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Subterranean Masquerade - Suspended Animation Dreams reviews

Discussion in 'Subterranean Masquerade' started by circus_brimstone, Jul 2, 2005.

  1. circus_brimstone

    circus_brimstone Forest: Sold Out

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    Subterranean Masquerade – Suspended Animation Dreams
    The End Records – TE055 – June 21st, 2005
    By Jason Jordan

    The End Records, I believe, is pushing the boundaries of the term “progressive,” and the evidence rests with acts such as Arcturus, Frantic Bleep, Virgin Black, and Age of Silence. The latest band to blend uncountable styles into one cohesive whole is Subterranean Masquerade. With Suspended Animation Dreams, the guys have proven that they can’t – and won’t – be pigeonholed by the rest of the metal community. Essentially, the aforementioned is a conglomeration of different instruments, vocal styles, and original ideas, which successfully capitalize on a variety of themes. I don’t want to pull the wool over your eyes, though. Suspended Animation Dreams – while great – isn’t as provocative or substantive as most of The End Records’s catalog.

    If there’s one song you’ve interacted with, off this release, it’s undoubtedly “No Place Like Home,” which finds its place at the third spot. The opener – “Suspended Animation Dreams” – is a two-minute introduction to the façade that Subterranean Masquerade attempted to sculpt with Temporary Psychotic State EP and are trying to further on their first full-length record. Paul Kuhr (Novembers Doom) helms the vox this time around, and his growls add a much-needed punch to the group’s sound. After all, this whimsical outfit prefers to keep aggression mostly subdued. And, like I said earlier, there are numerous instruments cascading throughout the songs; the strings, however, are a particularly nice touch. Needless to say, there are more contributors on this disc than children molested at the hands of Michael Jackson. “Kind of a Blur,” to shift gears, is simply beautiful, while tracks such as “The Rock N’ Roll Preacher” and “Six Strings to Cover Fear” still retain their edge. Regarding the latter, the beginning is immensely grandiose, reminded me of a reprise more than anything, and is a much-needed kick in the ass as far as heaviness is concerned. The violin dancing in the background at the 2:00 minute mark receives a thumbs-up from me. The fourteen-minute “Awake” runs into the album’s closer in “X.” The last opus is not only fitting, but it boasts greatly rendered, female vocalizations.

    As if you couldn’t tell, Subterranean Masquerade have far surpassed their initial output and managed to carve out a place for themselves on the metal map. I’m chagrined to admit that I won’t be listening to this as much as most of the other albums thrust out by The End Records. Nevertheless, Suspended Animation Dreams is vibrant and should quell any unrest about the group’s abilities. Believe me, though, this release is better than most of what’s saturating the mainstream airwaves and shopping carts at Target.

    8/10
     
  2. circus_brimstone

    circus_brimstone Forest: Sold Out

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    Subterranean Masquerade - Suspended Animation Dreams
    Release: 2005
    Label: The End Records
    By: Johell
    Posted: Jul 2, 2005

    Subterranean Masquerade is back after 2004's "Temporary Psychotic State" debut EP.

    The new Album, "Suspended Animation Dreams" featuring Paul Kuhr (vocals), Tomer Pink (guitar, dulcimer, harmonica), Jake Depottle (guitar, bass guitar), Willis Claw (guitar), Ben Warren (keyboards), Steve Lyman (drums), Andrew Kuhnhausen (flute, clarinet, saxophone), Mitch Curinga (Electronics and sound manipulation), Dave Chisholm (trumpet), Joe Chisholm (trombone), but also Kobi Farhi from Orphaned Land and many other guests turns out to be one hell of an ambitious record.

    On this record there are no boundaries, no rules at all, all labels are blown away. I would say progressive metal mixed with progressive jazz and arty avant-garde music could fit this album the best. Many metal moments have a scent of Opeth, but when they decide to take another musical path, which happens a lot during this album, it turns out to be something really, really unique and special. Very well done, that's for sure.

    The album opens with 'Suspended Animation Dreams', a clean guitar starts the show and then suddenly comes a trumpet and a nice clean vocal, a choir and some flute and percussions for a strange but nice short opening track. Followed by 'Wolf Among Sheep (Or Maybe The Other Way Around?)', this one starts with a beautiful guitar melody and some spoken words and then comes a fluid electric guitar, the voice switches to a growl and the music gets more animated and then slows down again.

    I shouldn't describe this record song by song because it is filled to the bone with musical changes and when one part is over you wonder what will come next and so on during the entire album. This would lead to me writing a whole book, but as I already have started it, let me try to finish it.

