It has been around eleven years since Swiss melodic metallers Kirk impressed and brought a fresh creative punch through their acclaimed debut album The Final Dance, time which saw the band take an extended break due to internal changes and other projects. This week sees the band return with sophomore album Masquerade to not only make up for lost time but to bring another thrilling and invigorating adventure of their blend of melodic and heavy metal. The eleven track stomp is a captivating encounter destined to similar, even greater, acclaim and attention as its 2003 predecessor.
Formed by vocalist Thomi Rauch and guitarist Sammy Lasagni in the latter part of the nineties, Kirk with bassist Daniel Pfister, drummer Vito Cecere, and Bruno Berger on keys alongside the founding pair, was soon building a formidable reputation for their sound and live performances. The Final Dance was excitedly received around Europe, North America, and particularly in Japan, whilst shows with the likes of Doro, Pink Cream 69, Axxis, and Shakra only enhanced their growing stature. With the departure of Cecere due to health issues and various members becoming heavily involved with other projects such as Decent Disaster, Godiva, Dr. Crankenstein, and In your Face, the band went on a hiatus. 2010 though saw the year the band reassembled with Philipp Eichenberger taking the vacant sticks position and soon songs began to flow once more within Kirk. Entering the studio with producer Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Unisonic, Khymera), who also produced the band’s debut, the quintet set to work on their second full length, a release which grips with a craft and contagious adventure which can seduce any kind of metal wants.
The Mausoleum Records released album sidles up to ears with the whispering first touch of Devil’s Claw, a glancing coaxing which is soon thrust aside by persistent rhythms, hungry riffs and rising melodic atmospheres bred by the keys. The strong start is soon accentuated by the rich tones of Rauch, the singer continuing to impress with more potency as the album progresses. The repetitive eager prowl of the song is the strongest bait of all, which the vocals and guitars swing from with confidence and enterprise. It is not the most dramatic start to a release, or a song which lingers that long after its departure but certainly it makes for an infection clad welcoming which is vivaciously matched by the next up Supersonic Speed. The second song bounds in on a rhythmic stomp which continues to invite as guitars and keys expel their weave of sonic and melodic temptation, whilst emerging grooves to its second half alongside a flaming solo coax the track to another contagious level.
The title track follows and instantly has the imagination and appetite on greater alert, the almost wanton air of the opening hooks and riffs an insatiable lure eventually tempered by an equally absorbing melodic walk of vocals and emotion. The song continues the evolving rise and success of the album, so far each track outdoing its predecessor, a progress which takes no deviation in course with the arrival of the excellent Eternity. It cups the senses with a ballad like embrace initially, Rauch and the keys of Berger providing an evocative narrative to immerse within, though simultaneously there is a brewing intensity and drama stalking the song aligned to an increasingly anthemic rhythmic march. The prospective dark shadows never come to real fruition but the song certainly deepens its hues and passion with striking textures and darker melodic colours and once into its stride, it creates an appealing mix which you could describe as Dream Theater meets The Mission.
Fight Or Die Music is a towering prospect from its first breath and soon confirms its might with carnivorous riffs and potent vocals which carry their own personal snarl in league with ravenous beats and a commanding sonic seduction. It is the unashamedly anthemic charge of the chorus which seals the deal, it along with the previous song raising a new pinnacle for the release.
The album fluctuates a little from here on in but even where songs fail to secure the same depth of reaction they have plenty to induce full satisfaction, as with Nothing Else But Lies and Tragedy, the first a contagion of unsurprisingly but virulently persuasive melodies and group vocal coaxing and the second a flight of smoothly embracing vocals and keys painted melodies skirted by a great cantankerous throat to the bass and rapaciously grunting riff rubs. Neither ignite the air as previous songs or in between them the outstanding Time, but each still leaves full enjoyment. The song they book end is a thrilling waltz of sound and energy, an almost folkish breath playing with thoughts at times whilst its voracious intent recruits limbs and neck muscles with ease whilst the little additives like the deeply masculine backing pokes of vocals, icing on a flavoursome sonic cake.
The final trio of songs cannot match the first two thirds of the album, though again there is more than enough to draw frequent returns even if they lack the spark and trigger to greater things. Face In The Crowd is an undemanding and resourceful romp whilst The End Of The Universe offers a slower evocation of drama and emotion, both allowing a final slice of unbridled rock ‘n’ roll to be offered by Fallen Angel, it a feisty slab of heavy metal and rousing sinew built rock.
Masquerade is a stirring march which for the main captures the imagination and lights the energetic boisterous heart in us all. It is like Kirk has never been away, though the experiences and maturity grown over the past decade in its members has led to a new plateau for their presence.
KIRK is on tour this March 2014 with The Poodles & Crystal Ball @
14.03. Milano – Blue Rose Bresso
15.03. Torino – Audiodrome
16.03. Nürnberg – Rockfabrik
17.03. Pratteln – Z7
18.03. Augsburg – Spektrum
20.03. Ludwigsburg – Rockfabrik
21.03. Obermarchtal – Kreuz
22.03. Oberhausen – Helvete
23.03. München – Garage
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from