Before all else, compliments to Jason Juta for the amazing art work on the cover of Requiem’s “Mask Of Damnation”, this is one of the nicest slipcases/covers I have seen in a long time. (His artwork for their previous release “The Arrival” is just as impressive).
On to the music on “Mask Of Damnation”. If you were to read some other reviews of this disc I read, it would seem that this CD was terrible. Quite the contrary, Requiem has delivered a very glossy, operatic speed metal release. Being a fan of Rhapsody on some scale will probably help those digest this release a bit better. I just can’t see where all these Dream Theater comparatives are coming from except maybe the keyboard intro to “Mask Of Damnation”.
The theatrical nature of Jouni Nikula’s vocals helps Requiem stand out (good or bad) from other bands in the same genre. “The Dying Ember” features these emotional vocal phrasings front and center. If you enjoy Dark Moor’s new lead singer Alfred Romero, you will probably like Nikula’s style as well.
“Ethereal Journey” features some spacey (like Arjen’s Star One) keyboards and guitar duels that really make this track stand out over the rest of the compositions. “Shrine Of The Ocean” has several time changes between melodic speed metal and balladesque. “The Rival’s Spell” close out the disc and also has very much a theatrical feel to it mixed with the higher speed, frantic pacing.
Requiem’s “Mask Of Damnation” certainly is not for everyone but for those who enjoy some drama mixed in with their guitar crunch, it is worth a listen.
02. The Dying Ember
03. Mask of Damnation
04. Divine Illusion
05. Ethereal Journey
06. Shrine of the ocean
08. The Rival’s Spell