Sjak : Masqued is a new American progressive metal band hailing from Houston, Texas, which has a number of old-timers from the progressive power and thrash metal scene in the line-up. As such we find for instance guitar player Eric Halpern (Helstar, Destiny’s End, Leatherwolf) as well as drummer Jon Allen (Testament, Sadus) and the Z-Lot-Z members Shane Dubose (bass) and Adam Rawlings (keyboards) in the band, which is completed by second guitar player Drew Creel and female vocalist Steffany Johnston. For this debut album the band has signed with the Greek label Sleaszy Rider Records and everybody that digs high-quality progressive power metal with some thrash influences should give this ‘The Light In The Dark’ record a thorough listen.
The music of Masqued is largely dominated by the outstanding guitar parts of the duo Halpern and Creel and the powerful vocals of Johnston, who clearly shows to have quite some power in her voice. All nine tracks that are to be found on this debut album are very worthwhile listening to, but in my opinion title track ‘The Light In The Dark’, ‘Let Go’, the heavy ‘Broken’ and the Destiny’s End-alike ‘Rise Up’ are just a tad better than the rest. This ‘The Light In The Dark’ album is therefore a surprisingly strong debut album and I’m quite curious to what level they will be capable to develop themselves, because the potential and the talent is certainly there.