Dylan Raine - Rating: 10 out of 10
How do you define what you hear when everything is beyond reality and acceptance itself? I’d suppose Evil Masquerade has found a way of explaining such things with their music. As you delve into the realms of the music and the particulars in which you are hearing it, you not only listen, but you almost become a part of it itself. This is not far from the truth with any hypnotising music, and Evil Masquerade have surely pulled this one out of the bag with their beautifully creative masterpiece of shear musical madness.
Entering the album you are shown what has made this band simply excellent, with brilliant executions of riffs and melodies, combined with the keyboards carrying along the rhythms and the vocals are something beyond all reckoning. ‘Pentagram‘ really lines you up for what is beyond an exceptional album.
Song to song you are taken on a journey of musical excellence, with the most extraordinary effect driven madness and pure heavy passages before obscurities take place like that of ‘On a Bed of Thorns‘ which is just astonishing. Before long you are thrown into the musical genius that is ‘Strangers Might Fool Ya” and the renaissance characteristic overlays of the beautiful synths. Being a fan of well used synths is a quality many bands fail to master, but this has certainly achieved it.
The album itself is worth not only a listen, but much more than that. This has to be experienced.
BLACK WIND METAL
Arno Callens’ - Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Evil Masquerade has been a persistent presence in the power metal underground since the band’s excellent debut Welcome To The Show. Keeping their taste for the theatrical, they have evolved from a neoclassic mad carnival to a devilish rock ‘n’ roll ride. Their fifth album, Pentagram, marks the next milestone in this development, presenting an ever darker twist on solo-Dio hard rock and heavy metal.
It speaks for the dynamic duo of guitar wizard Henrik Flyman and vocal god Apollo Papathanasio that simplifying their sound brings out their strengths and both are in fine form here. With the new Firewind record Few Against Many hot off the press as well, these are good times for the Greek, even though his homeland is going through some hell. The man even gets to let out a high-pitched scream or two, something I cannot remember him doing that much in his extensive career.
Pentagram tells you all you need to know with its opening track, a rollicking trip through dampest dungeons and eeriest rituals flowing effortlessly into the rancorous and melancholy “A Silhouette”, an early album highlight. Keeping things delightfully macabre are “Perfect Disgrace” and “The Spirits Of The Dead”, until “Moonlight Fantasy” adds a catchier and warmer note to the coldness.
Tempo-wise, most of the tracks plod steadily on and “Unholy Water” is perhaps the best example of this tendency. Its refrain strings you along with ease and washes into the whispered title. Indeed, the album possesses an uncanny sense of streaming effortlessly from one song to another. “Pray For Mercy On Our Souls” is another rapturous rampage, while “Soul Taker” snarls with scarily subdued intensity. With “On A Bed Of Thorns”, the band harkens back to “Desire And Pain” from predecessor Fade To Black, slow, ominous and almost resembling doom. “Strangers Might Fool Ya’” is an intriguing interlude before the last vicious verse “When The Fire Dies” sets in and the credits roll with instrumental outro “The Golden Ratio”.
Evil Masquerade play in a league very much of their own and will probably keep prowling the subterranean cellars forever. All the more the loss of those dwelling aboveground, not willing to venture into the vaults of evil and dance among the demons. I’m having a blast there either way.
ROCKNYTT (Sweden) 9,5 out of 10
review only available in Swedish
CROMCarl - Rating: 4 out of 5
If there ever was a way to take the late great Ronnie James Dio, Jorn Lande, and old Deep Purple and wrap it inside a cocoon of mid-paced power metal/rock shrouded in pure evil, then Henrik Flyman, Apollo Papathanasio (Firewind/Spiritual Beggars) and the guys from Evil Masquerade have found it. The fifth effort “Pentagram” is pure “bad assery” that is like a tempting apple from the tree of life, only here you’re hypnotized by Papathanasio’s stunning vocals and Flyman’s riffs, and mesmerized by the stunning keyboard work of Tyr Meinild (Ex-Seven Thorns). The band completely sheds the speedy riffs from the previous four albums, which could easily drive away the power metal faithful, in favor of chunky hardened rock riffs with many, but well placed, pauses.
What makes “Pentagram” so refreshing from the band’s previous albums is the twists and turns through a litany of classic rock styles firing volleys from “Perfect Strangers” era Purple, “Lock Up the Wolves” era Dio, and pretty much anything from Jorn. The album even adds a touch of doom with “On a Bed of Thorns.” Meinild’s keyboard work is pure genius, which binds the music and gives it a “fruits of the devil” feel that liberates the listener from the boundaries of goodness to breathe in the pure coolness of evil.
