Mask and Raid does not put their music into a specific genre tag, leaving it to the listener to determine what they get from it. For me, listening to their album Amidst This Catastrophe I got a nice dose of punk alternative rock, with some metal screams, and some groovy portions, and some pit starting riffs, and after reading that ridiculously long description you can see why we’re not supposed to slap a label on this.
“The World at Large” kicks off with a punk rock attitude and what sounds like a reggae bass line, an awesome take on the fundamentals of both types of music. “Count to a Million” has a cool beat that drifts from a higher swirling sound to really thick and heavy guitar chords. In line with the melody changes are juxtaposed cleans with raspy screams, the latter of which guide the song toward the metal side of the spectrum.
“The Innocent” instantly made me think of early Green Day in the style and energy. The song completely gains its own direction halfway through and completely takes a different turn, with an awesome breakdown that leads into some truly headbang-worthy riffs. “Virtue” is a brilliant display of drum work throughout. The song pauses briefly, leading to the idea that there is a hidden track – no, it’s an artfully placed portion of the same song, and quite frankly having the pause there gives that section of the song more punch than if it just flowed through to the end.
Either “Skin and Bone” or “Bite My Tongue” could be the radio hit of this album on an alternative rock station. Both songs have distinct sounds, but each has a catchy chorus that is easy to anticipate, but also feature parts with a shredding riff that could translate that song from the radio to the pit in .02 seconds flat.
I mentioned this a lot before, but I think a lot of this album’s charm comes from the use of the second half of each song to present a new interpretation of the song’s original theme. In some cases it could be construed as a cheap trick, but here it works perfectly to show the band’s versatility while keeping the songs at a manageable length. Really, you’re given the gift of a full-length album in a smaller package.
I enjoyed listening to this all the way through. There’s variation in the vocals and chords, the drummer is fantastic, and the whole album kept the energy up even in the slower parts. It’s the perfect wake up and take over the world album, and I hope to see this band live one day (I hear they really rock the stage).
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