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Album Reviews : Mason – Impervious

By on October 27, 2017

Mason is achieving a lot of great things these days but it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the 4-piece-thrash-attack from Melbourne. In fact, Mason disbanded in 2015 before rising from the ashes later in the same year with a new lead guitarist.  Without taking anything away from past members,  the addition of shred veteran Grant Burns (Ex-Vespers decent, Ex-Darkenium) has really invigorated and elevated the bands sound. After whetting appetites with the 4 track Unmerciful EP (2016) Mason’s 2nd full-length album Impervious was released back in July.

The album gets underway with the dark and heavy instrumental Eligos, which is essentially an extended introduction to Burn.  for the most part Burn is uptempo thrash but has some slower and darker moments too. The shredding from both Benson and Burns is of an exceptionally high standard and Benson’s vocals have tangible feeling and aggression about them. Tears of Tragedy is up next and is another strong track. It’s a well put together tune with a memorable chorus section, but it’s the extended solo section that stands out as a real focal point. The Afterlife starts with a brooding mid-tempo atmosphere but quickly establishes itself as one of the most pummelling tracks on the album. The harmonised guitar solo in the introduction is a real highlight. This track has a particularly melodic and memorable chorus section and is arguably the strongest track on the release.

The title track, Impervious, is another highlight in what is an exceptionally strong top end of the album. Pummelling drums, exceptional guitar work and great vocal delivery are all on show; five tracks down and I’m finding that there’s absolutely nothing to knock here. Mason is sounding tight, and their tunes are quality. At this point, my biggest compliment is that they don’t really sound like anyone else. This isn’t an overly nostalgic nod to the thrash metal heroes of the 80’s, but rather modern thrash metal release with a healthy dose of originality and melody.

The 2nd half of the album is just as strong as the first. Again, I’ll labour the point that the songs are clearly thrash, but they have a melodic dimension to them which is refreshing to hear. Most of the chorus sections have a 2nd guitar line which carries some form of melody whilst Benson’s vocals focuses more on the rhythmical attack. The guitar solos on each and every song provide a head-turning element to the bands sound which gives Mason an edge over their contemporaries.  Some clear highlights of the 2nd half of the release include Sacrificed and Hellbent on Chaos. The former has a bit of a melodic/progressive-death vibe to the riffing and a really impressive extended solo section. There is a bit of a Nevermore flavour to some of the parts in Hellbent on Chaos. The album is closed out with Created to Kill, which is yet another quality track with plenty of different riffs and change ups.

Impervious is a really strong and consistent release.   I’m really impressed that the band are forging ahead with their own sound rather than getting wrapped up in nostalgia and overdoing the old school influence (like many thrash bands do to stay overtly ‘thrash’). Impervious is a very much a thrash metal release but it’s a melodic thrash record.

2017 has been a benchmark year for Australian thrash metal, with the Victorian Big 3 – Harlott, Desecrator and Mason – all releasing top-notch new albums.  Impervious is every bit as good as the albums released by their home state counterparts and stands up against the international thrash metal releases I’ve heard in 2017 too. Strongly recommended for Thrash fans and/or fans of shred guitar.

Band: Mason
Album: Impervious
Year: 2017
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label:  Independent
Origin: Australia

About

Chris is a long time metal enthusiast and advocate for Australian heavy music scene. Chris grew up in Perth, Western Australia and is a past member of modern melodeath act Let's Kill Uncle. Currently residing in London, UK.