At the end of February, Masterstroke released their last EP. Mystisk Død and myself talked about it and we found that it could be a good idea to use our conversation as a base for a review.
Mystisk : Hey, it's Mystisk Død and today Isa and me will talk to you of the last EP of Masterstroke: 'Edge Of No Return’
ISA: All good things must come to an end....that we like it or not
Mystisk: The time to say goodbye has arrived for the heavy metal band from Tampere, who was active from 2002 to the very beginning of this year.
According to the Masterstroke's Facebook page, they largely explained the many reasons of their unexpected split up and in addition they announced the release of their last EP: 'Edge Of No Return’.
ISA: A long text that you can summarize by one word... “life”
Mystisk: They passed through many musical phases and they changed their line-up, including talented musicians like: Jari Tiura ( ex-vocals), Markus Kekoni (ex-guitarist), Mikko Viheriälä (ex-keyboard) and Arto Tissari (ex-bass player). Aren't they ?
ISA: In my first review of Masterstroke, I told that they are very good musicians and I didn't change my mind. From there I don't know all their ex-members so I can only guess they also are very good
Mystisk: In my opinion their last work is good but not one of their masterpieces, like 'Apocalypse' and my favourite, 'Sleep'.
ISA: in this EP I’ve found back all what I love by them. It isn't better, neither is it more bad than their albums. For me they all are masterpieces
Mystisk: The EP opens with the title track 'Edge Of No Return' and then with the second and third tracks: 'Fool's Dance (A New Chapter)' and 'World of Shadows'. The first parts of the EP all follow the line of symphonic keyboard solos, who suits well with the drums with heavy guitar and bass .
The 4th song 'Final Sacrifice' turns the atmosphere more deep, giving me strong emotions.
ISA: I wouldn't call it a keyboard solo, it is right that we hear good the keyboards, that it seems to lead but the other instruments are still presents. Also when hearing ‘Edge Of No Return’ it’s the guitars who lead more in the songs, keyboard is more there for adding some effects, giving a variation. For 'Fool's Dance (A New Chapter)', I personally hear the drums much more what gives a real punch to the song. 'World of Shadows', there the keyboards are melodic and bring the ambiance touch, the melody is one of those I remember the most. For me the keyboard in 'Final Sacrifice' are there like they are for the first song. For me the deepest song with emotions is more ‘World of Shadows’ but they are brought by the vocals
Mystisk: 'World of Shadows' and 'One by One' are definitely my favourite tracks of the whole EP! The first seconds of 'One by One' are epic because I think that the choice of the band of following the line of bass-drum-guitar with less keyboard evokes in me a sense of nostalgia mixed with melancholia.. Feels like the band is going to farewell us. What are your favourite tracks Isa?
ISA: ‘Edge Of No Return’, ‘World of Shadows’, ‘One by One’ and the last song. The first one makes me think how life makes things, that we change and that we have to accept things will never be anymore like they were. 'World of Shadows', that song stays in my head, makes me want to sing along, talks to me. 'One by One', I really like the difference in vocals, it remembers me the reason why I was curious about the other bands of Niko, what makes me listen to Masterstroke as first
Mystisk: Last song, what a surprise when discover a dance mix version of 'Turn Away’, who links with the sounds of the title track.
ISA: When I listened to the EP, I didn’t look at what kind of remix it was. When hearing the first seconds, my face was priceless. Seriously, it is a fucking good version. You need to have a very good knowledge of sound for so making a metal song becoming dance with keeping the main spirit of the song. It remembers me my teenage years when I was a fan of dance and techno music and that the only keyboardist I listened to was Jean-Michel Jarre.
Mystisk : 'Edge of no Return' has many echoes of 'Sleep' in my opinion.
ISA : I find this EP is more close of Broken with the keyboard style of Apocalypse
Mystisk: I think that Masterstroke will be remembered for being one of the few good Finnish heavy metal bands. Do you agree ?
ISA: One of them but there are also so many good Finnish bands. I think that a good band isn't one who will be remembered by so many people but it is one who marked the people and they surely do. To be honest, I don't like talking of being remembered, simply because I still have hard to realise. I hope they will all stay working as musicians so that I can keep on following what they all do. I will miss asking myself what for keyboard sounds Jussi will find, those lyrics who talk to me. Of course, there are other things I may miss but I know to which bands I can listen to find those other things back.
So....yeah.....This was our last review of who became one of my favorite bands ever
Mystisk : Masterstroke is dead, long live Masterstroke !
ISA : ...Maybe
(Review by Isa & Mystisk Dod)
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Masterstrokefinland
20/07/2016 (Audio Review)
I : Hey, my name is Isa
M : And my name is Marianne and you are listening to the first audio review of FI Musica
I: Today we will talk of Apocalypse, the first album of (MASTERSTROKE). I asked Marianne to join me so that you could have not only the opinion of a fan but also of someone who discovered them recently.
M: I had never listened to the band before doing this review but let’s talk about Apocalypse. The album was released in 2006 but because of label problems it only got released in Russia and Japan. When you see the name of the album and the cover you expect a certain ambiance and they could give us that one.
I : The ambiance of the album is heavy, dark but when it is about the music but not always about the lyrics. At the first listening you may not find them really happy but a song like “I’ll take my time” still have a part of hope. When it’s about lyrics it's definitely the song that marked me the most. At least on this album.
M: Some melody stays in the head and you will learn to recognize a song only by hearing the intro
I : For example just with hear this (intro) I can't do without think Childrennnnnnn (children of the war) . That song would had do a very good single
M: The vocals also give an ambiance going from growl to whispering and totally representing the madness in the song “Theater of Madness”.
