Phantom Mask - The Return review


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Band: Phantom Mask
Album: The Return
Release date: November 2006

01. Back To The Universe
02. The Ghost Ship
03. Deathriders
04. The Phantom Mask
05. Eraser
06. From The Past
07. We're Weatherstained
08. Arabian Night

Power Metal
Spain, 2006

This demo couldn't have a better to title to me, since I reviewed Phantom Mask's self-titled demo earlier in March 2006. After blaming the production and the lack of originality, I ended the said review by writing "I think those guys do have the required skills to make something better in the future."
Time to see if my crystal ball was right!

I shall not make you wait any longer, the answer is yes. For many reasons. Firstly because the production of this record is very good, and then because the overall quality of the songs has improved. The songwriting and the performances of the musicians have reached a higher step, and so has the originality of the music. To sum up, I'd say the first four tracks are mostly power metal, the next three a bit more heavy/thrash. At first, just like with the older demo, I was disturbed by the guitarist/singer's vocals. I just think his voice does not fit the traditional power metal type of vocals. On the other hand, it's not bad when it comes to a more thrash metal diction, though it is a bit repetitive.
While the symphonic aspect of their music is kind of gone, they added that last, slower song called Arabian Night, with Virginia Carzola taking on the lead vocals duty. As she's also credited for dancing, I guess this will become a special moment in concert, even though vocal-wise, her performance isn't flawless. The song obviously contains Oriental melodies, which are a good addition in order to make the album sound more diverse.
And when you think you've reached the end of the CD comes another surprise, a short hidden track including violin. Phantom Mask gone folk, a pleasant experiment.

It's great to witness the improvements of a band. Their efforts have paid off and they can be proud of their work on The Return - that I would have had no problem to refer to as an album and not just a demo. May the next step include an overall improvement of the vocal parts, still not perfect and quite stereotyped. If so, Phantom Mask would be able to pretend to a better place in the Spanish metal scene.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7

Written by wrathchild | 13.12.2006


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