Mask the Wretch claim to “promote self-respect, strength, loyalty, heart and passion”, and while this sounds refreshing and exciting at first, if you’re expecting positive Hatebreed style musings from ‘Age of Deception’ then you’ll be disappointed.
Instrumentally, Mask the Wretch are solid, and while the majority of ‘Age of Deception’ is made up of the tried-and-tested riffs and breakdowns pattern, there are also standout moments such as the chunky opening and great drumming of ‘Unshielded’. Unfortunately it’s when you listen to the lyrics that the cracks begin to show.
Mask the Wretch seem to thrive on criticising, so instead of writing songs with a positive, moral slant, they instead come across like an unwantedly preachy relative. With lines like “I think you would want more from yourself, living every day at the back of the shelf” and “never understand how you can live like that, what happened to caring for each other?”, it feels like you’re on the receiving end of a sermon. Its grating, and while you’d expect Mask the Wretch’s message to leave you feeling uplifted, it ends up feeling needlessly critical.
Another unfortunate aspect of this is the delivery of the lyrics themselves, Mask the Wretch cannot write a line without wrangling it into a rhyming couplet, no matter how stupid it sounds. This results in cringy drivel such as, “my friend walk free and live the best you can be / these are the words I give to you from me.”
Mask the Wretch claim to be about positivity, and while they certainly take a moralistic stance it ends up feeling more like a 30-minute lecture than anything you’d actually want to listen to. ‘Age of Deception’ is tolerable for the instrumentation alone.
‘Age of Deception’ by Mask the Wretch is out now via Autumn + Colour.
Words by Jay Sullivan