Electro metal from the UK seems to be on an ascending high right now with continually bands and releases emerging to light up the senses with intensity and quality. The likes of Silent Descent and Ourfamous Dead have blazed a trail through the ear in recent weeks to great effect and now adding their own might and fine creativity is Mask Of Virtue and their debut album In This World. Released May 21st through Rising Records, it is a pulsating and mesmeric slice of melodic post-hardcore metal and electronica, an album leaving scorch marks as it envelopes with impressive sure invention and blistering energy.
Formed in 2009 the Rotherham band has been the epitome of hard work with persistent gigging the length and breadth of the UK and refining their thoughtful and impressively textured sound. Conquering the local scene and further afield was inevitable with this ethic and their great sound but now with the release of the album things look set to explode into greater realms. Recorded last year as the final month began closing its eye, In This World is a vibrant and captivating release that bristles with muscular intensity as equally as it infects with triumphant melodies and caressing electro seductions. It stirs up the pulse rate and emotions through persuasion rather than intimidation but still packs a distinctly formidable punch.
As the opening brief and striking introduction to the album of Antagonistic Nations leads straight into the following The Bridges Will Burn the sense of something special ahead is unleashed, energy and expectations rising dramatically as the song opens up its firm and welcoming arms. The track accosts the ear with a tempered but eager stomp whilst wrapping tightly around it with swarming electronic warmth. The song offers unpredictable twists and turns and quite impressive vocals from Joe Rosser who also provides the electronic invention. His vocals are supported more than ably by those of guitarist Dan, and either with stylish clean or predatory growls the pair provides the band and songs with a pair of impressive voices.
From a strong start the band raise the tempo and heat with the excellent Blood For Free. The song swaggers with an aggressive but controlled attitude, its infectious enveloping sounds rubbing the senses into an excited and agitated state yet perpetually captivated by the keen outstanding vocals and vast melodies. The track drives with a sure intensity thanks to the drums of Ash and growling basslines of Tom, both bringing a spine of might and steel to the songs. With the guitars of Dan and Seb battering with caustic and powerful riffs the song is the best on the album though closely challenged throughout the release.
Through Your Eyes is one to make a claim for top honours, a tightly and imaginatively crafted song to leave one breathless from its unpredictable avenues and strikes. When Mask Of Virtue steer their sounds with a force and intensity they hit the mark accurately and effectively but they are no slouches with the skill and quality of their mellower and melodic persuasion of emotions either. Songs like Drowned In Tears and the outstanding Cure The Pain, a song which from its piano enchanted start whispers and soothes with an atmospheric presence and even when its soul takes on a more energised heart remains a stirring emotive rapture. It is another song that fights for best track showing the general high standard and craft of the album and band in many guises.
To be slightly critical of the album there is a similarity across its length at times which means if the focus drifts a little you can easily find yourself a couple of songs along from where you think you are but as the sounds and songwriting is strong and very satisfying it is not a major problem, just an invitation to hit replay. From a personal preference maybe more of the more aggressive intensity would give the band an even more distinct tone though they stand apart from most rivals easily and when songs like the wonderful It’s Here To Stay with its staggering melodic grace and yes another contender for that top spot, are so good it is impossible to be dissatisfied at any point.
In This World is an album which not only holds its head up high with great power and invention but pitches Mask Of Virtue into being a band that is on the verge of great things. Even though the album does not quite ignite the biggest fires within consistently it always sparks up compulsive enthusiasm and eager anticipation for much more from the quintet.