Red Masque, The - Death Of The Red Masque

Year of Release: 2001
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 34:05:00

Weird, bizarre, demented, over the edge. All fitting expressions to describe The Red Masque's debut EP, Death Of The Red Masque. Did I forget to mention Chtulu-cool? Well, add that one to the list, too, because it's sure as all hell included. In these days when a good hook is worth millions, and the vast majority of new progressive rock acts stay within relatively "safe" parameters, this Philadelphia quintet has just turned its back on traditional harmony and prettiness, lit a destructive Molotov cocktail, and in a macabre glee thrown it behind, sending static conformity sky high. Zero for the home team, one for the visitors.

The Red Masque is admittedly a band with a style that will undoubtedly be hard to stomach for most out there. Then again, any group that can be referenced in one way or another to RIO and Zeuhl isn't exactly going to be just anybody's cup of tea. Certainly not Winston Churchill's, who'd probably take it upon himself to eradicate the whole of Philadelphia in a blinding fit of fury after listening to ten seconds of Death Of The Red Masque, but, ahem, forgetting nonsensical historical references for a moment, this EP could easily qualify as one of those nightmarish fevers that sick souls enjoy. Lynnete Shelley's ghost-like vocals drift in and out of chaotic and unexpected musical changes, dissonance reigns supreme after short bouts with melody and sane harmony, Steven Blumberg's guitar sounds like the despaired wails of a revenant, and the heaviest and most jagged riffs this side of Black Flag jump out of nowhere like a wild boar on amphetamines.

A word of warning though. If I mentioned that this could be hard to stomach for some out there, it's certainly not because it's heavy, dissonant, or unique. It's because, excepting the more accessible passages of "A Moon Falls," where majestic progressions appear sporadically throughout, a certain eerie vibe reminiscent of goth metal stalwarts Moonspell floats menacingly, and a hint of King Crimson is mixed in the musical paraphernalia that The Red Masque commands, this is nowhere near standard. For those interested in a band that would have scared the living hell out of H.P. Lovecraft himself via dissonance, clashing elements of harmony, and an intense female vocalist, however, this is what you've been waiting for.

Similar artists: Amon Düül II, Magma, Present

Tidal (10:40) / A Moon Falls (13:34) / Ended Ways improv (9:51)

Steve Blumberg - guitar
Nathan-Andrew Dewin - keys and harp
Kevin Kelly - drums and percussion
Brandon Ross - bass
Lynnette Shelley - vocals

Death Of The Red Masque (ep) (2001)
Victoria And The Haruspex (2002)
Feathers For Flesh (2004)
Fossil Eyes (2008)
Stars Fall On Me (2009)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: August 11th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 505
Language: english


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