MASQUERADE – In Disguise

MASQUERADE - In Disguise


SorceryStudios Media Group
Release date: September 9, 2004

Vocals: A
Guitars: B+
Bass: B
Drums: B
Recording Quality: B-
Lyrics: B-
Originality: B
Overall Rating: B

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It’s hard to imagine that an excellent Swedish band like Masquerade has been together for sixteen years and in that time are now only releasing their fourth full-length CD. It started in 1992 when the band released a highly regarded self-titled debut in Europe and Japan. Their second full-length album, Surface Of Pain, was released in 1994 and actually saw a Stateside release in 1995. Surface Of Pain took a slightly different turn for the band, and was more aggressive and heavy while maintaining a punchy production. For whatever reason, the band took a hiatus in 1996 and didn’t release a follow-up, entitled Flux, until 1999. While Surface Of Pain and Flux were commendable releases, the fans, on the other hand, were screaming for the band to return to the sound they established on their debut release. The band has listened to the masses by releasing In Disguise. This release is being touted as pure classic Masquerade, very much akin to the sound of Intuition-era TNT. If you fall into the category of one of these screaming fans, then you will not be disappointed!

The CD starts out in a surprising fashion with a Moog pedal introduction, which thankfully is quickly beaten down by a heavy rhythm that is reminiscent of Sykes-era Whitesnake. Of course, any resemblance to Mr. Coverdale and crew is shattered once Johansson’s vocals enter the fray. This is a high throttle opener, which is interlaced with a catchy multi-layered chorus, and stands out as one of the best tracks on the release.

The main spotlight of this album is surely Johansson’s vocals, which are similar to TNT’s Tony Harnell. On several of the tracks he has the talent to apply just the right amount of vibrato on his notes that really shows how talented he is. He does this quite effectively during the chorus on the track “Stop,” which propels this song into becoming another easy favorite. His vocals coupled with G:son’s highly commendable guitar work truly do remind one of TNT days gone by. Sure, there is the occasional ballad delivered, but Johansson’s vocals and G:son’s guitars keep things appealing enough even during these more touching moments.

An interesting inclusion is the instrumental track, “Nippon Symphony,” which was originally an ode to the band’s Japanese audiences. The track is a little offbeat and uninteresting until G:son delivers a nice classical rhythm run, which takes the track into a heavier direction. This, coupled with a nice rhythm accompaniment by Lundberg and Gronholm, will surely have you grabbing your air guitar to play a few bars.

There are a few weak spots on this release, though. The first is the inclusion of the track “Suicidal Idol,” which harkens back to their Surface Of Pain days, especially with the toned down vocals of Johansson. Also speculative are the tracks “So Surreal” and “Wash Me Clean.” None of these tracks are horrible; they just don’t have the same feel that earlier tracks on the release have. Thankfully, they close out the album, as they wind up sounding like orphaned tracks. Also worth mentioning is what seems to be some spotty production here and there. Some tracks seem to have a heavier, beefier guitar and rhythm sound than others.

This CD, quite frankly, stands out as one of the finest Melodic Hard Rock releases of 2004. Excellent vocals fronting ballsy guitars and splashed with catchy melodies and choruses provide for a very strong offering. It’s great news to hear that the band is making plans to return to the studio for yet another release in 2005, and are possibly planning for a Live CD and DVD release.


Tony Johansson: Vocals
Thomas G:son: Guitars
Henrik Lundberg: Bass Guitars
Marko Gronholm: Drums
Ulf Andersson: Guitars


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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