Exposé Online banner

Whitechapel — Le Masque d'Harlequin
(Musea MP 3055.AR, 2006, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2008-01-01

Le Masque d'Harlequin Cover artYes, it's a French band that sings about a jester. To be honest, it's probably just the title track that's about the jester or harlequin in question, but it also has a jester's face on the cover. With a tear on it. Okay, now that the obligatory cheap lampoon of the album is out of the way I can listen to this with nary a jester in mind since I can't understand the words. The band basically operates in a symphonic metal realm, though it must be said that the metal aspect rears its head more in the form of 80s metal than modern prog metal. The complexities and brutal attack of modern metal are generally replaced by a relatively smoother, more relaxed approach, sometimes even coming across as a hair band. Neo-prog-metal anyone? Vocalist Fabrice Altairac is more than up to the task with a great range and tone, often hinting at The Scorpions' Klaus Meine. I enjoy French vocals as much as the next guy, though I had my doubts about them in this context, but Altairac carries the job off with aplomb. The rest of the band is strong as well, concentrating more on ensemble play without a tremendous amount of in your face soloing. I could complain about the digital lushness of the keys but that seems a bit futile in this day and age. Besides, the mediocre sound quality is distraction enough to keep your mind off of them.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 35, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Whitechapel

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Flëur - First Four Albums – Flëur is essentially the Ukrainian duo of Olga Pulatova (piano, vocals) and Elena Voynarovskaya (guitar, vocals) along with a variety of other players on flute, cello, violin, keyboards, bass, and...  (2008) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues