For many bands, it can be struggle to prove that they’re more than a sum of their influences. Fortunately, Russia’s Massface manage this with aplomb on their re-released self-titled debut.
The group are not shy about their influences from the nu-metal and alt-rock scene of the early ‘00s. But even if they weren’t, it would be clear to anyone that Deftones, A Perfect Circle, and Linkin Park are massive influences on the band amongst plenty of others. The biting riffs, the epic scope of the atmospherics, and the emotive vocals are all on prominent display. The only real criticism thought? It’s too short.
Only one song, “Time,” is longer than 4 minutes and while there’s room for a debate about audience attention spans, this feels like the band are selling themselves short. They’re definitely capable of an impressive sound that’s as big as it is fun to listen to. Take “Shadows” as an example. Thanks to the synth-based atmospherics of Sammy Martsynkevich it feels truly epic: the exciting bass-led riffs sound like a heady mix of Deftones and Linkin Park while the vocals are exceptional, with vocalist Oleg Lankin managing to pull off high notes that would make power metal bands take notice – as well as ferocious growls.
Ten to fifteen years ago, Massface would have been making big waves in the world of nu-metal and alt-rock. It’s easy to imagine them opening for A Perfect Circle or Linkin Park. We could debate about whether what was popular in the ‘90s and ‘00s is ripe for a come-back nowadays, but that’s beyond the remit of this review. Massface sound like the best bits of those bands got put into a blender and remastered with the latest equipment. And that’s something there’s always room for in the world of music: people making fun music that everyone can enjoy. It’s just that Massface need to make more of it. More albums, naturally, which this reviewer will happily devour, but also more of their own talents. Give listeners more time on each song to really enjoy the riffs on display from the twin-attack of Ivan Romanchuk and Aleksandr Tarabrin, more of Alexey Novikov’s interesting bass lines that on “New Day,” more epic atmospherics like those on “Black Water” and “Shadows,” and lastly more of Lankin’s varied vocal range.
Getting to the end of the album is like reaching for a drink you’d forgotten you’d finished – which is both a tragedy and, I promise, a compliment. I want more of Massface and their compositional talents. If they broaden their horizons and put more into the songs, they could start hitting serious heights. Maybe one day the Deftones will open for them.