Mask of Judas – The Mesmerist (Self-Released)

Sunday, 27th May 2018
Rating: 9/10

There’s always something to be said for a band that can put out a debut full-length and generate a more unique feel to their music. Such is the case with the UK’s Mask of Judas, who fall within the more modern side of progressive music, yet cross so many bridges and bound over so many gaps that it’s difficult to place what direction that they are coming from (in the best possible way).

There’s an utter slew of different sounds to take in with your first trip through The Mesmerist. While it contains some immediate hooks and reasons to return, this is the type of release that you are going to want to come back to in order to soak in the things you may have missed the time before. Thus, there’s a lot of technical and progressive flourishes that work to embellish the track into a sea of intricacy without pulling the song apart. The level of texturing and melody is what makes it all come out stronger in the end. The slurry of everything from djent, prog, melodic death metal, and bits and pieces of even more extreme material offers plenty of juxtaposition to absorb, and adding in some even pop and R&B influence adds to the diversity. Vocalist Jo Challen stands at the middle of it all, emoting some rather visceral growls and snarls that can bellow with impressive extremity, only to switch over the next second into soaring and beautiful clean vocals. It could be unwieldy in execution, but the unpredictability factor works its way into the band naturally, from the blisteringly heavy moments (“Empire”) to near transcendentally melodic (“Alive”). While Challen does add an incredible vocal element to the act, the music is clearly as rich and engaging – ready to leave you floored at any moment due to either the technical musicianship or melodic hooks.

The Mesmerist marks Mask of Judas as a major up-and-coming act that is bound to break through to a wider crowd. With one full-length to their credit, they’ve established themselves as willing to break the mold while still offering a melodic side to dig in with while able to wow others with their technical precision. The sky seems the limit to where they go next time.

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