(17 Sept 2013, Century Media)
Masks is a strange pairing of things I love about modern metal and things I hate about modern metal. And it’s all rolled into one nice package like a burrito made of Barbecue Pulled Pork and mushrooms. It mixes the delicious with the disgusting, but thankfully it’s heavy on the delicious.
As I wrote the first time I saw them with Wednesday 13, the thing that interested me was that they were described as a female fronted screamo band. I’ve never been a fan of screamo, metal-core, post hardcore or most other -core genres of music; but I’ve also never seen one fronted by a female. When I saw them, they didn’t seem like a screamo band, but that was after vocalist Cisko Miranda left the band. Miranda was credited with ‘unclean vocals’ on the album, and the thing I dislike most about screamo is the screaming. It’s not that I’m against screaming. I just really don’t care for the monotonous, arrhythmical way of belting out (supposedly) deep and emotional lyrics that metal-core singers have. If you’re going to sing something worth hearing, sing it in a way I can understand.
Thankfully, most of the songs are sung by guitarist/keyboardist Alexia Rodriguez. She’s credited with ‘clean vocals,’ but her delivery is a little bit forced. By that I mean that she’s screaming just enough to make her voice a little scratchy and not the usual female pretty that you hear from most chicks.
I love the songs she sings like “Where I Want To Be” and “Infected.” “Little Liar” is the song they played at that show where I decided I would buy the album.
I’m hoping that they focus more on the Alexia songs going forward. I look at their past records and see that they’ve always had a male voice doing unclean vocals so I’m not really that interested to check out their back catalog, but I am looking forward to their next release.
Another thing I don’t particularly care for with this band is how every picture focuses on the Rodriguez sisters (Anissa plays bass) without including longtime drummer Caleb Clifton. I’m wondering if the departure of Miranda was less about musical differences than a marketing ploy to feature the eye candy in Eyes Set To Kill. As a father I’m always on the lookout for positive female role models who target talent over good looks. Sure, they’re beautiful girls, but what got me to buy the album was their awesome hard rock songs, not their legs (although those are nice too).