Review: “Damnation Is Eternal” by Mask of Insanity

A labour of love that has been five years in the making, Mask of Insanity were forged in the furnace of Valhalla in Lelystad Netherlands in 2015 around an axis of Gildor van Mourlik (bass, vocals) and Vincent Klien (guitars). That partnership was the joined by Cor Vos (guitars) and Jonah Vossensteyn (drums) after some line up shifts and in 2019 the band performed at the first ever Gates Of Naraka festival in Wormerveer, with bands like Anger Machine, Evil Oath and Disquiet. So now it’s time for their debut album, “Damnation Is Eternal“, recorded, mixed and mastered at Van Voorst Geluidstechniek by Janwillem van Voorst (Graceless, Thanatos, Codex Mortis)…

…Lyrically the album deals with topics like insanity, betrayal and loss over 13 mosaic pieces that are blackened to the core bridging the gape between Melodic Death Metal and Black Metal in style and substance. Introduction piece “Concentrate” is an eerie spoken word of demonic voices instructing a Cuban Necktie moment before “Blood of the Impaled” soars with Melodic Death Metal beauty on wings of lead as an instrumental sans a couple of Black Metal guttural roars. It’s not until third cut “Monstrosity of Eyes” that we get a real idea of what Gildor van Mourlik’s vocals are like and when we do, they are pure evil. If Gollum, the ring bearing character from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium “Lord Of The Rings” was a Black Metal vocalist, this is what he would sound like, shrill, throat shredding and downright demonic. He’s not afraid to add in dark whispers and his ability to roar through extensive verses without pausing for breath is jaw dropping, especially during “Cocoon of Demise“, which plays on haunting melody while also having the beating heart of Black Metal ferocity. Loaded with blast beats and huge percussive moments, it’s the kind of song that you can picture Cradle of Filth enjoying on their tour bus.

Ambinous Ambominate” appeared in lyric video form before the album, a tale of horror film storytelling splendor with a dark undercurrent of evil that had a gloriously unhinged vocal. The opening of “Where All Your Love Dies” has a Funeral Doom quality before returning to the Black Metal vocals and haunting melody of the guitars is a thing of dark beauty, while combining aching clean vocals with the shrill throat shredding ones as a backing part which then comes to the fore is a smooth and stunningly effective move. “Fester Unto Thee” serves as the perfect introduction to the pulverizing percussive battery of “On Howling Wings of Black“, a cut all the more effective for having longer instrumental passages between the lyrics allowing for a whirlwind of momentum to build up, ideal for a circle pit. First surfacing as a single in 2018, “Swallow the Insane” is a raucous, vicious little ditty that has some Groove Metal moments encased in the Obsidian of Black Metal before the poetry of “Tempus” brings a schizophrenia that sees the mask of sanity slip on a journey into the hell within, it’s incantations brilliantly worked.

A glorious piece of piano work and orchestration with a cinematic quality “Dawn of Fate” is a call to arms that could have introduced the album as a whole but instead performs that duty for “Forseeing Their Fate“. Gildor van Mourlik finds a new voice in these songs to augment his Black Metal one and give these songs a Battle Metal feel akin to Amon Amarth and the layering of the vocals gives the impression of a pair of vocalists as they depict warriors dying on the battlefield, cutting each other down with sword play. It may be something different given the material on the rest of the album but it’s not entirely out of keeping and brings another string to the Mask of Insanity bow with a solid and enthralling performance. “Forsaw Their Fate” picks up where “Dawn of Fate” finished and completes the trilogy, if Winds of Plague had done a better job of “The Warriors Code” then it would sound like this. Overall an album that has been well worth the five year wait, hopefully Mask Of Insanity don’t make us wait that long for a follow up [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Concentrate
  2. Blood of the Impaled
  3. Monstrosity to Eyes
  4. Cocoon of Demise
  5. Ambinous Ambominate
  6. Where All Your Love Dies
  7. Fester Unto Thee
  8. On Howling Wings of Black
  9. Swallow the Insane
  10. Tempus
  11. Dawn of Fate
  12. Forseeing Their Fate
  13. Forsaw Their Fate

Damnation Is Eternal” by Mask of Insanity is out 6th November and should be available over at bandcamp

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