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Massen - ContrAesthetic Award winner

by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 22 April 2021, 2:15 PM

The Eastern countries of Europe suffered a lot due the dictatorial regimes from 1945 to the beginning of the 90’s. It’s not a matter of left-wing or right-wing, because dictators are dictators, and cause suffering to everyone, no matter the side they took. So to see good bands arising from Eastern Europe is always a pleasure, and they have something different, something that’s not expected sometimes. And it’s the case of the Belarus sextet MASSEN with their latest release, “ContrAesthetics”.

They’re labeled as a Pagan Black Metal band, but it’s not a fair description. Their work is full of passion, inheriting elements from Symphonic Black Metal, Death Metal and even from Progressive Rock in some parts. It bears some tender and introspective melodic parts contrasting harsh and aggressive moments. But on their music’s core is something different, something that only Eastern European Metal bands present and it’s hard to describe with mere words. So the best to do is to hear, enjoy and let yourself be immersed by their music.

The band recorded “ContrAesthetics” in their own country, and the mixing and mastering were done on Estonia. The final result: a sonority that keeps the old feeling from early Pagan Black Metal releases (due the instrumental tunes chosen, of course), but in a way that everything is defined and anyone can understand. It’s not the best sound quality for their music (it deserves something better), but for now, it’s a very good result.

To hear such set of songs is really a great pleasure, and it makes the listeners to repeat the listening time and times again. And for those that aren’t into their music yet, “Cold Clouds” with its deeper melodic contrasts (brutal parts give place for deeper melodic moments, where the female and male vocals are really in a great way), the brutal Thrash/Death Metal influences on the tempos of “A Step to Silence” (excellent work on bass guitar and drums, but pay attention to the rough melodies), the lovely and wonderful ambience of “By Water to the Sun” (a Folk/Pagan song with excellent vocals and violins), and the two parts of “ContrAesthetics” suite (the first is longer and full of contrasts between aggressive and deeper parts with great keyboards parts; the second is shorter, with an aggressive and energetic insight, but filled with charming melodies) can make your heart open to their musical offering.

While they’re veterans in Metal, MASSEN shows on “ContrAesthetics” that they have a lot to offer to the public. So take this offering, and enjoy.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Depth
2. Cold Clouds
3. A Step to Silence
4. By Water to the Sun
5. The Flock of Whores
6. Contraesthetics Pt. 1
7. Contraesthetics Pt. 2
Karalina Nasko - Violin, Female Vocals
A.E.O.N. - Guitars, Keyboards, Folk instruments, Harsh Vocals, Clean Vocals
Hresvelgr - Harsh Vocals
Aliaksandr Kardymon - Guitars
Accela - Bass
Bizo - Drums
Record Label: Apostasy Records


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