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Ivan David

ivan david

mask of judas

Sunday at Tech Fest!! I'm tired and a bit weak due to lack of sleep and the fact that it is in fact the 'beginning of the end' of a pretty hectic weekend. However, the day had a great start and Mask Of Judas was responsible for injecting me with new energy.

Remember that scene in Terminator 2 where the mercury man impales Arnold to the floor and leaves him there, but he's able to kick back into gear and save the day? Something to that effect...

Mask of Judas plays a groove based Metal with a very technical approach. Their music demands your attention but it gives you that urge to start headbanging thanks to the crushing rhythm and fat sound. The guitar work was intricate but versatile, allowing feeling and contributing to the tight foundation set by the drums and the bass guitar.

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There was a general organic approach to the whole performance and when it came time to interview them I was told that with the exception of one of the guitar players, the whole band normally gets together in the rehearsal studio for regular practices. I know that nowadays bands are taking advantage of technology, sharing files and relying on the computer with great results, but the chemistry between the musicians in Mask Of Judas was evidently due to a personal/musical interaction among the band members.

Did I mention that Mask Of Judas is fronted by a powerful female vocalist? Jo Challen is charismatic and has a great vocal ability, with both melodic singing and death Metal growls, which have been compared to Angela Gossow from Arch Enemy in the past (as I was told the day before).

However, Jo allows herself to avoid an overly male(ish) attitude and her feminine charisma and personality drive her performance as well. Mask Of Judas relate to their music in a particularly personal way, easing the connection between the band and the audience.

I certainly enjoyed the show, had the chance to have an interesting conversation with them and now I have their latest release 'Axis', which stays true to the organic nature and versatility of the band's live show.

The guitars are played flawlessly on the record as well, and it is refreshing that the guys introduce some pretty cool riffs that rely on chords played on the higher strings. While some of the bands that use downtuned or 7/12/200 string guitars gravitate towards the low end of the spectrum during rhythm sections Mask Of Judas also play intricate patterns using higher pitched chords, incorporating some unusual notes and openingfrequency-space for the bass and the drums.

These, along with the technical leads and low rhythm will give you the impression that the guitar players are travelling up and down the neck of their instruments on every song. Even if some of the riffs have a special focus on rhythm, the intention to stay musical and expressive remains intact, especially during the guitar solos, which are still fast and technical but very melodic.

I do have to mention that the complexity of their music sometimes results in the vocals competing with the instruments for the spotlight a little bit. Jo's voice is emotional through the whole record and there are moments where the instruments and the voice support each other in a fantastic way, achieving a sense of purpose and lots of 'feeling', such as the nice interplay during the guitar solo in 'Endeavor' and the building section before it.

However, during certain moments I thought it was a little busy and I was thinking that there would be nothing wrong with sticking with something simpler in order to let the song breathe and give the vocals someextra room.But those are minor details and I am pretty sure that lots of fans of the genre will love these sections due to their complexity and will take it as a challenge instead.

'Axis' has five songs and I really enjoy the fact that when it comes to a band playing interesting music a mini album would normally give you great songs, no fillers and you end up wanting more and looking forward to their next release. With Mask Of Judas, that is most certainly the case. I will be listening to 'Axis' for quite a bit and I am pretty sure that picking my favorite songs will be difficult. However, I am already picking my favorite moments, riffs and solos.

During the interview I conducted with them at Tech Fest we talked about their influences, their creative process and their experience playing the festival, but also about some of their individual inclinations like 80s Glam Rock, African aesthetics, Wayne's World, Coheed and Cambria, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jazz Fusion, Terminator 2, Back to The Future, Indian Classical music and so on...

Are all of those things reflected in their art? Maybe not evidently, but you can always tell when a band is open minded by just listening to them, not only when they play but also when they have a chat. They'll be playing Bloodstock this year so if you're going you better check them out. In the meantime, listen to ‘'Axis', watch the video, and check out the audio interview below.




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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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