Man, how time flies. Hard to believe it's been 12 years since the last release from New York's Braindance, 2002s Redemption, but lo and behold they have finally resurfaced with the 'long in the works' album they've titled Master of Disguise. It's a concept album , and the story ties into an accompanying 16 page comic book designed by lead vocalist Sebastian Elliott and drawn by artist Joe Simko. The layout of the entire digipack presentation here is quite cool, and it's obvious that a lot of time, effort, and love went into Master of Disguise, which you can also clearly hear once you start listening to the music.
At the helm once again are Elliott & guitarist/producer Vora Vor, along with Tony Geballe (guitar, programming), Andrew Bunk (bass), Stygmie von Skunk-a-Loohvff (percussion), and backing vocalists Beka & Natalia. If you are not familiar with Braindance, they are an extremely hard act to describe, as they throw in bits of film sound clips into a sound that comprises futuristic heavy metal, progressive rock, gothic rock, ambient, and darkwave. Master of Disguise is a long album at nearly 80-minutes, so be prepared to spend a lot of time digesting this one, but it's well worth the investment. As with most Braindance releases, there are shorter pieces comprised of various sound effects, film clips, and cinematic soundscapes, that bridge the gap to the actual songs. Many of the actual full-fledged songs here are quite excellent, instantly memorable fare permeated by Elliott's gothic, almost Peter Steele styled vocal attack, bubbling keyboards, and Vor & Geballe's crunchy riffing. "Lost" is instantly memorable and catchy, with a nice touch from the female backing vocals, while "Eye of the Storm" sees driving riffs and atmospheric synths fuel a truly addicting chorus woven by Elliott. Gothic styled progressive metal is all the rage on the adventurous "The Game", and again, the melodies & chorus are just so expertly crafted that you'll be humming them immediately after the first listen. The title track has more of a somber doom feel, and features some wicked lead guitar and emotional vocals, while "More Than a Moment (The Sands Part III)" picks up the pace back into prog-metal territory, complete with some engaging vocal harmonies from Elliott, Beka, and Natalia. You'll find the hooks of "The Silence" hard to resist, while the three part "Valley of the Kings" suite is sure to be the real treat for the progressive metal fans in attendance, a wild, epic statement that pulls in all the talents of this great band.
There really is so much appeal to an album like Master of Disguise, and you have to hope that all the work that went into this recording ultimately brings some decent exposure to the band and their eclectic music. The style of Braindance can easily appeal to a wide variety of listeners, from those who enjoy metal, goth, prog, ambient, and darkwave. Once again, this band has produced a masterpiece, and hopefully we won't have to wait as long for a follow-up. In the meantime, there's much to enjoy and savor here with Master of Disguise for years to come.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
- Eye of the Storm
- The Game
- Hunter and Hunted
- Master of Disguise
- More Than a Moment (The Sands Part III)
- The Silence
- Written in Stone
- Valley of the Kings-Chapter 1:Beyond
- Valley of the Kings-Chapter II: Falling
- Valley of the Kings-Chapter III: Closer to the Sun