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Mad Puppet - Masque  CD (album) cover


Mad Puppet



3.19 | 20 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Though most of the neo-prog movement during the early eighties' took place in England, Mad Puppet actually hails from Tyrol, Italy. Formed in 1980, these lads are certainly among the first groups to take part in the neo-progressive rock movement, although their credentials as a 'neo-prog' band can be a bit disputed. I tend to think of Masque as a 'proto-neo prog' album (I'll elaborate later), but I do certainly recognize that a case can be made for its classification as a pure neo-prog album. Either way, this 1982 debut is a solid collection of early eighties' progressive rock tunes that helped keep the spirit of the genre alive as its pioneers began to lose steam. Masque is a flawed release in many regards, but it's certainly worth hearing if you're a collector of early neo-prog recordings.

A strong influence from Genesis is definitely present in Mad Puppet's music, but many of the pop/rock influences and synthesizer-based aesthetics that characterized other neo-prog groups are nowhere in sight - although some ties can certainly be made to pioneers like Twelfth Night, Marillion, and IQ, Mad Puppet sounds quite different from many of their contemporaries. The choice of keyboard tones is particularly unique for the time period, as the array of warm electric piano tones and Hammond organs sound about as far away from the synthetic-dominated eighties' as possible. A late sixties' psychedelic feel is present throughout much of the album, and this matched with some medieval touches and pure symphonic prog makes Masque actually a rather unique album, especially in the dying prog climate of the early eighties'.

Masque's rather original musical approach, unfortunately, isn't enough to save it from a few other nagging flaws. The production is a particularly large shortcoming; while everything is audible, it doesn't sound nearly as crisp as the music demands. Mad Puppet's compositional techniques also aren't quite up to par at this point, and most of the album strikes me as 'average' rather than extraordinary. I wouldn't call Masque a particularly great or essential album, but it is worth hunting down if you're into early eighties' progressive rock.

J-Man | 3/5 |


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