I : But the strongest song of the album stay the instrumental “Memory of”
M : I agree. I find it sounds dramatic, like it would be the end of everything this totally fits with the idea of Apocalypse . I also like the idea to put soft music in the album. I found really important to add song like this one to make a break even more when the album is heavy all the times long,
I : I literally love that song who touch me and bring some tears to my eyes. I still can’t do without listening to it more than once in a row. Listening to it just makes me...kind of speechless, as it's just all in the feeling but I guess it’s typically the kind of sound that will touch every of us differently as it really depend of our own story and we all have a different one so yeah...
M : The instrumental is followed by the epic song of the album, which makes no more than 9 min and definitely broke the break with its energy
I : A long song but it still take me a moment before realize as it never seemed too long. It’s really far to be a boring song as when you take the song it's really the rhythm and speed change along, it's a bit like two songs together in one
M : This is like a rollercoaster. Here it's fast, after calm, after it become faster again but more progressive.
I : The japan version of the album also contain one (Rock n roll) bonus song
M : (Thunder, lightning…metalstormmm). It’s a very powerful song who greatly close the album.
I : It make me somewhere mind of Judas Priest and only with listen to the song I really can imagine how the clip could had look.
M : If you must compare this album with the others of the band, would you say it’s better or not ?
I : Apocalypse is a good album for me but it sounds like they were still searching their own music style. But between that album and Broken the last one, there is 7 years and it really makes a big difference as they were already good musicians but they are even better now and most of all now they discover their own music style. But there is really one thing that I definitely prefer on this album
M : Let me guess…..the keyboards
I : Hell yeah ! In the review of the previous albums I told that my only regret was that I found we could hear the keyboard better. Here you really good hear them, it is totally a part of the ambiance. Even at some point it makes me mind…..WTF is that
M : Do you have any example ?
I : Yes, I can propose you a sound who’s perfect for wake you up or attract your attention (intro Seven Deadly Sins) or you can have another one who remember me the game Mario Bros (Eye of the
M : So metal...
I: Why be like people expect us to be when we can be ourselves but it somewhere gives me a desire to myself make some test and be surprise in a good way.
M : If you have the occasion to buy Apocalypse than do it
I : And like for all the musicians, if you like their music buy it. You can find all the needed links on www.fimusica.com or on Facebook page
(We did the choice to keep our natural way of speak English even it mean do mistakes.)
(Review by Isa & Marianne / spellchecking by Kath)
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Masterstrokefinland
Twitter : @_Masterstroke
Those who have read my review of All Rise can see that I spoke about their singer, Niko Rauhala, that he’s the kind of musician whose work I enjoyed discovering. When on the band's Facebook page
they mentiond his other bands, I directly noted the name. What make that first of his band I looked was Masterstroke is simply because Janne Juutinen was also the original All Rise drummer and I
was curious about how he could sound. My curiosity became even bigger when I saw the name of Jussi Kulomaa that I knew for his work as an audio engineer but not as a musician.
Now the thing is that you will not find Masterstroke on spotify (or then a other band having the same name) and there aren't a lot of videos. Usually I always go listen to music of a band before I buy albums (ok not always as there is one band where I buy without listening first) but here I could only hear one song….Mmm give them a chance and buy album or let it be? I took a risk and chose the first option. Direction Record Shop X (levykauppax in finnish) my favorite store when it comes to Finnish music and jackpot, they have albums. Or at least 3 albums on 4 and one CD single. Their first album “Apockalypse” (2005) isn’t available there (but if you know where I can buy it (no ebay) I’m interested) but “Sleep” (2007), “As days grow darker” (2009) and “Broken” (2013) were there. One album every 2 years (Broken must normally be release in 2012) it give us a chance to have a new one this year certainly as band told recently that they have been recording some drums and guitars for four new songs. Let’s see…
Until then I have offer myself “Sleep” and “Broken” and bought album in place of download (who also bought Broken can guess why I say that ;) )
Both albums are good and on both there aren’t any songs that I dislike but I still have a preference for “Broken”. I personally found that it is better mixed then « Sleep » , simply a question of taste. My only regret and that for both albums is that I found we could hear the keyboard better.
For me lyrics are as much music as chords, melodies, harmonies and rhythms. Simply because they need to follow the harmonies and rhythms of the instrument. Take a fucking good instrumental and put on it lyrics that don’t respect those points at all or take a heavy metal composition and make it sing on it “I see the life in pink with a lot of little heart” and yeah…I would not call that music. For me lyrics are important but in my eyes the lyrics can only be good if they are helped by the vocals. I need to hear lyrics with the feel of sadness, anger…
In general I get it here. In “Turn Away” I would maybe love to have the impression to hear the whisper but for example “Under our command” or “Broken” are for me exactly how I like vocals to express feeling. Niko kept the same way of singing that I like from him.
My favorite song of Sleep is “The Circle” which is a song that touches me and the lyrics somewhere talk to me. About lyrics that talk to me, there is one sentence which also touches me a lot in “Being me” “I’d rather be doing anything else than being me !”. My favorite song of Broken is “Seed of Chaos” it’s just all I like and a song that stays in my head, I also like a lot the chorus of “Broken” (I pretty quickly sang along) and that song is my second favorite.
Masterstroke it is music with clear vocals and very good musicians but they aren’t there to give us a demonstration of what they can do. What they offer us is good songs without pretention. Some say they don’t offer anything new and maybe they would be right but personally it isn’t what I want from a band. I only want music to give good moments and it’s exactly what this band gave me, which is why I don’t regret at all giving them a chance, also why I plan to get “As days grow darker” and why I will keep buying their future albums.
(Review by Isa / spellchecking by Kath)
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Masterstrokefinland
Twitter : @_Masterstroke