    'No Place Like Home' is a very nice kind of a progressive rock meets pop-metal tune with guest Kobi Farhi and Yishai Sweartz on vocals at the end of the track, which directly gives an Orphaned Land/Oriental feeling to it. Beautiful song. On the instrumental "Kind Of A Blur" it begins with a piano, followed by violins, and trombones most likely. Again we have this strange choir, it sounds good even though, there is something strange about the atmosphere delivered during that one. 'The Rock n' Roll Preacher' is in my opinion ruined by too much saxophone and trumpet, which makes it kinda hard to listen.

    The second really good track on this album is 'Six Strings To Cover Fear' which combines black/death growls to at times menacing but also sober and calm strings, it creates a nice contrast.

    'Awake' is a killer track, it's mysterious and very atmospheric, female vocalist Wendy Jernian has a really nice voice. The growls of Paul are damn well executed, the guitars and drumming are powerful and the piano and strings are awesome. The album closes beautifully with 'X'.

    Subterranean Masquerade delivers so much more on the new album than on the promising "Temporary Psychotic State" it is in a way scary to see how good the whole band has become. Where will they take us next time? I really won't bet on it, but hope for another luminous and dark record with maybe a little less brass incorporated, that will for sure make it more digestible.

    The artwork surrounding the album is splendid, Travis Smith has done again something brilliant and the band portraits done by sarah Pendleton are impressive as well.

    Rating: 7/10
     
  3. circus_brimstone

    circus_brimstone Forest: Sold Out

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    Subterranean Masquerade
    Suspended Animation Dreams
    Released on 6/21/2005 - The End

    Production 5.0
    Songwriting 3.5
    Musicianship 5.0

    Here's an album of well played, pristinely produced music that I can't entirely get into. Featuring members of November's Doom and Epoch of Unlight, Subterranean Masquerade are a progressive metal group in that they sound like a lot of other established progressive metal groups. What, I'm saying is they aren't really progressive at all, and sound like a not so great combination of Opeth, Agalloch, and Pink Floyd. And, while the group bounds for originality through the use of some unconventional instrumentation, choral backing vocals, and the trademark gutturals of Paul Kuhr, all these additions chip at the foundation of Suspended Animation Dreams' already shaky song structures.

    I should preface my criticism for Subterranean Masquerade by pointing out that I am very critical of inconsistency. That goes for pretty much everything. I don't appreciate chefs who try to mask sub par recipes with a host of unsavory spices, and I certainly don't go for metal bands trying to turn boring songs into something epic by throwing in saxophone and harmonica solos. To my ears, that's exactly what this band is doing. To their credit, they can play their shit. The saxophone part that opens "Wolf Among Sheep" is executed with the ease of a world class studio musician with a pony-tail. Unfortunately, the resulting atmosphere is pure elevator. "Rock and Roll Preacher" is a nine minute marathon which features Kuhr's heaviest use of his November's Doom vocal styling. Unfortunately, the music isn't nearly dark enough to suit Kuhr's vocals, and make me wonder if the band even understands the purpose of the death metal growl. And that's basically the entire problem with this entire album, Subterranean Masquerade sound like they are doing things because they can, not because they should.

    But when Subterranean Masquerade aren't stuffing their roasted turkey with M&M's, there are hints of a very classy band. "Six Strings to Cover Fear" is deft combination of Agalloch's mesmerizing chordal strumming and Porcupine Tree's orchestrated lead work. It's a shame the band isn't able to rely on the straightforwardness of a song like this more often, as it might make for a solid album. "X" closes the album, and is probably the best thing the band has to offer. It's miles away from metal, but the interplay between the casual drum work and silky smooth vocals of a young lady who sounds like a dead ringer for Sade is a clinic in subdued songcraft.

    This album is particularly frustrating because Subterranean Masquerade appear capable of a lot more. Over ambition, lack of confidence, short sightedness, whatever, there's too much going on that simply doesn't add anything to the songs. I do look forward to more material from these guys, because they feature members of some of my favorite bands. But, I doubt I'll ever listen to anything but a few tracks off of Suspended Animation Dreams again.
     
  4. He Who Dwellest in the Night

    He Who Dwellest in the Night A Philosophical Revolt

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    Wow, those were three mediocre to poor reviews. I'm fairly surprised they weren't more positive. Hopefully that guy who posted on The End's forum about November's Doom sounding like Opeth doesn't make an appearance. It's definitely my favorite album of 2005 thusfar, which is saying a lot since I'm a huge Ulver fan (plus the new Primordial and Frantic Bleep CDs are awesome). Keep up the good work. I can't wait to hear sitars in the mix.
     
