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Subterranean Masquerade - Vagabond CD (album) cover

VAGABOND

Subterranean Masquerade

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.95 | 11 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sagichim
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars That one came out as a surprise for me, I wasn't expecting another album by the band so soon, after waiting for about 10 years between the highly regarded debut Suspended Animation Dream and The Great Bazaar, this is a treat especially considering that this has now become my favorite album by them. So this is the third album by multinational band Subterranean Masquerade, now seems to be comprised mostly by Israeli musicians, the line up from the previous album is pretty much intact, only with a slight change Paul Kuhr is not participating this time. The album continues where the previous Great Bazaar album stopped. More over the middle eastern influences picked up in the Great Bazaar are even more evident and now brought to perfection, also the orchestral almost symphonic influences are still present, helped by the heavy growling and the metalic nature of the bands sound, giving the music a very rich and colorful blend. Strangely enough although the music is metalic and some impressive growling vocals are involved (sparsely actually) the outcome is not that heavy because, first of all the always present rich instrumentation softens the music, but also the melodic nature of the songs, and the somewhat cheerful vocals of Kjetil Nordhus (Green Carnation) definitely do the trick. The arrangements overall and particularly to string instruments, and brass are stellar, a real craftmanship. I love how every part with its own different instrumentation flows so naturally to the other, making this a very fluid and accessible album.

Place for Fairy-tales is a fantastic opener, going through several parts, from the middle eastern falvored intro it then continues with a saxophone and piano, great sound! it gets heavier half way while the saxophone is wailing and continues to a middle eastern party, the Orphaned Land connotation is inevitable here. Nomad although doesn't abandon the middle eastern influences, is perhaps the heaviest song on the album introducing us to Eliran Weitzman growling, man this guy is good! his vocals suits the music perfectly adding that missing edge to the metalic riffing. Kippur is another killer track here, beginning like something off of Yossi Sassi's head (Orphaned Land) an exploding klezmer metalic riff drive the song until it slows down to the sound of vocals and no less than an accordion! top that with some violins as the growling comes back, this is good. Half way through distortions gives way to a danceable 80's like synth, I did not see this coming, beautiful work. Daled Bavos is again a very rich and textured instrumental, besides the excellent melting pot of heavy metal and middle eastern influences, there's some beautiful emotional playing here, check out those clarinets and violins! The final Hymn Of The Vagabond again blending all the band's styles together in a perfect way, there's a strong Indian feel here with tablas and female vocals, all go together so well as the songs ends in a big celebration. I can't help but feel that the David Bowie Space Oddity cover closing the album is out of place, there isn't much to it only it is played slower with an almost doomish flavor, good but nothing special.

Subterranean Masquerade continues to push the boundaries of their music to the point where the debut now is entirely different beast. This is their most coherent album imo, and marks a peak in their creativity, songwriting and sound. Don't miss on this album! Easy 4 stars.

Sagichim | 4/5 |

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