With that said, the album is akin to skiing down a mountain. The excitement is palpable as you ride the lift to the top, feeling the temperature drop. There is that pure adrenaline rush when you jump from the lift onto the fresh pristine snow as “Pentagram” and "A Silhouette" send you reeling down the steep grade. The terrain starts to levels out at about “The Spirits of the Dead” as the down tempo gets stuck in that heavier powder single-handedly by the way highly tuned bass of Thor Jeppesen, which overtakes Flyman’s riffs, but the scenery still looks pretty cool going by. You pick up some speed on the small bunny slopes of “Moonlight Fantasy” and “Soul Taker.” Once you reach “Strangers Might Fool Ya’, the combination of friction and lack of angle brings you to a crawl. Just as you get to “When the Fire Dies” you need to employ the vertical worm motion to reach the finish line.
All in all, as much as I gleefully let the hard rock darkness of “Pentagram” wash over my soul, it would have been nice to have a few more speedy numbers sprinkled around to break up the overwhelming amount of mid to slow paced tracks. The band may not have discovered a new formula of music, but for Evil Masquerade, the album truly lives up to its moniker.
Highs: "Pentagram," "A Silhouette," "Moonlight Fantasy," "Unholy Water," and "Soul Taker"
Lows: The overwhelming mid to slow pace.
Bottom line: "Pentagram" trades power metal for bad ass hard rock as the band becomes an Evil Masquerade.
METALIZED MAGAZINE (Denmark) 9 out of 10
review only available in Danish
BEHIND THE VEIL - Rating: 8,5 out of 10
When a person creates something new usually he/she is very excited and it is natural to exaggerate.
From the day that I started this webzine I have listened to so many musicians telling me that their new release is their best, that from a point on I stopped paying much attention to such comments. There are, though, a few exceptions to this rule and sometimes the musician is proven right when he says that his new work is his best and that’s the case with the new album of EVIL MASQUERADE. This band from Denmark, which I have the opportunity to follow from their first steps in the scene, has a unique in my opinion sound that combines heavy, power metal with some hard rock elements. Also I don’t know how they do it, but all their releases have a theatrical atmosphere. On “Pentagram” this atmosphere exists and it is darker; an element that makes their sound more aggressive and yet even more melodic. I think that “Pentagram” will be much appreciated by fans of DIO and BLACK SABBATH with Tony Martin on the vocals. Actually the singer of the band, Apollo Papathanasio, does such a great job and he really sounds like a twisted mix between Tony Martin and Ronnie James Dio. I have to underline, though, that a great job is done by all the musicians on this album which has great riffs, memorable melodies and exceptional leads. I think that people who love traditional heavy metal won’t be disappointed by this release. Check them out…
LIVE REVIEWER MAGAZINE - Rating 4 out of 5
Written by Rik Bauters.
The title track kicks of the album in a traditional metal style. The power voice from Apollo immediately comes in the picture. His voice has elements from the mighty Dio and even a touch of Shmoulik Avigal (singer on “Diamond Dreamer” from Picture). The organsounds injects the song with a dose of Rainbow and the guitars from Henrik are a real treat for the ears! The first single “A Silhouette” is even darker, but has a slower pace. You can hear real pounding drums on this one. Apollo sings with a mean undertone and the chorus sounds more commercial. “Perfect Disgrace” has that typical Rainbow feel and Apollo plays with some voice effects. During the splendid guitar solo you definitely can here the influence from Mr. Blackmore. More traditional metal comes our way in “The Spirits Of The Dead”. The keys in the background give it a nice ring to the track. Apollo demonstrates here the true power in his voice. The guitars that open “Moonlight Fantasy” are extremely catchy and the track goes further as a groovy song. In “Unholy Water” the bass is king of the game. The song sounds less dark and is a bit more commercial, but it’s still as addictive as the others! Apollo is the main player in “Pray For Mercy On Our Souls”. “Soultaker” is a slower track, where the spirit from Dio-era Rainbow is clearly present. Apollo could be a relative from the passed away Ronnie James! “On A Bed Of Thorns” slowly transforms from a pounding metal track to an early Black Sabbath monster. Just listen to the blistering end! The short and calm “Strangers Might Fool Ya’” takes us back to the Middle Ages. With the typical ‘ancient’ instruments, it is a total cool down moment in the album. But as you might expected all hell breaks loose during “When The Fire Dies”. This track has an unbelievable drive and during the instrumental break Henrik tortures his sixstring in a wonderful way. What a way to close an album!!
This album from Henrik Flyman’s Evil Masquerade introduces a change in style! He’s choosing the path of less is more. “Pentagram” shows less orchestration and a more ‘simpler’ sound. But I must say that I like it very much! Besides that the album is a real grower. The more you listen to it, the better it gets! Henrik’s guitar playing is outstanding and of course the voice from Apollo is out of this world. Grab of a copy of “Pentagram” and you won’t be disappointed!