  5. PhlegethonVeins

    PhlegethonVeins Autopsy Obsessed

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    Wow...

    Haha...I was actually getting upset reading those. I tell you, most of the words coming from those guys make me want to shout out loud..."BLASPHEMY!!!"
     
  6. circus_brimstone

    circus_brimstone Forest: Sold Out

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    The first one is mine. I definitely like Suspended Animation Dreams. Go search for SM reviews. Those were just the ones from sites I'm associated with. :p
     
  7. Novembers Paul

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    This is honestly a very difficult CD to digest, and if you're not one of an open mind, and expect this to be "normal," you're not going to like this. It will take you a few listens to absorb this, and I don't think that Tomer did this project for the opinions of the reviewers. He took a chance, and made music he wanted to make, and assembled all of us to join him, and help him reach his vision. I for one was really impressed with his uncanny talent to put all this together, and have it flow as smoothly as it does. It's not for everyone, and certainly not for you're typical metal-head, but there are those few out there, who will fully appreciate what was written and recorded here. This isn't different for the sake of being different. It's different because Tomer is different, and quite unique.

    NOW GO BUY IT. haha
     
  8. Submasq

    Submasq Room 63

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    i didn't want to make a review posting but since i see its already started :)


    Subterranean Masquerade: Suspended Animation Dreams
    http://www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=2462


    The first few times I heard Subterranean Masquerade’s Suspended Animation Dreams, I made the mistake of hearing them in my car before perusing the disturbing Travis Smith designed booklet or indeed acquainting myself with the lyrics. If you think the inner gatefold artwork for Pink Floyd’s The Wall is freaky, wait until you leaf through the booklet for Suspended Animation Dreams, which looks like a serial killer’s attempt to channel the surrealisms of a Gerald Scarfe cartoon.

    Describing the artwork is relatively easy. Discussing the music is a different matter entirely, so I’ll just throw a few names out there that randomly go through my head while spinning Suspended Animation Dreams: Opeth, Pink Floyd, Dead Can Dance, Chicago, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Traffic, The Dave Matthews Band, Genesis and The Electric Light Orchestra. If you think that’s a pretty eclectic mix, wait until you hear the CD!

    And while we’re at it, let’s list a few (but not all) genres that you will be exposed to in less than one hour spent with this CD: progressive rock, death metal, alternative rock, urban jazz, world music, folk rock, pop and gothic rock. I can’t think of another band that leapfrogs through musical genres so effortlessly, often within the span of one song! The fact that the band does so without making it seem gimmicky is all the more amazing to me.

    Suspended Animation Dreams is a concept album that dwells in alienation and depression, unrequited love and death, pretty much in that order. Cheerful stuff this is not! I do not have the specifics of the theme worked out, but apparently the album is the second part of a trilogy. The mastermind behind Subterranean Masquerade’s unlikely stew is one Tomer Pink and if the guy isn’t some sort of musical genius, I guess I don’t know what one is. Special guest Paul Khur from November’s Doom handles most of the vocals and he does everything from whispering to death metal growling to all points in between. Instrumentation such as harmonica, violin, choirs, brass and string sections, guest female vocalists, and Middle Eastern chants specially recorded in Israel complete the lineup, so don’t for one second believe that Subterranean Masquerade can be labeled a death metal band.

    At this point in my reviews, I typically list my favorite tracks and try to explain why I like or dislike them. I’m not going to bother here because frankly each and every song is of top quality and best appreciated in the context of the album as it unfolds. Don’t be surprised if it takes many spins to become accustomed to the album because of the multidimensional song within a song approach taken by Tomer Pink.

    There’s not much else to disclose as words cannot do justice to the uniqueness and remarkable creativity inherent in Mr. Pink’s project. Like Pink Floyd’s The Wall and like Lou Reed’s Berlin, Subterranean Masquerade’s Suspended Animation Dreams is depressing in its subject matter but ultimately uplifting and deeply moving in its humanity. A modern classic

    5/5
     
  9. Submasq

    Submasq Room 63

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    http://www.noisetheory.org/reviews_view.php?id=640&PHPSESSID=cf97f3b2c3526e6c1cda82de27ea33ef

    When you start listening to an album from a predominantly ‘extreme metal’ label and the first thing you hear is a saxophone, chances are it’s not going to be a typical release.

