Shadow's Mignon - Midnight Sky Masquerade,
Henning Pauly is one of the most well known multi-instrumentalists in the current scene, and one that seems to take great delight producing powerful guitar-based albums that are all very different from each other (he is also a huge fan of Douglas Adams – and I still can’t believe that I was playing one of his albums for the first time on my 42nd birthday and realised that the song I was listening to was about HHGTTG, way too freaky!). He released two albums as Frameshift (the first with singer James LaBrie (Dream Theater) and the second with Sebastian Bach (ex-Skid Row)). He has released albums with Chain, solo, rock opera (Babysteps) and for this album he decided that maybe Eighties classic style metal would be an interesting way to go, and why not? He invited Juan Roos to provide the rock vocals, Stephan Kernbach to assist on keyboards and he provided everything else (of course).
He states that the influences are Dio, Whitesnake, Iron Maiden, Manowar, Rainbow, Foreigner, Ratt, Quiet Riot, Uriah Heep, Yngwie Malmsteen, Europe, Ozzy Osbourne, Gary Moore, Cinderella, Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Accept and Halloween (but not many of those bands use a banjo to introduce a song..). But you could also easily add Poison, Great White, Bonfire and a host of others. Hennning likes to say that it sounds like “Awesome Metal from the 80s, the 90s and the best of today”, and you know what? He’s right!
It is quite possible that this album may be overlooked by the target audience, just because it is on a label that is usually associated with progressive rock music (well, it is in the name), and this is not progressive rock but incredibly well executed and catchy melodic hard rock that could have been come out of the LA scene twenty years ago. Label boss Shawn Gordon has long been a friend and supporter of Henning, so there really was never any doubt where this would come out, but if you don’t normally listen to prog don’t let the name of the record company put you off – this is a hard rock lover’s delight! The album closes with a very different acoustic take of the title song (which also appears as a rocker earlier), and brings the album to a fitting close. This is an essential purchase for any fans of melodic classic rock.www.progrockrecords.com