I’m always looking forward to new releases from Stormspell Records’ roster, and Masquerage is just another gem in the rough featuring some hard-working people who somehow managed to stay underground all this time. The Finns have been around since around 2000, with four full-length records to their name already. I hadn’t known them before this album, but my bets were on them being a brand new, young band. Hangman’s Revelations just has this kind of fresh air to it. Of course, I recognized Masquerage‘s voice and big player – Kimmo Perämäki of early Celesty fame, who managed to stay relevant trough Finland’s scene and recently grouped up with Celesty again, but to no recorded avail at least yet.
Masquerage share a lot of Celesty‘s traits with their melodious guitar leads characteristic for Finnish power metal, fitting keyboard walls and a focus on big choruses. Compared to Celesty, Masquerage feature some more rock-like riffs, but in such a soft and melodic fashion that it nearly needn’t be mentioned. Another band who hits that exemplary Finnish sweet spot between rock and melodic metal is Altaria, whose fans would do well in checking out Masquerage.
The Finn’s nimble compositions are more about fun and energy than virtuoso ambitions, and songs like “Wrapped In Gold”, “Dreams Of Fire” and “No Wolves Here” prove that in speedy guitars, euphoric melodies and airy keyboards. The band’s melancholic and sometimes sarcastic side is rather found in the lyrics than in the happy choruses, which has you not only musically think of Edguy, Mandrake times. Masquerage are far from the ingenious compositions of those days, but Hangman’s Revelations makes for a fun record reveling in the olden times of good power metal.
And that’s the whole deal with Masquerage: if you like sometimes cheesy, always catchy old school melodic metal from the land of thousand lakes – Celesty, Altaria, Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, Excalion (the list is long) – you will definitely enjoy Masquerage. This album won’t cause a huge revival in 2000s power metal, but maybe that’s just what the crowd wants, it’s an intimate scene.