Escape Music
Release date: July 21, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Evil Masquerade returns from Theatrical Madness (Frontiers Records, 2005) with a very cool-headed Third Act. Although this third release is less theatrical than the previous two, more variety in the songwriting department and the large voice of a new singer make Third Act a very entertaining album.

Depending on what fans find appealing about Evil Masquerade’s previous albums, Third Act has the potential to delight or disappoint. The songs on Theatrical Madness, for the most part, were quirkier, in terms of theatricality, and faster paced. The album had a more particular theme than Third Act, which is more diverse in its offerings, but not as extreme in any one direction. Some songs maintain Evil Masquerade’s contemporary, progressive feel, while others are very much in the vein of old-school Metal, with modern production values. Fans wedded to the extreme theatrical style might balk at the different musical directions taken this time.

Another difference is the singer. Replacing Henrik Brockmann on lead vocals is Apollo Papathanasio (Time Requiem, Meduza, Firewind). In the vein of Ronnie James Dio and Tony Martin, Apollo shines during the slower, Classic-style Metal tunes. Heavy groove-riffs set the stage for Apollo’s fluid phrasing and smooth vibrato. In fact, fans of Dio, Sabbath, and Malmsteen will appreciate the dungeonesque feel of these songs.

Along with Apollo, another new member is Thor Jeppesen on bass, replacing Kasper Gram (with names like Apollo and Thor, these guys must be dragon slayers). Dennis Buhl remains as the drummer, David Rosenthal and Richard Andersson make guest appearances on keyboards, and, of course, guitarist/songwriter/producer Henrik Flyman is the creative impetus behind it all.

In fact, Flyman actually wrote two albums worth of material over five months and chose his top eleven for Third Act. The guitars and keyboard parts are expertly woven with each other and around the vocals. Flyman has a talent for writing and arranging guitar lines (not just chords) under vocals without creating conflict between the two. Moreover, his playing has a fresh, inspired feel. The solos don’t sound contrived, and they fit melodically with the mood of the song. Imagine some of the spirit of Tony Iommi, Doug Aldrich, and Yngwie Malmsteen combined to make one. The bass or drums do not pop out and play lead roles at any time, but are nonetheless strong and add their parts to complete a consistently intense sonic picture. Production overall is very good, although it could benefit from a little more midrange clarity.

Third Act is at once a creative blend of Power and Progressive plus a nod to the old school of Metal in a fresh sounding work. Apollo Papathanasio is a welcome addition, and kudos goes to Henrik Flyman for apparently staying true to his inspirations, because it comes through in the spirit of the music. The final word: two horns up!


  • Jason Sagall

    Jason was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He was born in Illinois and currently reside in California, USA, where he works in the field of Information Technology, and is a freelance web consultant hyperacuity.net. His favorite Rock and Metal subgenres include Classic, Progressive, and Power. He is a guitar fanatic and listen to a lot of Instrumental Rock and Fusion. Jason has been playing guitar as a hobby for some 25 years.  

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