I love artists that embrace their culture. That can be musically or singing in their native tongue like Sólstafir. Subterranean Masquerade are led by immensely talented Israeli guitarist and composer Tomer Pink. Their latest effort is “The Great Bazaar” which is their fourth release, second full length. It follows the “Home” EP which was released in 2013 and I was floored by it. The key to anything Tomer does is the arrangement. He uses a wide spectrum that includes flutes, clarinets, horn sections along with the death metal vocals of Novembers Doom frontman Paul Kuhr.
What makes all of this work is that Tomer knows what instrument he needs and when to use it. Often the listener is pleasantly surprised by it. During the opening track “Early Morning Mantra”, a horn section plays and Paul does a death metal vocal. Or on “Reliving the Feeling” when Paul barks over a string section playing a very exotic sounding melody. Then there’s the instrumental “Nigen” which features the aforementioned clarinet which is a surprise at first until you realize just how perfect it fits the song. Another nice bonus is that Green Carnation vocalist Kjetil Nordhus has been added as the clean vocalist which adds yet ANOTHER dynamic to this album.
“The Great Bazaar” is one of 2015’s early masterpieces. The album has so many great songs, all of which are quite memorable. Sure there’s a lot going on, but I defy anyone not to sway to “Tour Diary” or sing-along to “Blanket of Longing.” “The Great Bazaar” is an album that is challenging in some ways yet instantly rewarding in others. This album is destined to be on “best of” lists for 2015!