Exposé Online banner

Braindance — Master of Disguise
((Not on label) , 2014, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-05-23

Master of Disguise Cover art

This is a most elaborate package, with rows of mysterious embossed gold characters on a jet black background on the six panel CD package, with pockets inside for the two booklets – one is a sixteen page CD sized comic book that provides some background of the story behind this thirteen track 77-minute concept album. The other is more of a standard CD booklet, a ten-panel full color fold-apart featuring the song listing, the two main band members, most of the lyrics for the main songs (though not all the sneaky words in the numerous song interludes), as well as information about the additional players and all the other hands that went into making this impressive work of art and packaging. The music could be classified as cinematic dark progressive metal, but it’s the end-to-end concept story that makes it so much more than that. The protagonist of the story is lead singer Sebastian Elliott, with his Conan the Barbarian meets Mad Max look in the booklet images, or the Gothic faceless hooded consumer of forbidden knowledge in the comic booklet; his vocals are dense, dark and nearly always run through vocoder and numerous other effects, to the point where one hardly knows what his real voice sounds like, but that’s part of the mystique that supports the story line. Multi-instrumentalist Vora Vor is the other half of Braindance, playing guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, programming and orchestration, and she’s fairly menacing looking in a Gothic sort of way as well, holding a long dagger in the booklet image. She and Elliott are responsible for all the music and lyrics. Other musicians contribute backing vocals, bass, additional guitar, saz (Tony Geballe, no less), and percussion. There doesn’t appear to be a regular drummer, opting instead mostly for programmed drums. Geballe and bassist Andrew Bunk have a hand in the engineering, along with Vor. Like I mentioned earlier, there are thirteen tracks here, but truthfully this is one long 77-minute concept piece where the sound never stops, the main tracks are crossfaded with interludes of sampled voices sounding much like bits and pieces of a movie, dialog elements (also heavily effected) and sound effects galore, all contributing to this non-stop long distance story line. It’s very well done – Elliott and Vor and the rest of the team here have created nothing short of a masterpiece for what it is. For a guy like myself who generally can take no more than an LP side, 77 minutes is a long haul to go without any breaks in the music, and I have to admit the first handful of listens I couldn’t take it all in one sitting. But effort will pay off with persistence. Since I haven’t heard anything by Braindance since Fear Itself around 20 years ago, I can’t say how this compares to other recent releases, but I suspect Master of Disguises tops everything that came before it.


Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Braindance, Tony Geballe

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Amarok - Els Nostres Petits Amics – Hailing from the Basque country in northern Spain, Amarok is essentially keyboardist Robert Santamana and a rotating cast of other musicians on Spanish guitars, violin, oboe, and percussion, including...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues