Looking to cash in on the whole black metal shoegazing movement pioneered by the likes of Alcest
and Velvet Cacoon
present an album of relatively boring and shallow music that needs a long way to go before they’re ready to make a dent in the scene.
is actually a hard album to review for the simple reason that not much of anything goes on in it. There’s unfortunately very little black metal incorporated into the sound, leaving the shoegaze and post rock to take center stage. Whilst this is by no means a problem as Alcest
have found great success by playing a relatively soft and harmless form of music, Thehappymask
just don’t have the song writing abilities to capitalize in on it. The music is highly repetitious with very little distinction between each song as such the whole album tends to blend into each other creating one long and droning listen. The overall melodies of the songs themselves are really quite boring, apart from the over use of repetition utilized none of the melodies stand out to me. There’s no stand out moments, nothing that takes me back and encourages me to think that the band is onto something.
Matters aren't helped by the fact that the guitar tone is incredibly weak. Taking a high pitched wailing tone to it, it lacks any sort of power and is more concerned in creating a soft and euphoric atmosphere. Unfortunately, euphoria cannot be reached when listening to music that is this empty. Often the atmosphere becomes lost on me due to the high levels of repetition; the sound in general is overall quite weak lacking any form of emotional expression or even effort.
I understand that the goal of Thehappymask
is not to be the heaviest band of all time, I have perspective, I know I’m not listening to Suffocation
, but there’s no excuse for how oppressively still and lifeless this music is. I’m at a loss as to what actually happens in this album which just seems to be an endless procession of generic post rock climaxes played on lightly distorted guitars.
are certainly capable of creating pretty melodies, the lead work in the title track is suitably expressive and really quite beautiful bringing to mind bands such as Rosetta
and Year of no Light. The light and ambient undertones to the guitars, whilst admittedly being quite relaxing would greatly benefit from being fleshed out a lot more. The atmospheric potential is definitely there on Ruines
but greater skill in song writing would go a long way in securing this bands place in the future.