After four years of silence Finnish deathsters Mask of Satan have returned with their sophomore record Underneath the Mire, releasing it through Mexican extreme music label Iron, Blood and Death Corporation. No surprises, their newest creation is a smooth continuation of their debut album with all the characteristic trademarks and tricks.
Mask of Satan is rather a young band, they exist for a little bit longer than five years, and also they are not over-productive, so little by little they conquer Scandinavian underground scene without demanding business rules of mass production. They are not too original and their music doesn’t sound too uniquely ingenious, but still they are very focused and determined to play sincere death metal with the modern attitude. And with their compositional skills, Underneath the Mire doesn’t pass for one more boring and inconspicuous death metal album.
In a way this album sounds almost primitively simple, especially when you try to analyze the structural patterns and compositional schemes, Mask of Satan sounds truly familiar to those who prefer playful death ‘n’ roll, modern groove sound as well as pure death metal from the 1990s. The songs are similar to one another, with little changes or innovations. Strangely enough, but the slow doom/death cumbersome rhythm vs. fast and frisky groove speediness builds a wholesome and lively combination of unplanned diversity. The most vivid d’n’r pieces, like “Moonless Night (October 31st)” or “Abyssal Servant” with ordinary thrash solos are opposing minimalistic freezing sense of fatalism in doom/death manner (“Corpsewitch” or “Underneath the Mire”).
The riffs are primitive, but catchy, the guitar sound is very juicy, and the bass lines from time to time come to the fore. Very slow growls are quintessential to this record, the singer Brother W uses his voice as a weapon and full-fledged instrument, tremendously reminding of Six Feet Under (musically there are also a lot of allusions to the music of these American death ‘n’ roll heroes). So, the guys from Mask of Satan were able to connect old school spirit of death metal with modern alternative sound, seasoning it with clichéd formulas from both those worlds, when the past doesn’t sound obsolete, and the contemporary side transforms into classical visions of the past.
The love for horror, gore and death is in their blood, the music screams with creepy spells and the homage to H. P. Lovecraft. Cover art is also in the style of satanic and horror stories, highlighting the ritualistic spirit and the bloody insides of this album. Maybe Underneath the Mire isn’t too original or glossy, but still this kind of music hooks the audience and forces them to sing along and shake their heads in involuntary vigor.
Release date: July 15th, 2021
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