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Mastord – To Whom Bow Even the Trees

Mastord
To Whom Bow Even the Trees
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 10 March 2021, 11:36 AM

Progressive Metal band MASTORD hails from Finland. With no information available on their Facebook page, Bandcamp page, their record label, or the digital promo, I had to search for them on The Metal Archives. What I discovered, was that they have no listed formation date.  “To Whom Bow Even the Trees” is the band’s sophomore release, and contains ten tracks.

“The Walls” opens the album. It begins with a soft piano melody, and some simulated strings. Gathering steam with some timpani notes, the vocals are clean and emotive. There is a little more going on in the chorus, as Markku notes “the walls are crumbling down.” “Mediocre” begins with a heavy, punchy groove. Vocal harmonies come into play in the chorus, and Markku stretches out range. Kari shows some nice skills with his guitar solo, and the song grabs you by the balls. An old-school key sequence follows. “Humble Professor” is an eight-minute opus. It begins with a simple guitar riff, that is soon augmented with keys. It’s over two minutes before we hear the first vocals. The song is melancholy and mostly sad, but the instrumentation is kept fairly minimal, and the Progressive elements are quite subdued.

“Master – Savior” is another lengthy song. The mid-tempo pace is starting to weigh the album down a bit. It has a murky and hazy sound, like being stuck in slow moving quicksand. The harmonies in the chorus are nice, but the song has a tough time getting off the ground really. “Silence Crime” is a shorter song, but yet another slow pace. Markku sings many of the songs in the same manner…low and slow. His baritone voice is well-trained, but limits where the band can go. “Fallen Angel” is yet another underwhelming song. Again, the musicianship is high but the songwriting is where they need to really dig into. The ambient passage to the end is nicely done, however.

“Going Down” features some heavier, more Progressive elements, but it’s yet another slow song. I feel like I am stuck on repeat mode here. The bass guitar notes are nicely done here, as is the lead guitar parts that follow. More of this, and they are on to something bigger. “Endless Confusion” is the first track that breaks the pace. The Progressive elements here really shine. The band is certainly capable of playing in the genre, as I get a little DREAM THEATER nod here when they play with the meter. This song is what I am talking about. Kari showcases his lead guitar skills in a well-done solo.

“Closer to the Void” is a close to ten-minute opus. Some Eastern melodies open the song, but it soon falls victim to pacing. Slow and dragged-out, the melodies in the chorus are not enough to save the song. It comes to life after the half-way mark with some playful sounds, but again, not quite enough to save the song. The over-13-minute “Circle Lies” closes the album. It has that slow pace again, but some nice melodies develop in the chorus. Some Progressive elements are noticeable here but overall it really takes a long time to develop. 13 minutes is a long time without much development.

The album suffered mostly from what I call the “mid-tempo blues.” Too many songs with the same pacing make it hard for the album to be dynamic, which is often a key feature of the genre. The band members themselves are excellent musicians, and there are some moments where I think the band is transforming themselves, but they are short lived, unfortunately. The album has potential, but that’s really all this reviewer can remark about it.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Walls
2. Mediocre
3. Humble Professor
4. Master – Savior
5. Silence Chime
6. Fallen Angel
7. Going Down
8. Endless Confusion
9. Closer to the Void
10. Circles Lies
Lineup:
Pasi Hakuli – Bass
Toni Paananen – Drums
Kari Syvelä – Guitars, Keyboards
Markku Pihlaja – Vocals
Record Label: Inverse Records
     


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