Seance Records, 2017
Genre: Black Metal
3. Médecin de peste
Mascharat is a new and very excellent Black Metal project coming out of Milan, Italy. It's not surprising to look at their discography and see only one demo before being snatched up by Seance Records. Seance Records has become a mark of quality for me with a good amount of very strong releases and I'm always interested to see what that label releases and Mascharat's debut is absolutely no exception in the quality department.
Mascharat blends together a lot of various forms of Black Metal I like culminating in quite an impressive debut album. Mascharat have this great raw Black Metal sound, but it's mixed well enough that we can hear everything quite well while still having that raw sharpness to the overall sound. Mascharat is a bit of a melting pot of Black Metal from all over Europe, but I think the primary sounds are Italian and French. Italian is obvious, they have that sort of Tenebrae in Perpetuum raw quality with some classic Italian projects like Necromass in the mix. A lot of their riffing and chord choices remind me a lot of the French bands, such as Mütiilation. Even the guitar tone reminds me of Mütiilation at times. Vocally they remind me a lot of Dim from Tymah, which is wonderful as Dim is one of the best vocalists out there, so to even compete on her level is rather impressive. This all makes for an exquisite blend in itself, but you throw in the sections that have this medieval quality to them or renaissance feel, then you have something truly well made. Mascharat don't try to wow us with speed or take on an overly brooding nature, instead they keep a comfortable mid-pace and keep our attention with songwriting.
The booklet is quite simple but well designed. I appreciate the fact that they provided the Italian lyrics the songs are sung in as well as translations in English. The way they handled layout for this is reminiscent of a modern translation of an old book, which features both texts. The one and only complaint I can truly level at this is that when the discs were pressed a few seconds of silence was inserted between songs, but the way these songs are composed there should be no silence between the songs at all. The silence is kind of a jarring experience when it shows up between songs, so it's a shame this happened. Hopefully if they do something similar in the future they'll force a repressing of the disc.
In the end I hope more people will check out Mascharat. They sort of fall into that occult Black Metal area, but I think they manage to do it in a such a way that they don't sound too generic. This is an excellent start to a new project and I'm definitely curious where they will take us next, because they are certainly working with a very strong foundation.