Maryland based Metalcore band, Masuda, released their debut EP, Within, on June 25, 2015. Being a huge fan of the local music scene in the Baltimore area for a great portion of my life, I’ve been hoping that something would come along to bring new life to it. That being said, Masuda’s Within has definitely been that needle in the haystack that I’ve been looking for.
On the surface, three tracks doesn’t seem like much, but there’s enough within this 12+ minute EP to keep you coming back again and again (and possibly even again). Let’s start with the basics. When I say metalcore, you probably say what does it sound like. That’s a very justified question, as there’s about as many genres of metal as there are mainstream rock bands (I’m looking at you, Nickelback; thanks for this plague). To be completely honest, I picked up a lot of influence on this EP, ranging from bands like Sky Eats Airplane to heavier hitters like Veil of Maya. I can simply say that if you like metal music of any genre, especially if you enjoy a clean vocal/heavy vocal balance, Masuda is worth giving the chance. Moving onto the structure, this EP has a phenomenal balance of the aforementioned vocal differential, and incredible instrumentals to balance it. Breaking things down, even to the depth of lyricism, there was a lot of talent and effort involved in the production of this album. There are some quotable moments on the EP; thanks to the balance of cleans and the catchy-but-personal lyricism. There are some very beautiful (and I mean that in the most metal way) riffs and guitar tracks on this EP, and it’s incredibly easy to vibe to.
I can assure you that this band’s first EP is fantastic, but I can’t tell you that it isn’t without its minor faults. The first being that it’s too short (because I thoroughly enjoyed it), but I also picked up on some minor flaws in the pacing and pitch of the vocals and their synchronization with the music. There are moments in the songs where the clean vocals seem a bit over exaggerated and out of place, but it doesn’t ruin the songs, and mostly will only be picked up by those who are paying close attention. Again, I don’t feel like this is a major hindrance on the experience, but it is worth noting and can use improvement going forward with their next efforts. Hell, this is one of the best debut efforts I’ve seen from a band in a while, and I’m glad they’re representing our hometown.
Masuda, quite possibly, resurrected my love for the Maryland Metal scene. Their debut EP, Within, offered a lot of enjoyment and innovation to the local metal scene I’ve grown up with. Within offers 3 tracks of metal-y goodness that listeners will surely be enjoying, and is a worthy addition to their playlist. It isn’t flawless, but it’s a great start and a very warm welcome of what’s to come. Check them out on Bandcamp here, and if you do enjoy it, I encourage you to donate to these guys and help them keep their dream, and local Maryland metal, alive.