to God Is An Astronaut and similar bands due to the dark atmosphere around it.

  • Beto Vázquez Infinity – Existence (2011)


    ”Existence” marks the ’bands’ 4th full-length album, and it is clearly their most impressive and ambitious release to date. With a vast array of guest musicians, this release is one of THE Melodic Metal/Rock albums of the year, even though it was released in 2010 elsewhere, we recently received a copy of the North American edition thru End of Light records.

    With this double album, Beto Vázquez has managed to put together a very eclectic mix of musicians and each of the 20 songs combines powerful melodies with outstanding vocals. While the guest musician list is huge, is not as impressive as the ones from bands/projects as Star One, Ayreon and Avantasia. Most of the guests in this album, with the exception of Timo Tolkki, might be considered from the ‘B list’ of Metal, but they are equally talented and are just a bit less known that the ones on the ‘A list’ of Metal. We particularly like this approach since it allows the listener to discover lesser known bands due to the performances of their vocalists.

  • Nami – Fragile Alignments (2011)


    Hailing from Andorra of all places, today we have a very interesting release with Nami’s “Fragile Alignments” album. Mixing everything from Cynic, Opeth to Meshuggah, this band delivers a lot of band for your buck. For almost 60 minutes the band delivers waves of powerful riffs perfectly arranged in a manner that only big name bands have been able to deliver after years of trying.

    Opening with the progressive instrumental “Awakening from Lethargy”, the band nicely generates some momentum before leveling your ears with the complex “The Inner Man: Materia”. In this track, the Meshuggah worship is evident, and Nami does a great job in graciously pulling off complicated segments. The guitar riffing is outstanding and the drumming is very precise, letting the vocals vent off with some heavy growls while the music is pummeling through.

  • Various Artists – Swine of Hades (2011)


    Featuring a very diverse line-up, today we have a five-way split called “Swine of Hades”. Featuring tracks of Taake, Sigh, The Meads of Asphodel, Thus Defiles (with Sakis of Rotting Christ) and a track featuring Evo from Warfare and Algy Ward of Tank, this release is as diverse as they come, but all bands come together very well when played loudly over your speakers.

    With a very powerful dose of Metal with Punk elements and a pouncing Bass guitar line, Evo and Algy deliver a cover of Status Quo’s “Tune to the Music”. The cover is actually pretty good and the nasty and raw sound created is very suitable for this crushing release. Next up we have Taake’s cover of GG Alllin’s “Die when you Die”, in a very Punk-ish Black’n’roll fashion. Hoest’s vocals are as crazy as ever and the sound of the track is as raw as you can get.

  • Wild Wet – Cocktail in Bloodshed (2011)


    Making its way from Italy to our PO BOX, today we have Wild Wet and their debut release “Cocktail in Bloodshed”. As a perfect example of ‘when vocalists’ go wrong, we are very sorry that Wild Wet’s very melodic and entertaining music is tarnished by the terrible pronunciation and pitchy-ness of the vocalists ‘abilities’. While the vocal harmonies are ok, the actual person pulling the trigger is just plain bad.

    After getting over the bad impressions of the singing, “Cocktail in Bloodshed” is not a bad album musically speaking. After the intro “After I Came”, this Italian sleaze/Glam Rock outfit does a great job in crafting appealing music for the opener “Before you die”. The guitar and bass guitar are petty solid and create a very fun and engaging atmosphere. The drumming is spot on and the overall feeling of the music is very entertaining indeed, but we have to listen to somebody howling in the background and this just kills the mood.

  • Earth Burnt Black – Harrowing Catharsis (2011)


    With a very interesting and rich sound, today we have Earth Burnt Black’s debut full-length “Harrowing Catharsis”. The band pretty much throws everything in the frying pan and delivers a very well tasty dish of well crafted and different sounding music with a nice and clear production on top of it. These types of albums are the ones we wait for at Infernal Masquerade since the combine so many different things and still manage to sound very well and powerful.

    The “Intro” track immediately gives you the feeling that this will be a Doom Metal release, but this quickly changes in the next song. “The March” features hard rocking guitars and clean vocals to start, clearly breaking away from what is expected from the intro. However, not long enough the Doom and Grooviness come back and the band delivers interesting brutal sections with both growls and screams mixed in between some more clean vocals. While this might sound completely chaotic, it actually works very well with the melodic aspect of the song.

  • Lapis Lazuli – A Justified Loss (2011)


    Cranking out their second full-length release in 2011, today we have Lapis Lazuli and “A Justified Loss”. In this release the band delivers over 43 minutes of high-octane Symphonic/Gothic Metal graced by the beautiful vocals of Frida Eurenius. If you are a fan of Visions of Atlantis, Epica, Sirenia, and Xandria, you will love this release.

    After the traditional instrumental opener “Facing Demons”, the band comes at us with the bombastic “Leaving Scars”. In this song the keyboards are cranked up to 11 and provide a lush background to Frida’s vocals. While the band’s approach to the genre is very typical and traditional, the songs presented in “A Justified Loss” are very entertaining and demand a high-replay count in order to fully digest them.

  • Case in Theory – Cinematic (2011)


    With a very well defined Progressive Rock sound, Case in Theory really makes an impact with the 11compositions presented in this very professionally crafted release. “Cinematic” marks the full-length debut of this band and its atmospheric/melodic approach to music, very similar to 3’s “The Ghost you gave to me”. Funded through kickstarter.com, this release packs a lot of punch and hopefully lands the band a label deal.

    Opening with the emotional “Mavericks”, the band showcases very ethereal and well crafted atmospheric elements. The guitar work is very engaging and the backing vocals nicely build up momentum, culminating in the hypnotic song “The Night”. In the second song of the release, the vocals of Jonathan Posadas add an extra dimension to the melodic aspect of this album. Paired with the atmospheric rock guitars and some progressive elements, this song is the perfect indicator of things to come.

  • Dope Flood – A Planet on Four Legs (2011)


    Hailing from Greece, today we have the Hard Rockers of Dope Flood delivering their 3 song EP titled “A Planet on Four Legs”. With a very mainstream sound, this Greek newcomer has a very catchy sound and excellent tunes, but sounds exactly like any other Hard Rock album we get here at Infernal Masquerade. While we are not saying this is bad, the band faces a hard up-hill battle to get noticed an hopefully signed in the future.

    Immediately opening “Uncertain” with some powerful riffing the band’s sound becomes evidently mainstream, with the very familiar sounding vocal style. The production on the drums and guitars also sounds like most music we hear on the ‘alternative rock’ radio stations. The song itself is very well crafted and catchy, and if consider the band is from Greece, then they sound exactly like an American band taking a crack at this genre. But if you don’t consider that, they just sound like any other band playing in a club on Tuesday night.

  • Deschain - Sea of Trees Forest of Gallows (2011)


    Usually when we get promos with two songs clocking over 30 minutes they are pretty bad. However, Deschain totally proved us wrong with their self-released Melodic Black Metal assault titled “Sea of Trees Forest of Gallows”. With minimal ‘cascadian hipster Black Metal’ influences in their sound, we are completely puzzled as how they have managed to fly under the radar with such a rich and diverse European BM sound.

    Hailing from Indiana, this very young band (formed in 2008), has already two self-produced releases under their belts and with this one they are looking to storming the scene by surprise. It is rare that a band can pull off 15+ minute songs that never get dull or repetitive, but Deschain seems to not have any problems doing this. In a time when most ‘average’ Black Metal bands shy away from songs over 6 minutes, it is very cool to hear that some folks can belt out these mammoth pieces and totally rock while doing so.


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