EVIL MASQUERADE – Welcome To The Show

EVIL MASQUERADE - Welcome To The Show


Frontiers Records
Release date: April 5, 2004

Guitars: A-
Bass: C+
Percussion: C
Keyboards: B
Vocals: B+
Lyrics: B+
Recording Quality: C-
Originality: B
Overall Rating: B-

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Welcome To The Show is a creatively crafted theme album about one of those eerie adult costume balls, with a Gothic Middle Ages feel to it, where the guests end up getting involved in more than they bargained for when they decided to show up in the first place. As if entering their own personal fright-night twilight zone, the guests are welcomed/seduced into attending this masquerade ball, only to find they are entrapped into weathering the course of their host’s evil visions, fantasies, and supernatural proceedings. All apparently survive, but certainly their lives will be forever impacted and their mental states forever flogged …

… but of course, the success or failure of an album is only marginally contingent on its story line – in the end, it’s all about the music …

Evil Masquerade’s musical style can best be described as Symphonic or Theatrical Metal. More specifically, this Danish band incorporates a large handful of classical symphony bits (that everyone will recognize) in their songs; intertwined with fast-paced Classic Metal, and a touch of Black Metal.

Henrik Brockmann mans the microphone admirably throughout this album, resulting in one of the true highlights of this CD from start to finish. Henrik Flyman, who takes credit for this album’s composition, flies up and down the fret board of his guitar at speeds that are impressively almost impossible to follow by the human ear. Kasper Gram wields the bass guitar admirably, but unfortunately the production quality of this CD is a bit odd, so most times his work comes through in a ghostly manner and is generally inaudible. Lastly, Dennis Buhl bullies the drums, but along the same line as the bass guitar, the percussion sound is typically distant and lacks proper impact with respect to the bass tones … his favoritism towards use of the double-bass drum tends to lack punch, and causes the overall sound of this CD to be a tad hollow, as if the band were playing live in a basement where the drum kit was expected to stand alone without adequate microphone amplification. Lastly, to add to the symphonic/theatrical effect of this paranormal costume ball, Evil Masquerade invoked the help of several virtuosos to add some impressive keyboard passages and enhancements (Mats Olausson, Richard Andersson, Andre Andersen, and Lars Boutrup).

Welcome To The Show starts out with an interpretation of a Wagner classical symphony passage in the “Grand Opening,” which is an impressive, majestic start to this album. The “Grand Opening” then shifts to a “cat-fight” guitar driven intro that meshes into the beginning of the title track (the 2nd track) “Welcome to the Show.” The lyrics of this song do a good job of introducing the theme of the album – it focuses on a “haunted circus” setting of sorts, or a Middle Ages gypsy-horror traveling carnival … all difficult to do without coming across hokey, but well-done by the band nonetheless.

The musicians’ speed of play continues through to the 5th song, “Surprises In The Dark.” Evil Masquerade’s frenetic approach comes to a peak in this track as they rely on a curiously disorganized style to further exacerbate the “Surprise, you fool! Don’t even think you know what could possibly be coming next!” theme. The other tracks up to this point, however, are more reliant on musical passages … this song is heavily weighted on lyrics – not necessarily a “great” thing, but definitely a differentiating shift.

The band takes another noticeable variation with track #6, “But You Were Smiling…” In this song, Evil Masquerade plays more in the vein of the Classic Metal style, and basically stays that course through the end of the album … a turn for the better in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still originality to each song … for instance, the bonus track “Badinerie” is all instrumental and has a Medieval Folk Music flavor to it, and “Lucy the Evil” has an off-kilter acoustical intro – both songs boasting elements much unlike their other musical compadres. All in all, though, tracks #6 through #11 (the end) bear a smoother sound with a tad bit more bass emphasis and deliberate delivery instead of a constant focus on speed.

My favorite song is the last track, the band’s namesake song: “Evil Masquerade.” There’s good power within this song and each musician lets it all hang out, as does Brockmann with his voice. In the end, as an end, this track serves this Ball of Iniquity quite well as the “Grande Finale.” Conversely, the song just prior, “Deliver Us,” is the least successful song on the album. Although the music flows along nicely in atmospheric Pink Floyd fashion, Brockmann delivers the lyrics essentially in “slow motion.” “Deliver Us” begs itself to end shortly after it gets started.

By and large, though, I applaud the band for developing a concept and sticking with it – and quite successfully more times than not! In the end, the only downside to this album is the miss on the bass-end production quality – perhaps Flyman should stick to continuing to dazzle us with his guitar prowess and hand over the mixing boards to an independent producer next time! Anyway, if you’re up for something different with a spooky, sometimes evil, flare to it, it’ll be worth your while to check out Welcome To The Show. If anything, hearing Flyman’s exquisite guitar playing, in and of itself, is worth your trip to the record store!


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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