In October 2013 the German Heavy Metal formation MASTERS OF DISGUISE put out a 3-track EP, “Knutson’s Return” (see my review here), as a pre-taste of the upcoming full-length “Back With A Vengeance”, which saw the light of day in November. The band’s name is taken from SAVAGE GRACE’s debut album. As this band doesn’t have a full-line up anymore, and its live members wanted to fill the gap that SAVAGE GRACE left behind, MASTERS OF DISGUISE was formed.
Two of the three EP tracks made it onto the album, “Into The Fire” didn’t. “Back With A Vengeance” is an instrumental track, creating tension and then taking off! On offer: catchy, typical 80s’ Heavy Metal. Quality assured. “Never Surrender” – no, not a SAXON cover – starts with the bass, a very nice lick, too! After that it’s full speed ahead with fast drumming, sharp riffs and soaring vocals. Add wild, flashy solos and you’ve got another tasty Metal song. Sharp riffing and tension are what kickstart “The Omen”, leading into a firm, midtempo, Bluesy Metal song. The lower vocals in the verses contrast with the high-pitched screams in the chorus. Solos, harmonies, … this song has it all. You could somehow compare it to IRON MAIDEN.
And then comes the first track from the EP: “For Now And All Time (Knutson’s Return)”. The song takes a direct start, offering fast and furious Heavy Metal. Epic vocals with high-pitched screams round it off. This sounds very old school, but a tad faster, I’ve got the impression. The chorus, compared to the verses, sounds rather hymnic. Solos are set halfway the song, after which ist’s back to business. “Scepters Of Deceit” commences with rough and powerful guitar work. This is another uptempo song, by the way, with full power in the chorus. Sort of like NWOBHM meets (old) NOSTRADAMEUS (the Swedish Power Metal band). The typical wah-wah solos fill the gap where needed. Afterwards it’s time to let the vocals hit the high notes. And all ends like it began.
“Alliance”, the second song from the EP, is due then. It spawns in a war zone, after which the main guitar riff is played. This is a midtempo song, not as fast as the previous one. Melody comes mainly from Alexx’s singing, although there’s guidance from the guitars. Musically it’s quite similar to IRON MAIDEN, even if the guys have their focus on US Heavy Metal. The chorus is also where the music becomes more melodic, and the leadwork stands out. Solo time is, on the other hand, shorter than expected. Not that this is bad, not at all, but in this genre it would not have hurt to extend it a bit.
You want power? “Sons Of The Doomed” will give you power, alright. Check those guitars! Fast 80s’ Heavy Metal! Woohoo! Soaring vocals, straight-forward verses, a pounding bridge and then into a Bluesy (yet firm and quite uptempo), anthemic chorus. The flashy solos round it all off. An acoustic interlude allows for a moment of rest before pushing the pedal to the Metal again. Excellent stuff! “Liar” comes fading in, unleashed its bombastic Heavy Metal a bit later. This does sound rather grand, almost ICED EARTH-like. Hats off for the effort!
Another step on the music’s tail is “Into The Unknown”: it’s fast, melodic, and harmonic. But somehow it’s not flowing fully, like the band left out some beats. Especially the bridge is proof of this. Other than that, you get some fast pounding and grand, bombastic music. Last but not least, “The Templars’ Gold”. This one starts off with an acoustic intro, flowing into Bluesy Heavy Metal. There’s a kick in the butt later on, and that’s a welcome change. Bridge and chorus are also not of the slowest kind. However, overall, the music does slow down towards the end, creating a hymnic character.
In short: The EP was killer. And so is “Back With A Vengeance”. Absolutely top quality Heavy Metal / NWOBHM. Heavily recommended!
- Back With A Vengeance
- Never Surrender
- The Omen
- For Now And All Time (Knutson’s Return)
- Scepters Of Deceit
- Sons Of The Doomed
- Into The Unknown
- The Templars’ Gold
Alexx Stahl – vocals
Kalli Coldsmith – guitar
Roger Dequis – guitar
Mario Lang – bass
Neudi – drums