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Subterranean Masquerade: Mountain Fever

How to classify Subterranean Masquerade? They are typically called a “prog metal” band. And it’s true that they do get pretty heavy at times and employ harsh vocals. But they are really unclassifiable, and this album, Mountain Fever, is particularly so. If anything, I would call them “eclectic prog” or maybe even “RIO.” I have been trying to think of a band to compare them to, and the closest I can come up with is Ut Gret. There are similarities but they are fleeting: moments here and there that put one in mind of the other, perhaps mostly because of the use of such assorted instruments, some fairly unusual to prog.

At this point in their career, Subterranean Masquerade have at least six full-time members, perhaps more; it is a little hard to tell from the credits and their website. And they make very fine use of a huge number of guest musicians on this album. The music is written by mainstay Tomer Pink, while the lyrics are written by primary vocalist Davidavi Dolev, who is relatively new to the group.

An Israel-based band, Subterranean Masquerade show many and varied influences on Mountain Fever. They no doubt draw heavily from traditional Mizrahi and Sephardic music. At times, I also hear Ashkenazi melodies as well, with some passages coming very close to klezmer. But one will pick up modern Western influences as well, from the world of prog, metal, and even pop.

If there is a shortcoming to the album, it’s Dolev’s vocals. Even when his singing is clean, it can be grating. But the backing vocals, particularly the female backing vocals, are simply beautiful and the music is frequently magnificent.

The CD comes in a nice package that includes all lyrics and some interesting artwork, well befitting an album with such interesting music.

I prefer Subterranean Masquerade’s debut Suspended Animation Dreams to Mountain Fever. But, still, their latest release is one of my favorite albums of the year.


Track Listing:
1. Snake Charmer
2. Diaspora, My Love
3. Mountain Fever
4. Inwards
5. Somewhere I Sadly Belong
6. The Stilnox Oratory
7. Ascend
8. Ya Shema Evyonecha
9. For the Leader, With Strings Music
10. Mångata

Added: November 28th 2021
Reviewer: Aaron Steelman
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 482
Language: english

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