Album Review – Anmasker / How Much Is Your Mask? (2019)

Take off your “Good Samaritan” mask and slam into the circle pit to this high-octane album of old school Thrash Metal made in Ukraine.

Are you ready for some traditional old school Thrash Metal made in Zaporizhia, a city on the Dnieper River in southeastern Ukraine? That’s exactly what an unrelenting trio that goes by the name of Anmasker has to offer our avid ears in their debut full-length opus entitled How Much Is Your Mask?. Comprised of Andrii Kachanov on lead vocals and bass, Serhii Bielikov on the guitar and backing vocals, and Olexandr Hubko on drums and backing vocals, Anmasker were officially formed in 2016 from the ashes of a previous version of the band named Unmasker, which existed from 2012 to 2016, aiming at shaking the moldy looks of the local scene with their high-octane thrashing creations. Recorded at TA Production Recording Studio in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, mixed and mastered by Anton Vorozhtsov, and featuring a beyond classic cover illustration by Indonesian illustrator Shynd Danendrea (Syndromea Illustration), led by the band’s consistent mascot Facemasker, How Much Is Your Mask? is a very cohesive onrush of Thrash Metal, proving those Ukrainian guys were right when they said their main goal is to make some noise in the existing metal scene in their homeland and anywhere where our good old thrash is properly appreciated.

Snap your finger, crack your neck, and get ready to slam together with the boys in World On Skulls Holding, featuring an interesting sample from the Sportpalast speech or total war speech, a speech delivered by German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels at the Berlin Sportpalast to a large, carefully selected audience on 18 February 1943 calling for a total war. Musically speaking, it is pure old school thrash for the masses where Andrii sounds utterly demented no vocals, while Olexandr showcases all his technique and rage on drums. Then the rumbling bass by Andrii and the slashing riffs by Serhii are the main ingredients in the also frantic Look Under Your Feet!, a truly arcane tune reminding me of some of the oldest and most insane creations by Exodus and Toxic Holocaust, whereas in Be Silent And Listen a classic riff-praising intro evolves into a dark and ravenous extravaganza presenting in-your-face lyrics roared by Andrii (“Has / Anyone asked what you need? / Has / Anyone asked what you feel? / We all / Consist of self-love and greed! / We are all / Just waiting for another good deal!”).

The trio jams in ominous fashion before they speed things up and add sheer madness and heaviness to their musicality in Trench Mud, another fun and electrifying display of Bay Area Thrash perfect for headbanging like a maniac with Serhii kicking ass with his riffs and solos, featuring sounds of war taken from the 1969 Soviet war movie On the way to Berlin (original title Na puti v Berlin). After such fantastic display of old school thrash it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and go mental with Anmasker in Effort To Get Out, with Serhii and Oleksandr not only smashing their instruments furiously, but their backing vocals are also amazing. In other words, this is the purest form of Thrash Metal you can think of, followed by Patients Behind, presenting more contemporary guitar lines while Andrii’s berserk vocals are effectively supported by Oleksandr’s rhythmic beats, all spiced up by sick guitar solos and endless electricity.

As the first song from the last batch of thrashing hymns we have the title-track How Much Is Your Mask?, highly recommended for slamming into the pit like a headbanging bastard to the lyrics vociferated by Andrii (“World history is just a change of masks / Be it the twenty-first AD or BC / He who can put on a mask, he survives / Who can’t like this – he quickly dies!”), while his bandmates keep playing at the speed of light. And as the last breath of insanity Anmasker offer us all That’s Enough!, a madhouse of Thrash Metal from start to finish with Andrii and Serhii sounding brutal with their strings, also bringing to our ears unstoppable beats and wicked guitar solos, ending the album in a groovy and exciting way.

The guys from Anmasker are waiting for your comments about their music on Facebook and on VKontakte, also asking you to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their razor-edged music and, above all, to put your hands on their debut album by purchasing it from their own BandCamp page, from the Alone Records’ webstore, or from Discogs. Put differently, take off your “Good Samaritan” mask and let’s all hail the pure and classic Thrash Metal played by Anmasker, with no shenanigans, no artificial elements nor any other type of add-ons or modernisms, and if you don’t like such thrilling form of heavy music, well, I feel really sorry for you.

Best moments of the album: World On Skulls Holding, Trench Mud and How Much Is Your Mask?

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Alone Records

Track listing
1. World On Skulls Holding 3:56
2. Look Under Your Feet! 4:35
3. Be Silent And Listen 4:44
4. Trench Mud 5:54
5. Effort To Get Out 4:43
6. Patients Behind 5:24
7. How Much Is Your Mask? 5:33
8. That’s Enough! 3:44

Band members
Andrii Kachanov – lead vocals, bass
Serhii Bielikov – guitar, backing vocals
Olexandr Hubko – drums, backing vocals

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