Subterranean Masquerade - _Suspended Animation Dreams_
(The End Records, 2005)
by: Aaron McKay (8 out of 10)
Closed-minded Soulfly, Dying Fetus and Acheron fans should stop reading this right here and now; the rest of us have a little exploring to do.

No sense wasting their time, right? Welcome to the rest of you to Subterranean Masquerade's altered state of affairs they have given the name _Suspended Animation Dreams_. Setting the stage a bit, imagine if you will some of Cynic's edgier material added to an Opeth base in an Agalloch cauldron fuelled by an Anathema fire. That little sketch will, at least, supply a fairly decent frame of reference to survey this eight-track mystery Subterranean Masquerade delivers on this, their second EP and follow up to _Temporary Psychotic State_.

Calling this arrangement of musicians simply progressive or avant-garde is selling them far shorter of their ability than any critic has right to characterize. With each listen, _Suspended Animation Dreams_ takes the listener in a different, yet equally intriguing direction. Easy jazzy openings give way, at times, to a folk influenced direction. Lightly utilized female vocals sprinkle the temperament delivered on the album. Other times a spoken delivery takes center stage. The gruff aspect of Subterranean Masquerade is courtesy of Paul Kuhr of Novembers Doom and guest participant Kobi Farhi of Orphaned Land, who formulate the lyrics with exceedingly fluid and chameleon-like distinctiveness.

After five songs of well-played and produced polymorphic material, _SAD_ comes to the nearly seven minute escapade "Six Strings to Cover Fear". Paul Kuhr's vocal delivery is impeccable amidst some of the more forceful material on the effort. Despite Paul's participation in Subterranean Masquerade, never could one claim but a passing comparison to Novembers Doom -- these guys are their own animal, and that's without question or debate. More tracks in the vein of "Six Strings to Cover Fear", and _Suspended Animation Dreams_ would threaten a place in my top 10 of 2005.

Without experiencing SM, words fall short of the ambiance created on _Suspended Animation Dreams_. Beautiful guitar work, remarkably unique musicianship and nearly matchless atmosphere mark the foundation of any genre-bending masterpiece. Electronics, piano and flute... this one has to be experienced to be appreciated.

Contact: http://www.submasq.com

(article published 10/3/2005)


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