VIRUS

VOICES OF MASADA
Another Day
Label: Strobelight

7/10

This English traditional gothic rock trio emphasize in their promotional notes that these three adjectives (traditional, goth, English) are exactly how they want to be described, and they do their best to live up to such standards.

"Another Day" is the sophomore effort, and musically they appear to be carrying the torch of country mates and genre kin, Fields of the Nephilim and Red Lorry Yellow Lorry.
"Another Day" begins with one of their terse moments, "Alive". Within this piece, one immediately encounters the dominant aspects of their sound; synths glide serene and content in the role as a backdrop, providing a breezy and glum base for their steady snare-edged drumming, shimmering plucked guitar, and grim admonishing vocals.
Along with this formula, Voices of Masada infuse this formula with intermittent moments of choppy, nearly metal power chords, giving Raymon Shah's baritone a bit more bite.
Bass guitar provides a stuttering grumble as contrast to the militant snare strut in "Walk Away", where a resounding guitar shoots a vibrating brassy echo into their dismal shadows as Shah's depth wavers with emotions restrained. Like a galloping horse, the drums of "Wondering" lope like steady hooves. Their rollicking thump acts as the song's fuel, driving its shoegazer guitar drizzle into a fugue of buzzing metal riffs, while shaking Shah from somber introspection into a passionate refrain. However, to prove their adept skills, the bridge opens this piece wide, the drums relenting in their race to allow guitars to shimmer out into deep prog-rock ambience.
The muffled one-two thump of drum puffs as if kicking off a layer of sepulchral dust in "Taken"; joined by the dismal groan of bass guitar, Shah's voice stands out from the shadows to strain like heartache, as if pining for release from this brooding track. As the resounding harp-like pluck of guitar and drums taper off to a gentle sheen of sequestered synths, the drums and strings return to shudder in sync, the piece finally concluding in an amble across sonic moors to Shah's murky lament. Finally, entering with a machete slash of guitar, "Reflections" is a bristling number where guitars are sharp, drums roll with militance, as Shah smolders through pointed verses.
Without doubt, Voices of Masada delivers exactly what they promise. They skillfully and successfully dredge up the gothic countenance of the eighties, reconstructing with a archaeologists' eye the sound of when England was the epicenter of gothic rock. Plus, their monochromatic post punk veneer has that chance to appeal to those who prefer those days before glam and electronics were permanently affixed to the genre. This trio may not be reinventing the archetype, or creating something unusual or new, but "Another Day" is certainly 'traditional English gothic rock'.
Vlad McNeally, 25 Nov 2006