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Emissary – The Wretched Masquerade

Emissary
The Wretched Masquerade
by Oli Gonzalez at 27 June 2022, 5:47 AM

What happens when you form a high school metal band, record demos, move to another US state and reform the band with like minded musicians? Well I’m not 100% sure, but this is the journey Jym took with the band EMISSARY. This was way back in the late 80s, early 90s, and after some down time, “The Wretched Masquerade” represents an album 25 years in the making, a reunion album of sorts. This promises to be classic, power metal inspired sound, filled with soaring lead vocals, aesthetic melodies, and choppy rhythms. Let’s get into it.

The Silent Treatment” is a fair opener to the album. No glitz, no glamour. They definitely have the melodic component down, with the choppy galloping bass lines holding down the fort. I can see this has been recorded to a high standard too. Still, I think they’re holding back and they’ve played it safe with this opening and there’s more to offer. Another short and sweet number, “Chemical Hatred” is also a respectable heavy metal effort. I get the feeling that this song was built with the lead guitar riff first, and the rest of the song was fused around it, as this was easily the most prominent feature, and very aesthetic at that.

“Hypochondriac” takes a slightly different route, with some slower more eerie sounding clean arpeggios taking prominence. Jym varies his vocal approach too, with some softer spoken vocals on occasion, as well as the other members joining in on backing. This a very similar case for “In Solitude”, so I’m getting a full spectrum of the sub-genre here. Still, at this stage I’m wondering if the bands sound is a little…generic? What’s separating them from the other heavy/power metal bands out there? “Ruler Of Defiance” seems to take a much faster and heavier direction, with some impressive guitar work. There seems to be some prog elements with unusual time signatures and non conventional structures. I’d have loved to have seen this from the start! This is the strongest song of the album for me so far! Whilst this may be the heaviest, I think “Oot Of reach” is the catchiest, especially with the call and response vocals in the chorus being the hook of the album, and the ear worm!

“Crash and Burn” has a much slower ambient feel, almost like it’s a ballad. There’s some absolute gorgeous guitar work on display too. I like! Honestly, check out that solo at around 2:30! “Pine Box” closes the album in another progressive direction. I despair, because this is something they do so well! Why couldn’t we hear this more from the start! That would have given the album something unique. Otherwise, my honest appraisal of this album is that it’s been produced to a very high and respectable standard, and there’s some talented individual musicianship. However, it may sound too generic to seasoned musos who are craving something new and original, but still being a fair gateway band for newer younger fans.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Silent Treatment
2. Chemical Hatred
3. Hypochondriac
4. In Solitude
5. Ruler Of Defiance
6. Oot Of reach
7. Crash and Burn
8. Pine Box
Lineup:
Jym Harris – Vocals
Tim Dahlen – Guitars
Pete Kinney – Bass
Eric Hoover – Drums
Charlie Francipane – Guitars
Record Label: Underground Power Records
     


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