Subterranean Masquerade
Mountain Fever


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sunnyvale CONTRIBUTOR (29 Reviews)
May 17th, 2021 | 17 replies


Release Date: 05/14/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Over-the-top, and very, very, fun

This reviewer went into his first listen of Mountain Fever blind, with the only clues of what to expect being Subterranean Masquerade’s genre tags on sputnikmusic.com, and the vibrant album artwork with its almost confusing amount of eye-catching elements. Both clues were helpful, but if anything the artwork provides a better hint of the music presented here. Mountain Fever is a grandiose work pulling from many sources, one that feels like it’s about to go off the rails many times, but rarely does. The end result is an ambitious prog release which ends up being remarkably satisfying and enjoyable.

Subterranean Masquerade is Israel-based group, with primary songwriter Tomer Pink drawing on his connections within that country’s metal scene to fill out the ranks of the musicians featured on this LP. Pink’s countryman Davidavi Dolev is the lead vocalist, with members of Orphaned Land and Melechesh also making appearances.

Opener “Snake Charmer” doesn’t really do justice to the scope of what the rest of the album will unveil. It’s a great track, but fairly standard-issue contemporary prog. Its successor, “Diaspora My Love” marks the first sign of more grandiose stylings, beginning as a mellow ballad before progressing to an ending segment featuring the album’s first appearance of harsh vocals (which will be used regularly but sparingly throughout the remainder). Things really take a turn with the third song, the album’s title track, with its epically-inclined prog rock/metal guitar work intertwining with folk motifs. Later on, “Somewhere I Sadly Belong” may be the most intriguing of all, with an interplay between extreme metal vocals and recurring female gospel-esque singing, which works far better than one may expect. The album’s second half doesn’t let up either, with “Ya Shema Evyonecha” being a traditional Hebrew tune getting a wild prog metal revamp, and “For The Leader, With Strings Music” summoning the spirit of Opeth’s prime era in the best way. After all this, the relative restraint of closer “Mangata”, despite some great guitar work, might feel like a bit of a letdown, even though it’s a great song taken on its own terms.

Mountain Fever isn’t a record one can easily pigeonhole into genre categories. Subterranean Masquerade are undoubtedly pursuing a vision here which falls broadly into the prog rock/metal spectrum, However, Israeli (and more broadly, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern) folk influences are felt heavily in both the album’s instrumentation and melodies. Beyond that, psychedelic flourishes and extreme metal tinges abound throughout. As such, this is a LP with potential to appeal to a wide range of listeners with differing tastes.

There’s something that feels simply “alive” about Mountain Fever , a sense of enthusiasm which manifests itself both in the ambition of the varied influences which are merged here and in the energetic nature of the music. Subterranean Masquerade have gone big, and while they don’t pull it off in every instance, the results are both over-the-top, and very, very fun. As such, and given the genre flexibility of the release, this is an album which can be whole-heartedly recommended to a wide variety of music fans.



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user ratings (28)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
May 17th 2021


2414 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No mention of any of the band's previous endeavors in this review, as I haven't heard them (yet). Just wanted to write up something for this one now as I'm very much enjoying this and it seems likely to fall under the radar.

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 18th 2021


38102 Comments


Not my usual wheelhouse but you've piqued my interest.

Digging: Bruno Pernadas - Private Reasons

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
May 18th 2021


2414 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers Sowing, curious what you think of it!

Hawks
May 18th 2021


74778 Comments


Need to hear this asap.

Digging: ...and Oceans - Cosmic World Mother

quetzal
May 18th 2021


368 Comments


Interested in listening to this, but the last few haven't impressed me nearly as much as the debut. Paul Kuhr is such a great metal vocalist, shame he was only on the first album.

If you haven't heard their first album and first EP, I'd listen to that ASAP. Six Strings to Cover Fear is an absolutely incredible song.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2021


24533 Comments


Nice read as always Sunny. Heard a track off this and sounded like fun, will give it a check.

Digging: Kultivator - Barndomens Stigar

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2021


24533 Comments


Also that track quetzal rec'd.

Mythodea
May 18th 2021


6289 Comments


iterestingly enough, the bandcamp page recommends under this album Need's latest. If this is truly indicative, this might be a great listen.

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
May 18th 2021


2414 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys!



@quetzal, I'll definitely be sure to check their early stuff.



@Mythodea, I haven't heard Need's latest, but of the Need material I have heard before, I wouldn't put this album as directly associated, but certainly if you enjoy Need I think there's a good chance you'd like this.





quetzal
May 19th 2021


368 Comments


they actually didn't have an album for like 10 years after the first one, i thought it was one of those one and done types of deals like Frantic Bleep and Age of Silence until they returned and regularly started releasing music.

JasonCarne
May 20th 2021


1171 Comments


Didn't realize these guys ever did anything after their debut (which was pretty rad), gotta check this.

WatchItExplode
May 20th 2021


8907 Comments


This was on my list last week but forgot to check it. I'll fix that now thanks sunny.

Digging: Islands - Islomania

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
May 20th 2021


2414 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@JasonCarne, the band lineup on this album is different from the debut's, but definitely worth checking nonetheless!



@WatchItExplode, let me know what you think!

Mythodea
May 20th 2021


6289 Comments


Just passed by to say that Costin Chioreanu's art is more and more identified with metal music, and will soon be as recognisable as Travis Smith and Ed Repka.

Also, vocals on Stillnox Oratory and Ascend are so Bowie-esque they had me on the first half, not gonna lie

StickFeit
May 21st 2021


1646 Comments


Front cover looks fucking great

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
May 21st 2021


2414 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I do love the artwork, colorful stuff!

WatchItExplode
May 21st 2021


8907 Comments


Yep this is proggy alright. The metal flourishes got me through, but this isn't something I'm likely to return to.



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