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

2018-01-05
Ray Thomas RIP – On Thursday, 4 January 2017, the world lost Ray Thomas, founding member of the Moody Blues. Thomas sang and played flute, and was responsible for writing a number of the band's most memorable songs. He was 76. » Read more

2017-12-22
Roswell Rudd RIP – Jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, one of the distinctive players of his instrument in many strains of music, has died at the age of 82. With a career stretching back to the early 60s and over a hundred recordings featuring his playing, he leaves behind a substantial legacy. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. » Read more

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

French TV - Virtue in Futility – Louisville is as unlikely a place for progressive rock as any, yet that's where bassist Mike Sary's French TV hail from. Its been ten years since their debut album, yet Virtue in Futility (an apt...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues