By Dr. Abner Mality

Mascharat are an Italian band who claim to play Renaissance Black Metal on their debut self-titled album.  We need another micro-genre like a hole in the head, but this band weaves an intriguing tale here. Apparently “Mascharat” is inspired by the old Venetian Carnival of Renaissance days and the mysterious masked revelers who played such a large part in it.

This is well thought out and varied black metal that has its origins in the traditional Nordic style. I actually thought I would hear more of an Italian Renaissance sound with suitable instruments here but that doesn’t pop up all that much. Perhaps in future albums it will. The pace is often blistering, but there’s room for plenty of darker, slower passages and the occasional piano or acoustic  diversion. It flows very well and keeps your interest.  After the atmospheric intro, “Bauta” blasts away with speed and fury, featuring troll-like vocals singing in Italian. At over 11 minutes, “Medicin de Peste” is quite the labyrinth and is just a tad too long. But it shows Mascharat’s ability to change up tempo and mood.

I don’t know how easy this will be to find, but I recommend this interesting concept album to all fans of intelligent black metal.