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Masamune: Masquerade EP PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Thompson   
09 04 2013
Image One of the North East's most exciting up and coming rock bands launched their EP to an unusually packed Sunderland bar recently. Masamune, a three instrument four piece based in Sunderland took to the stage with local favourites The Creep Void and 27 Side Effects to produce the type of intense, sweaty and surreal night which Sunderland has not seen for years gone by.
A music scene filled with acoustic guitars and self indulgence can be extremely unforgiving for a rock band like Masamune, who's most timid moment on their newly released 'Masquerade EP' would arguably be the transition between songs. This is no problem for these boys though; Masamune weren't created to fit a mold of any kind, so the contrast of their sound compared to what is considered 'the in and now' of the moment, couldn't work more beneficially in their favour. 

I asked the band how they saw themselves fitting into the current music climate, James Wallace (Bass) said: 'The Sunderland music scene has historically always been quite working-class based, whether that be reflected in punk music in the Thatcher era or even a reflection of that being The Futureheads who were more post-punk. There's a lot of acoustic stuff about yeah, but there's also a lot of metal as well. The stuff around at the moment, it's not indie really, it's more predictable in a way. Before we did the gig, we were worried about the audience we would or wouldn't attract, we didn't think as many people would be interested in coming to see us!' Wallace was right to be surprised, Plugged Inn on Holmeside was packed to the brim that night.

Jack Johnson (Drums) said: 'The North East doesn't have much of a rock scene really, that's not just because of the bands, that's 'cos of the venues as well, particularly in Sunderland there aren't many 'medium' sized venues, there's no middle ground between a bar and somewhere like North Shore which is huge.' Neil Anthony (Vocals) was less diplomatic: 'I think a lot of bands just need to pull their finger out really, a lot of practice, a bit of investment into it, both time and money, and you will succeed, even if it's just to a small scale. Hopefully by us doing this we've shown people that it can be done, and give people the confidence to do it themselves, which a lot of bands lack.' Steve Kane (Guitar) equalled the sentiment: 'Bands who lack passion, are the ones who ultimately lack the fans, you get out what you put into it!'

Passion is something which Masamune have an abundance of, which is reflected in both their ambitions for the band and their sound. The songs are obviously a product of strict polishing over time and musical perseverance, what strikes me most about Masamune is the prominent bass lines in their tracks, something which you seldom find in modern rock bands. Steve reluctantly agreed with me on this: 'As much as I'll regret saying this, the bass lines are probably the most important part. As a guitarist I almost feel sick admitting it, but we do a lot of work around the bass.' Jack explained; 'You can't rely solely on one instrument for melody, and with us only having one guitar, we use the bass to establish this. It's not just root notes, me and James always try to think about the groove of the song, and that's whats reflected in the bass lines.'

The EP itself is brilliant. The title track is an orgasm of shrill guitar and haunting vocals, while the drums and bass almost work in unison, as if they were somehow the same instrument, a mutated rhythm section lovechild kept in a cellar somewhere. The band's clear musical ability and chemistry is shown in the other EP tracks. Dreams for Sale is very lick based, with the influence of early Muse shining through as well as some sounds from across the pond such as Velvet Revolver or RHCP. Neil Anthony's vocals are also better shown off in Dreams for Sale. The final track 00:12, an explosion of room filling instrumental music probably more suited to a David Fincher film, is a brilliant closer to a very well produced and well written EP.

Watch the video for Masamune's single 'Masquerade' here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN1wmgkWlSE

Check out their music here: http://masamune.bandcamp.com
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