What a way for original Royal Hunt singer Henrik Brockmann to stage his comeback – on a twisted concept album by a Dutch band called Evil Masquerade that is based on guitarist Henrik Flyman's hellish and bizarre nightmares, features one of the most ridiculous covers I've seen lately, boasts two members of the progressive-metal band Wuthering Heights and includes at least one keyboard solo from Brockmann's former Royal Hunter Andre Andersen. Welcome to the Show opens with a reading of Wagner's classical icon "Ride of the Valkyries" before giving way to a woman's hysterical laughter, which segues into the dramatic symphonic/neoclassical-metal title track that invokes the vocal stylings of Queen and the musical and lyrical imagery of Rhapsody. And that's only the first five minutes.
More of the same ensues, with Anderson being joined by fellow guest keyboardists Richard Andersson (Majestic, Space Odyssey, Time Requiem) and Mats Olausson (Yngwie Malmsteeen). That said, some of the lyrical content gets a bit more evil than you'd expect from Brockmann, whose voice is deeper and meaner here than it was on Royal Hunt's Land of Broken Hearts and Clown in the Mirror.
In short, this album is bound to surprise some European metal fans either by living up to their expectations or dashing them.
1) Intro (1:42)
2) Welcome to the Show (3:10)
3) The Wind Will Rise (4:53)
4) Oh Harlequin (5:05)
5) Surprises in the Dark (5:35)
6) But You Were Smiling … (4:05)
7) Children of the Light (4:19)
8) Lucy the Evil (6:09)
9) Badinerie (Bonus Track) (1:36)
10) Deliver Us (5:17)
11) Evil Masquerade (4:07)
Total Time: 46:02