Pop-punk icons MEST have exploded back into the scene with Masquerade, notably with their 2005 lineup. This is bound to please old fans and even inspire new ones since the band has not had a full consecutive independent release since 2005’s Photographs. Coming back in typical MEST fashion, the band has always believed in keeping things very Do-It-Yourself and independent and this release was no exception. Back in March of last year Frontman Tony Levato posted the Kickstarter campaign that would reach great success where over 939 backers pledged $54,227 to help bring this project to life, resulting in the album we all wanted and craved after 13 years.
From out of the gate, MEST hasn’t lost a step as the album starts off with the same contagious pop-punk riffs and choruses we have come to expect from these genre veterans at their greatest with single “Masquerade”. With a melodic intro that turns into the nostalgic fierce and agitated signature sound we are used to hearing, it feels as if we are coming back home yet also hearing a much more atmospheric,mature, and dynamic sound from the seasoned pop-punk polymaths.
Other moments that stand out on the album are “Almost Forgot” and “The Silence Left Behind” which is a slower paced song compared to the rest of the tracks on Masquerade but delivers a very multifaceted sonic and vocal experience. Still delivering that same evocative punk soundscape in an typical MEST fashion, its hard not to picture this as a track not doing well within a concert setting as its lyrics are catchy and hit an emotional high-mark on the album itself. “The Numbers” is also takes us wistfully back with more star grade emotionally drawing lyricism intermingling with Jeremiah Rangel and Tony Lovato’s fantastic dual-vocals. Satisfying track “Don’t Worry Son” shows creatively where the band is in there lives and puts a subtle time-stamp on the work as whole. “Upside Down” is the highlight of the album as it is a more raw punk and undeniably real pugnacious sound experience from the band that shows that MEST can contend with newer acts within the genre currently.
Overall this is an album that was very necessary for a band that has been in the scene and successful for so many years. Proving that the band can still craft a nostalgic, hard-hitting record that makes us take a second look at the band after being away from the scene for so long. For fans of the pop-punk genre that is effortlessly nostalgic yet still catchy at the same time, this is the listen for you.