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The Red Masque

Hailing from Philadelphia, the Red Masque craft a dark form of avant garde progrock that explodes with sparkling appeal.

For more info, pictures, and tour dates, check out their Website).

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THE RED MASQUE: Death of the Red Masque (CD on )

This 34 minute CD EP was released in 2001.

The Red Masque is: Steven Blumberg on guitars, Nathan-Andrew Dewin on keyboards and harp, Kevin Kelly on drums and percussion, Brandon Ross on bass, and Lynette Shelley on vocals.

The first track, "Tidal", commences with a pleasant abstraction that sets a moody stage for the drama to come. When things go coherent and melodic, rich vocals croon amid a seething pool of searing guitar and hyperactive percussives and rumbling bass and sultry keyboards. There is a Fripp-mastery to the snarling guitar that grabs the attention and vibrates the soul with compelling riffs.

The second track, "Ended Ways", is mainly instrumental. It swarms upon the listener with dynamic impact. Grating but sinuous guitar ascends to break through mystery-shrouded clouds. Frantic yet sensual drumming cascades with impulsive command, establishing driving rhythms that plunge off into seemingly chaotic snake-pits. Amid these chasms of ominous darkness there surges a spacey air mixing with cosmic desperation, a sound struggles (and wins) to coalesce with fervent passion and triumphant victory over pandemonium. The final passage of this piece achieves a soaring calm that maintains a inspiring agitation as the sonics fade into a higher plane of wisdom and peace.

The final track is "A Moon Falls". It begins with delicate guitar and vocal airs that convey strong renaissance sensibilities. This fanciful mood builds into grandiose proportions with dense keyboards and electrified guitar and growling bass and momentous drumming. Lyrical vocals communicate intricate and prosaic emotions, leading to a powerful passage of epic percussion and keyboard grandeur. Throughout it all, the guitar swims like a friendly but dangerous shark. Church organ resounds to produce a breather for the listener, peppered with sultry guitar slidings. Then the song returns to an ascendant structure, unfurling masterful prog-rock tones and lyrical content for a riveting conclusion.

This is quite a astounding debut release that fuses Fairport Convention with King Crimson--and pulls it off with considerable style and acumen.

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