Independent Release

Review by Vard Aman

Wizardmask is a recently formed band from Novosibirsk in South Western Siberia, made up of some very accomplished and professional musicians indeed.“Carnival of Illusions” is their debut album, and it is available from their website for free download (though they would be grateful if you gave them something for it; they have certainly earned it). Wizardmask play Dramatic Metal, which is Metal which includes a lot of dramatic elements (I mentioned it when I reviewed Blackthorn) and is not something that is very easy to describe. In the case of Wizardmask the closest I can come to describing what they play is very technical Progressive Symphonic Metal. The songwriting is very detailed and very intricate and very well executed by Wizardmask. Fronting the big symphonic orchestration, the heavy guitars and the technical brilliance of the band is vocalist, Svetlana Sokolova. She has immaculate vocal control and is extremely versatile and expressive – all necessities for Dramatic Metal of this kind, and she suits the role perfectly! “Carnival of Illusions” consists of 9 tracks but because of the technical nature of the music it takes a few listens to get into – there is too much to take in listening to the entire album in one go for the first time.

The result is that after the first listen, I found myself greatly impressed by what I’d heard, but remembered nothing specific at all. Several listens later, I am still greatly impressed by all the technical intricacies of the music (even more so after several listens), but now I have several of the songs firmly stuck in my head. At first listen everything seems to merge because of the way the album and the concept flows, but after several listens the songs begin to stand out well from each other. It’s a bit like looking at a car engine for the first time… OK, let’s rather use a somewhat more appropriate theme: it’s a bit like visiting a Trade Fair in the Forgotten Realms for the first time – you only remember a few things, like where the ale tent is, but after wandering around for some time you soon get to know where everything else is: the stores selling clothes, books, weapons, spells, potions, etc; and the secret entrance to the mage’s dark tower. That is what the music of Wizardmask is like: the more you listen to it, the more you will discover, the better you will get to know it, and the more you will like it and the more you will want to listen to it again. Several songs from “Carnival of Illusions” stand out for me as highlights, although all of the songs are good. They are “Gromoverzhets”; “Sumrachniy Mir”; “Koroleva L’da”; “Karnaval” and “Bashnya”. “Gromoverzhets” is a fast, heavy and powerful track interlaced with beautiful vocal melodies; while “Koroleva L’da” and “Karnaval” are slower, also with amazing vocal melodies. “Bashnya” has everything. The production is top quality – everything has ample space in the mix and all the instruments are crystal clear. “Carnival of Illusions” is the cumulative result of a great effort by a very talented and professional group of people who know what they want to do and know how to do it. That said I can understand how “Carnival of Illusions” might not appeal to everyone, especially after only one listen – this is not a band that uses the “less is more” philosophy. But for fans of the “more is more” philosophy, you need look no further than this – everything you could possible want can be found right here, at the Carnival of Illusions!

Rating – 90/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Вертиго [Vertigo]
  2. Громовержец [Gromoverzhets – The Thunderer]
  3. Морская [Morskaya – Marine]
  4. Сумрачный Мир [Sumrachniy Mir – Twilight World]
  5. Королева Льда [Koroleva L’da – Ice Queen]
  6. Богиня [Boginya – Goddess]
  7. Маска [Maska – Mask]
  8. Карнавал [Karnaval – Carnival]
  9. Башня [Bashnya – The Tower]

 

Line Up

  • Svetlana Sokolova – Vocals
  • Sergey Amelchenko – Guitars
  • Ilya Dubrovskiy – Bass
  • Valeriy Fomin – Drums

 

Links

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