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Master Of Disguise
Released: 2014, Independent
It seems like a lifetime ago when I first reviewed the third Braindance album on Metal-Rules.com. It was indeed 12 years ago! I raved about REDEMPTION and gave it a perfect score with a long rambling review. I still listen to it to this day and still introduce people to this band. Back in 2006 the band said they were starting to work on their next album MASTER OF DISGUISE. Here we are...eight years later…and the album has arrived.
It might be beneficial for you to go read my review of REDEMPTION, so I can avoid having this degenerate into a long gushing love letter of a review. Starting from the top MASTER OF DISGUISE is an incredible package unto itself. The gatefold digi-pack is amazing to look at. The embossed logo album art is littered with golden symbols, front, back and inside with no actual band name or album title. Fans will be able to spot the bands icon among the symbols. However, there is a helpful sticker on the shrink-wrap to help identify the CD for people who have no clue. Housed inside is a multi-page booklet with really nice gold ink with all the liner notes and lyrics and so on. There is also a 16-page full-colur comic book by Joe Simko that helps expand on the conceptual storyline. The album itself is a generous 15 songs running 75 minutes.
Describing a band is a challenge at the best of times and Braindance don’t make it easy to do that. I have seen them described as ‘Metal’, ‘Prog’, ‘gothic’ ‘ambient’, darkwave’, ‘industrial’ and any combination of all those words that you could imagine. Their website URL is progressivedarkwave, so maybe that might be as close as the come to self-identifying their own sound. ‘They’ are the duo of Sebastian Elliot and Vora Vor. I’m delighted to say that the pairs signature sound is fully intact. 12 years is a long time and anything could happen but thankfully they pick up right they left off sonically speaking.
MASTER OF DISGUISE has an overarching backdrop of ancient Egypt but that would be oversimplifying it. The story follows one man’s eternal quest for self identity and asking the age old question, ‘Who Am I?’ Musically, Braindance is like no other band I’ve ever heard. That might not be such a big deal because I have only listen to Hard Rock and Metal for the last 35+ years, but to me it sounds so unique and yet still within the broad arch of ‘heavy music’. The ‘songs’ are not so much conventional songs as mini suites and sonic soundscapes that ebb and flow. They range from 5 to 10 minutes and near the end of the album, the ‘Valley of The Kings’ trilogy runs almost 23 minutes. The drums always keep a bit of a backbone and there are many moments of shredding guitar sprinkled among the largely keyboard driven, industrial sounds. The deep and booming baritone of Sebastian is distinct and powerful. He has excellent range and delivery reminding me of Peter of Type O and Fernando of Moonspell. Of course they still have tons of samples from pop culture, you have to listen many times to be able to pick out who they are. I’m not a pop culture or TV guy so many of them I have no idea but I do have a few flashes of recognition. Mix in layered gang vocals, female vocals and there is a lot to digest. MASTER OF DISGUISE is a dense, intense album and indeed another flawless masterpiece. It was fully worth the 12-year wait.
Normally I’m pretty intolerant of experimentation and external influences in Metal, so I find it odd I like this band so much. I don’t want to identify this album as a ‘guilty pleasure’ because I don’t subscribe to the concept of feeling guilty for listening to music I enjoy. Regardless of what other peoples perception of my taste is, guilt implies negativity and judgment from others and a wolf does not concern himself with the opinion of the sheep. So despite being a full-on Metalhead, the truest of the true, I still love Braindance and MASTER OF DISGUISE.
3. Eye Of The Storm
4. The Game
5. Hunter And Hunted
7. Master OF disguise
8. More Than A Moment (The Sands Part III)
9. The Silence
11. Written In Stone
12. Beyond (Valley Of The Kings Chapter One)
13. Falling (Valley Of The Kings Chapter Two)
14. Closer To The Sun (Valley Of The Kings Chapter Three)
Vora Vor-Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, programming
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