When Green Carnation, the progressive Norwegian sextet that gave birth to avant-Black pioneers In The Woods, split for the second time in 2007, no-one gave it a cat in hell’s chance of reformation. Yet the green (ahem) shots of recovery spawned with 2018’s live album Last Day of Darkness (Prophecy Productions), and here we are with the band’s sixth album Leaves of Yesteryear (Season of Mist), in what is the 30th anniversary of its formation. Continue reading
The emphasis on metal music emanating from outside of the Western world has become an increased focus in recent years, and is rightfully celebrated as highlighting our music world’s inclusiveness to all forms of society and regions. Israel as one such example has shown in the last few years a plethora of prog-minded metal acts, from homegrown titans Orphaned Land to lesser known but equally special acts like Distorted Harmony.
Having actually been existent since 1997, Subterranean Masquerade are hardly a new band to add to the list, but their not so prolific back catalogue means they will be an unearthed gem for many; a notion which will hopefully change with their latest album.
The Great Bazaar (Taklit) is the band’s first full length release in 10 years (their second in total) and sees a new singer in Kjetil Nordhus, and a new feeling of energy, being described by guitarist Tomer Pink as finally feeling like a band and not a project; and it is noticeable.
Their sense of diversity on record is still present but it all feels all the more cohesive than before, like they have really found their feet. At its core this takes influence from the 70’s greats of Prog, intertwined with Eastern instrumental elements and modern death metal; with a major Opeth vibe present in style and how it flows, vocally and sonically through cleaner melodies to visceral heaviness without warning. Look a little deeper and there are even more traits slightly hidden away, for example opening track “Early Morning Mantra” has an underlying Ska current, but without sounding daunting or out of place; whilst instrumental piece “Nigen” sees the flute taking the spotlight.
It is very easy to pick out their influences throughout, and at times it does sit very closely to other band’s formulas so is far from being completely revolutionary; but Subterranean Masquerade certainly execute it all very well, and with tremendous fluidity which makes it all seem wholesome. It may have been a long time coming but The Great Bazaar is a strong effort which further highlights the progressive mindset is present further afield.