Mascharat – S/T Album Review (Italian Black Metal)

mascharatcover-highresItaly has had a pretty intriguing recent history in the arenas of black metal and dark ambient.  Today, however we deal solely with the black metal element.  Mascharat’s most recent self-titled release is our offering for today.

From Bandcamp: “Released by Séance Records, the first full length album of Mascharat has been conceived as an esoteric narration, inspired by the masks and the traditions of carnival. The tracks are arranged as chapters of a symbolic narrative, where the masks of carnival are the guides to a process of initiation and transformation.”

The word Mascharat derives from the Arabic language, and means “joke, prank, trick” and “immoral and chaotic situation”. Mascharat traces also the origin of the Italian term “maschera” to the English word, “mask.”  Conceptually, Mascharat is inspired by the masks and traditions of the carnival.  This is a refreshing change from the countless bands whose aesthetics and sonic imagery are limited to Satanic themes.

The album contains nine tracks including an intro and outro.  In an odd sort of way, the vocals remind me a bit of David Vincent’s on Morbid Angel’s debut.  What is musically striking about the album on the whole is the transitions between tempos and more-so the interesting chord progressions.  “Mora” is a fine example of this.  But this album is one of those instances where you are trying to pin-point, but you can only see that the band is trying to do something unique in a sea of imitators.  “Iniziazione” is a great example of some of Mascharat’s greatest moments when the layered guitars work in different chords with each other.  

The production is somewhere in between raw/primitive and semi-polished.  So, the purity of second-wave black metal bands is there to keep some happy while the production and mixing is decent but certainly not overdone.  

Mascharat presents a release that is solid from point A to point B.  Old school death metal blackened to a crisp sometimes rears its head but for the most part, this is straight black metal.  At least musically and thematically they are trying to resent something in their own voice.  I also like the fact that we have no clue about what they look like nor do we have a clue about the number of members or their names.  So just take it for what it is…. Mascharat is Italian black metal at its finest.

 Mascharat is available on limited edition CD and digital formats.

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