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Masters Of Disguise – Alpha/Omega

Masters Of Disguise
by Jon Conant at 10 December 2017, 8:52 PM

Power Metal is making a comeback! Well, maybe. MATERS OF DISGUISE are certainly giving it their best 2017 effort though. “Alpha / Omega”, their 3rd full length, comes out swinging, and despite its flaws it is actually a pretty entertaining bit of Power/Speed Metal. The band previously released “Back With A Vengeance” in 2013 and “The Savage And The Grace” in 2015, so they’ve had a busy handful of years between 2013 and now. It’s exciting to see that from a young band. I tend to find that the more rapidly a young band is putting out albums, the more talented and competent at songwriting they seem to be.

MATERS OF DISQUISE definitely have a pretty firm grip on the sound that they want to achieve – which is Speed/Power Metal influenced by the classic topics of medieval times, magic, dragons…you know, all that good stuff. Any album that features the vocalist dramatically belting “THE MIIIIIIIIGHTTYYYYY RAAAAAAVEN,” (track 4) you know it’s classic Power Metal. And that’s exactly what we get here. A little bit of DRAGON FORCE, a little bit of BLIND GUARDIAN, a little bit of METALLICA. Nevertheless, they do manage to present it with a modern sound and halfway decent production value, and I always greatly appreciate that.

The album kicks off with the instrumental prelude “The Rise (And Fall) of Kingdoms”. Coming in at just over 2 minutes, this aptly named track is as epic as its title suggests. It has a grand and widely scoped sound, and it feels like it’s setting the stage for a movie about King Arthur or something to that effect. I ALWAYS am a supporter of intro tracks to set up an album, and MATERS OF DISGUISE pretty much nails it. My only complaint might be the production value, but honestly, it’s solid enough and is consistent throughout the album, and that is such a subjective thing that does not offset the power of the opening track.

The first two tracks are pretty standard there’s not a whole lot going on that you haven’t heard before. That being said, they are well done for the most part, and the end of track 3 “Demons from the Past” features some cool acoustic-sounding type of work that demonstrates they’ve got a bit of range as songwriters. Unfortunately there’s not a whole lot there to elevate them above and beyond, which I think is key in the first 2 tracks.

“Shadows of Death” (track 4) is the first “full” song on the album that really grabbed me; and much of that credit goes the rhythm guitar work. The song moves and grooves, but not before starting off with a beautiful electric guitar solo that may trick you into thinking it’ll be a ballad number (which it kind of is). But by a minute and a half, the guitars are kicking into a SONATA ARCTICA type riff that pushes the song forward beautifully. It is bassy, chugging, and fantastically executed; and we really see vocalist Alexx Stahl show off his impressive range here as well. Granted, he does that on just about every song, but this is Power Metal folks, go big or get the fuck out.

Track 6, “Sign of the Cross”, is not my favourite musically, but that ultimately boils down to taste. If you like technical precision, advanced songwriting, epic guitar solos, and thrashing filled-out drums, this is the number for you. It is very, very impressive in that regard. It demonstrates that MASTERS OF DISGUISE have the talent to hit it big, assuming people still like Power Metal…which I think they do? Anyways…

Someone should probably double check that MASTERS OF DISGUISE didn’t steal track 9 (their most epic) from SONATA ARCTICA. Titled “Knutson III: Nemesis (I Am the Law)”, it is exactly as epic as you think it is. The chorus riff is fantastic, but that being said, it is a bit flat. What I mean by that is there’s not a TON of layers. Which is fine much of the time, but when you elevate a song to a sound as big as that, the layering of instrumental parts should really match in complexity.

Overall, this album is great. It’s Power Metal 2017, and it sounds like it. Driven by fast paced Speed/Power Metal riffs, as advertised, it is everything I expected it to be, and a little bit more. Just about the only gripes I have is the production being ultimately flawed and the songwriting going stale about half of the time, but those two items do not offset the quality of the album. If you like Power Metal (which you do), you will have a blast with this album. Be sure to give Shadows of Death a listen. I expect wonderful, wonderful things from MASTERS OF DISGUISE. It’s only their third album, and they’ve shown no signs of slowing down.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. The Rise (And Fall) Of Kingdoms
2. Sacrifice
3. Demons from the Past
4. Shadows of Death
5. Killer’s Redemption
6. Sign of the Cross
7. Alpha / Omega
8. Witchhammer
9. Knutson III: Nemesis (I Am the Law)
10. The Leech
Alexx Stahl - Vocals
Kalli Coldsmith - Guitar
Mario Lang - Bass
Wolle Buchinger - Guitar
Jens Gellner – Drums
Record Label: Limb Music


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