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Pageant — Abysmal Masquerade
(Musea FGBG 4311.AR, 1987/1994, CD)

by Mike Grimes, Published 2000-10-01

Abysmal Masquerade Cover art

Released a year after their debut, Abysmal Masquerade is Pageant’s second album and contains a couple of alternate versions of older tracks, a few live tunes, and some new stuff as well. Pageant is a four-piece group that formed in Japan in the 80s consisting of guitar, keys, drums, and bass, with keyboardist Hiroko Nagai also providing the lead vocals. The music ranges from straight-ahead 80s rock with tunes like “Kodama” to “Spot the Pigeon” era Genesis on “Vexation.” Kazuhiro Miyatake of Mr. Sirius even guests on flute in a couple of places. The title track has that very big Japanese symphonic sound to it. A couple of tracks, “Kamen No Egao” and “Kumo No Yakata,” are slower ballads with soaring guitar solos and angelic female vocals. The live stuff is so cleanly performed and recorded that you wouldn’t even know it was live. For example, “Abysmal Masquerade” is presented twice: once in studio form and once in live form, and they’re both very similar in both recording and performance quality as well as arrangement. The live version of “Kamen No Egao,” on the other hand, has more discernable differences between the two versions. Evidently, the band has a fondness for playing in sseven-beat time signatures since they are frequently breaking into that rhythm. The group is very tight and good at the style of music they perform. If you enjoy Japanese symphonic progressive bands with a solid dose of 80s rock thrown in, Pageant might be for you.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 20, 1994 releases, 1987 recordings

Related artist(s): Pageant


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