Eyesberg - Masquerade

(2016, 51:01, Progressive Promotion PPRCD043)

The tracks:
  1- Joke On You(5:17)
  2- Come And Take A Look At My Life(6:32)
  3- Faceless(5:12)
  4- Here And Now(4:38)
  5- Storm Flood(6:05)
  6- Steal Your Thunder(5:21)
  7- Wait And See(18:01)
         - I. Overture
         - II. The Beginning Of The End
         - III. Talking To Father Time
         - IV. I Told You So
         - V. The Last Demise

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Eyesberg is an Anglo-German music project based in Frankfurt, which released its debut album Blue (see review) two years ago. For the follow-up, Masquerade, the core musicians - Georg Alfter on guitars and bass, Norbert Podien on keyboards and Malcolm Shuttleworth on vocals - are joined by Jimmy Keegan (ex-Spock's Beard ) on drums with Oliver Wenzler guesting on cowbell.

Their oeuvre is the more melodic, symphonic end of the prog spectrum and while Masquerade does offer some Genesis-influenced idioms, it neither packs a requisite punch nor fully engages the senses. They cram a lot into the execution and delivery of opener Joke On You, which establishes the pattern of synth/ ringing guitar sequencing that appears throughout the album. The Genesis vibe is most keenly felt on Come And Take A Look At My Life, that incorporates a downbeat, doom-laden air though there are a few interesting melodic twists and turns along the way.
However, Faceless plods along without any real oomph or excitement and even its guitar break sounds muted. And did Shuttleworth really sing “Look what I had for breakfast” along the way? Then it all ends with a misplaced crash.
There's a flute-like introduction to Here And Now and a nice little keyboard/ guitar sequence, but once again, it lacks any real drama or emotion. This is due in part to Shuttleworth's voice that only seems to operate on one level.
Instrumental Storm Flood canters along and has some pleasant staccato touches at the start and solid interplay between keyboards and guitar but during the last minute, it suddenly disappears into practically nothing.
Steal Your Thunder is slower paced, almost ballad-like in its approach and delivery, but again, it lacks any real bite or ambition.
Saving the longest until last, the 18 minute Wait And See incorporates some chunky bass and keyboard. Jimmy Keegan's solid drums help to push it along so that in parts, it sounds more vibrant and convincing. However, Shuttleworth's voice sounds flat in places and it meanders along without gaining any momentum en route before tapering off into another slightly disappointing ending.

** Alison Reijman

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