Subterranean Masquerade – The Great Bazaar (Taklit Music)Tuesday, 6th January 2015
Head back in your mind ten years to 2005. Subterranean Masquerade’s last full-length album, Suspended Animation Dreams, had just been released. Encompassing a huge range of influences and musical genres (everything from extreme and progressive metal, to world music, jazz, and folk), it had a lot of people talking for all the right reasons. But then the band all but vanished until 2013’s 2-song Home EP brought them back into the limelight. It’s safe to say that The Great Bazaar has been a long time coming, but completely worth the wait.
The only two carryovers from Subterranean Masquerade are that of its founder Tomer Pink and vocalist Paul Kuhr (Novembers Doom). Adding to the starstudded cast are vocalist Kjetil Nordhus (Green Carnation/Tristania), drummer Matan Shmuely (Orphaned Land), as well as bassist Golan Farhi, keyboardist Shai Yallin, and guitarist Or Shalev. The Great Bazaar feels a bit like its predecessor in that the integration of many styles and influences is apparent and excellently done. Whether it’s the usage of strings on tracks like “Father and Son,” or the Middle-eastern stylings of “Early Morning Mantra,” or the jazzy “Nigen,” you are never quite sure what you are going to hear around the next corner but you are always willing to take the chance. New vocalist Kjetil Nordus provides an excellent counterpoint to Paul Kuhr’s growls, which becomes quite apparent in ‘70’s psychedelia of “Reliving the Feeling.” Nordus’ finest moment has to be in the quieter approach to “Waiting,” with quite an emotive chorus.
With an impressive palette of musical subgenres to work with and deftly avoiding classification, The Great Bazaar is a musical journey that you won’t forget quickly. It is a huge feather in Subterranean Masquerade’s cap that they can incorporate so many different elements and sound coherent; not to mention the ability to retain a sound that is uniquely their own. Truly progressive, this is what forward thinking metal should be like as we enter 2015.