    While the basis to the music of Subterranean Masquerade is metal, this band is so much more than just that. The bands debut album, “Suspended Animation Dreams”, is a intricate patchwork of masterfully crafted music with almost no stylistic boundaries. Think of doom metal mixed with progressive rock, folk music, laid back jazz and classical strings; even fans of Kenny G have something to like in this album.

    However gently the profoundly well written music shifts from sound to sound, you will most likely still be slightly surprised or even taken back at what the band put forth. One minute it’s all about pan pipes and grand classical orchestration and then the next astonishes you with double kick, death metal vocals (courtesy of Novembers Doom vocalist Paul Khur) and technical metal riffage. A short breath later and now you’re listening to classical guitar and gently sung verse. The way in which this album flows with not one part sounds out of place is simply amazing.

    I don’t even feel that the term ‘epic’ does this album adequate justice. There is a certain majesty about this CD that can’t be captured by words. The only thing that I feel could have been done much better is the lyrical content, which often slips into silliness. The music of “Suspended Animation Dreams” is 50+ minutes of pure quality in almost every aspect. This album makes even the most progressive metal bands seem simply straight and plain.

    4.5/5
     
  10. Submasq

    Submasq Room 63

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    The End Records is definitely a label with a taste for the unusual and avant-garde when it comes to metal. Sporting a roster of diverse acts such as Agalloch, Novembers Doom and others, Subterranean Masquerade fits in with the label very nicely. Progressive, light jazz oriented metal is the style here and it must be approached with a very open mind. To give you some feel for “Suspended Animation Dreams”, think of Opeth’s lightest moments (“Damnation”) with liberal doses of violin, piano, an entire section of brass and woodwind instruments, and who knows how many other instruments. More than of hint of Pink Floyd is present. In fact, I would characterize most of the album as non-metal. However, there
    are a few moments of distorted guitar riffs with a few deep growls that manage to blend seamlessly with the music.
    All of this being said, will this appeal to metal heads? Yes, if you can appreciate other styles. The songwriting, musicianship, and production (courtesy of Neil Kernon), are superb. The album’s layout, artwork, and concept are dark in tone, and reflect a great deal of thought and emotion. Conceptually, the album is about how dark emotions and conflict can become intertwined with love and obsession. This is excellent work on all levels.
    Subterranean Masquerade is particularly good at crafting songs that mix styles. Songs will change direction easily and the music keeps you interested as you wonder what will come next. For example, “The Rock N Roll Preacher” begins with a guitar riff with some melodic clean vocals. Then, the focus becomes acoustical guitar work with a background chorus and even some growled vocals. Midway through the song, once again there’s a change as excellent piano work and acoustical guitar accompany melancholy spoken word vocals. I was reminded of early Pink Floyd albums such as “Obscured By Clouds” by this passage. The end of the song has a great deal of horns that accompany piano and drums. This mixing of styles is typical of the entire album.
    The most metal moments on the album are from “Six Strings To Cover Fear” and would not be out of place on a Doom record. Good riffs, growled vocals, and some up-tempo double bass become mixed with violins, and acoustical guitars.
    There is a great deal to like on this album. If you enjoy some styles other than metal, appreciate quality work, and are a fan of Pink Floyd, you will definitely enjoy Subterranean Masquerade.

    http://www.live4metal.com/reviews-299.htm
     
  11. Submasq

    Submasq Room 63

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    Paul, you are my hero! thanks brother
     
  12. Submasq

    Submasq Room 63

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    if you check www.google.com you'll find a all bunch of reviews and interviews for the album, some are really flattering, some are only so so, i like how people find different things in the album and since i wasn't expecting to make a record that everybody gonna like anyway, i couldnt be happier with the responce.

    thanks to all the reviewers and you guys for the support, that's really great. :headbang:
    tomer
     
  13. circus_brimstone

    circus_brimstone Forest: Sold Out

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    Sorry. :erk: Couldn't help myself!
     
  14. Submasq

    Submasq Room 63

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    :tickled:
     
  15. Seems like Trav

    Seems like Trav No Such Thing

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    Tomer: "i wasn't expecting to make a record that everybody gonna like anyway,"

    It's impossible to do so...you made a masterpiece.
     
  16. circus_brimstone

    circus_brimstone Forest: Sold Out

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    I made a mental note to mention your artwork in the review I wrote for UM, but I forgot anyway. :erk: I've extolled your pieces on many occasions, though, so I guess it's all right. :loco:
     
  17. the_dying

    the_dying Member

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