Thursday 19 March 2015

Review: Braindance – 'Master Of Disguise'

'Master Of Disguise'

After nearly a decade in Development, Braindance's third full-length album in their 20+ year career finally emerges. Mixing gothic, metal, industrial and a strong middle eastern slant, the concept album – complete with an accompanying sixteen-page comic book – crams everything the band possibly can into it. It's an ambitious undertaking and shows the band are reaching for new heights.

After a short atmospheric intro the band kick off with the album's lead single 'Lost', a sprawling monster of a track that sets the scene well, but feels a bit cumbersome in its execution. 'Eye Of The Storm' fairs a lot better though with a more straight-forward and focussed approach. Tracks such as 'Hunter And Hunted', 'More Than A Moment', 'The Silence', and the 'Valley Of The Kings Trilogy' follow suit providing the album with highlight moments and a strong backbone of hard riffs and decadent electronics.

The shorter tracks 'Dysphoria' and 'Dystopia' that break up the album with a heavy use of vocal samples are an interesting idea, but the execution doesn't quite live up to it. On the other had though is the sumptuous dark and ambient closer 'Entombed' which more than makes up for these two stop-gap tracks.

It's undeniable that a lot of effort has gone into this album. The song writing is strong and the concept is surprisingly easy to follow throughout. But the production does tend to let it down. In way too many of the songs they sound too cluttered, especially with the unnecessary vocal samples liberally sprinkled throughout. One or two set the scene but the others tend to detract from some otherwise great performances. Couple this with an uneven mix and the album comes off as a little bit dated. The end result is like taking a great, atmospheric black and white photo and putting it in the wrong frame.

However, underneath that there is a really good album full of great riffs, strong vocals, entrancing electronics and memorable lyrics that is sure to play well on the live circuit. It just seems like a less is more policy may have helped streamline the sound and help the album keep its focus. Hopefully though we won't have to wait nearly ten years again for the next instalment from Braindance.

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