domenica 29 luglio 2018

Mascharat - "Mascharat" (Seance Records, 2017)

Band: Mascharat
Title: Mascharat
Genre: Black Metal
Time: 50 min
Year: 15th September 2017
Rating: 84/100

I don't know who is behind the mysterious Italian band Mascharat but I know that the Aussie label Seance Records have did a good deal to release their debut album with the same name! I am saying this not only for the quality of music but also because the album is strongly Italian in its entirety. In fact, "Mascharat" is a concept album about the story of a man that repudiates his Christian convictions and values in order to search the Truth with the "help" of three joking and cruel masks of the Venetian Carnival tradition (it isn't a case if "Mascharat" means "joke" or "prank" in Arabic but it is also similar to the Italian word for "mask" that is "maschera"!). All this story is sang in Italian as well in a Northern Italy dialect and even in French (in "Medecin de Peste", at least) through 9 tracks (4 of them are instrumental, included intro and outro), in which there is a sound dubbed by the label as "Renaissance Black Metal", in according to the particular lyrics.

While the concept album is undoubtedly Italian, the music, more specifically, is a macabre black metal strongly rooted in the '90s Norwegian sound in the vein of Darkthrone and Immortal. This means that, musically, everything is classic here, from the Abbath-esque vocals of the singer to the simple guitar riffing without any solos with the addition of some acoustic moments (also with an obsessive pianoforte like in the "Intro" and "Outro") impregnated by an arcane atmosphere.

Ok, everything is classic here but we're talking about songs that are well-structured also thanks to the drummer, that's able to range with great fluidity from blast-beats raging explosions to slow and dark passages, and there are also sequences more focused on ritualistic tom-toms. In addition, the songs are often so long that "Medecin de Peste" lasts even 11 minutes, so they can be appear not so digestable for some listeners since their lenght.

Instead, about the structure of the album there is need to say that its story is divided in two parts: the first one is composed by "Bauta", "Medecin de Peste" and "Mora" and the second one by "Simulacri", "Iniziazione" and "Rito" while, in the middle, there is the instrumental folkish intermezzo with ancient medieval tunes "Vestibolo". After this, there is the aforementioned "Simulacri", another instrumental track in which Mascharat returns to terrorize the listeners with their macabre black metal, even though I think that this song could sound more effective with the vocals but that's it. For me, the second part of the album is better than the first one since, above all, the presence of the magnificent 7 minutes of "Rito", characterized also by a good basswork.

In conclusion, the Milan-based band Mascharat, with their arcane and macabre Renaissance black metal, are one of those bands able to show the following magical feature of the black metal genre: also when it's played in according to a classic way, it can be original enough only through the lyrical themes. Often, these last ones belongs to the land of the same bands also by using their own mothertongues and/or local dialects. So, in a certain sense, the black metal genre can be considered as a way to preserve the local/national traditions and, surely, Italian bands like Umbra Noctis and the same Mascharat represent this fascinating black metal essence in its entirety.

P.S.: the Polish label Morbid Chapel Records released really recently the tape version of this album. So, you have other chances to make yours this dark opus in the Italian way!


1 - Intro
2 - Bauta
3 - Medecin de Peste
4 - Mora
5 - Vestibolo
6 - Simulacri
7 - Iniziazione
8 - Rito
9 - Outro



Seance Records:
Morbid Chapel Records:

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