Album Review: Welcome To The Masquerade by Thousand Foot Krutch
—by Nathan on May 31, 2012—
Last year was a year that I really got into music. Discovering bands, buying albums. I spent a lot of money on MP3s. One of those bands was Thousand Foot Krutch. Normally, I'm the type of guy who's really drawn in by hard-rocking, head-banging songs. To my surprise, I was drawn into TFK by two of their ballads from "Welcome To The Masquerade." I'd heard their song "Already Home" on the radio before. I think I'd heard it a few times, and I liked it. It was one of those songs that lingered in my head, popping up every so often and making me wonder just who sang it. Using Facebook, I found that TFK had done it. I didn't really know anything about the Canadian rock trio and it wasn't until I heard another one of their ballads, "Look Away" that I started getting interested. Like I said, I enjoy heavier stuff, and I figured that TFK mingled with the softer type of music. So investing in WTTM was really a risk, or so I thought. I bought the album, expecting a lot of songs like "Already Home." I don't hate ballads; "Already Home" is probably my favorite TFK song and I am actually a sucker for good soft-type songs, even though I really enjoy the harder rock. To my surprise, I was wrong. The very song blasted out a rocker opener, taking me by surprise. Whoa. I love this album. TFK is a great rock band who do a very good job at infusing elements of rap and such into some of their music. After WTTM, I got two other albums, one of which was a compilation of three of their older albums smashed together into one. Though I have something like sixty TFK songs, WTTM still remains my favorite. So I'm gonna do a review on it, going over each song and saying how much I like it.
Welcome To The Masquerade: There is an intro song called "The Invitation," but that's just a minute of violins and guitars building up to this song, so I won't include it. Like I said before, this song caught me off guard. I was expecting something softer, not the heavy guitars hitting my ears. After my initial shock (and relief, cause this is what I like to hear), I found the title track to be a song about discarding your masks, showing your true self. "I'm not ashamed/I'm not to blame/Welcome to the masquerade" the chorus says. I guess TFK is trying to say that we lie to ourselves, hide ourselves under false truths and that we need to get rid of what keeps our real selves hidden. A good opening track for a great CD.
Fire It Up: Another rock song, "Fire It Up" shows a desire to, basically, "Let your light shine," as lead singer Trevor McNevan sings. Like that other song goes, "This little light of mine/ I'm gonna let it shine." This song just seems a harder anthem version of that song. This song encourages listeners to stand up for their faith, let their light shine for the whole world to see.
Bring Me To Life: The hits just keep coming. With a piano opening, "Bring Me To Life" slams into heavy guitars and drum beats. This song calls out for God to make us alive, give us the life we need and to turn away from the evil and death we have a natural tendency to follow. The break down rips into the devil. "Shut it, if you're talking to me/I'm sick and tired of all your lies and what you want me to be." It's kinda confusing, cause it seems like the band's talking to one person, but I think they're talking to two: God and Satan. A cry out against evil, "Bring Me To Life" asks for a better life.
E for Extinction: Taken from the title off an old X-Men comic (note: in a song on another CD, I've distinctly heard them say "Peter Parker," so I assume at least some of the members are comic fans), the title isn't actually used anywhere in the song. But it may make sense nevertheless. The song talks about not being the same, perhaps meaning a spiritual change. The chorus says "When we move, we camoflague ourselves/We stand in the shadows waiting." I don't think it's talking about fear, but being separate from the world. This song implements some of the faster-sung rap elements, but not as heavy as other tracks. A good song, all-in-all. And, heck, maybe it's just talking about mutants.
Watching Over Me: After a string of rock, pump-your-fist head-bangers, the album slides into its first ballad, which to me isn't as good as "Look Away" or "Already Home." The song is a call out to God, saying we know He's watching us like an angel, how He cares for us, how He helps us when we're broken. I guess it's also implying that He helps us after we take the mask off, the mask TFK encourages us to discard. I'm not going to say it's a bad song; I just don't like it as much. The message is good, but I'm picky about certain songs. It grows on me, but there are other songs I like better.
The Part That Hurts The Most (Is Me): Another one of those songs that attacks Satan and evil. It makes it sound like evil is something we crave when we really should be avoiding it and pushing it away. The chorus is amusing cause it goes like this: "The part that hurts the most/Is me/The most/Is you" So you could pretty much exchange "the most" for "you." So, I guess it's like "Bring Me To Life," switching between talking to God and Satan. Again, the breakdown is an attack, yelling at Satan to get out and get away.
Scream: The desire to get away from evil is a constant theme in this album, and "Scream" is one of those types of songs. Not only is it a song that talks about shaking off the burden, it relates to others who desire to get rid of our mistakes and take ahold of the second chance we've been given. Maybe the "Scream" part is calling out to God for deliverance or simply crying out from the pain and agony one can endure when trying to shake off old burdens...and, despite the title, there is no screaming, so non-metalheads rejoice.
Look Away: When it comes to certain ballads, TFK does a really good job. Like I said, this song was one of the reasons I purchased the CD. It talks about people who are hurt or have problems. Certain people tell you to ignore it, but TFK encourages you to take you problems and turn them into blessings. They tell you not to look away, to stand up to your issues and look at them and figure our what to do with them. The cool part about this sons is that each body stanza tells a story about an individual. I don't know if Trevor McNevan dabbles in writing, but his lyrics tell good stories in a great song.
Forward Motion: This song encourages listeners on dealing with other people, or so I think. It encourages listeners to keep on going, not letting emotion get in the way of our relationships. It's a song to keep going as well, to trust in God when things get hard. It tells us that we are capable of changing and keep on going through these changes.
Outta Control: Instead of being a song about removing masks and defeating problems, this song achieves the opposite effect. It tells of what happens of what happens when we DON'T remove our masks. We start "spinnin' out of control/Not knowing which way to go." It tells that, when the problems control us, we lose control over them and ourselves. The chorus asks God for help for us to get everything back under control. I guess it shows that we can't do it on our own.
Smack Down: The song sounds like a homage to Queen's "We Will Rock You," complete with the clap-stomp sounds in the background. It talks about standing up to the enemy, about getting ready for a showdown. The chorus goes "Get ready for the Smack Down," warning the enemy that something's come to take 'em down. A fist-pumping anthem gathering together the good guys and pitting them against the bad guys.
Already Home: The main reason I got the album, and it's the last track of the CD. I guess not everything's perfect. After a 50-some second intro of slow violins (which I usually fast forward), the song heads into one of the more original bodies I've heard. "The trouble with truth is it never lies/And the trouble with wrong's is it's never right." There are a few more after that, but I like the originality. Then it heads into an incredible chorus, talking about how we can come before God when we're broken. We take off the masks and need God to make us new faces. See the pattern? TFK does a great job weaving it through the whole album, culminating it in this awesome ballad, bringing us before God. I guess there's a reason it's the very last song. One of the best songs I've ever heard and most likely the best ballad I've ever heard, "Already Home" is a brilliant song, the best on the CD.
TFK is a great, talented band, able to create great songs. WTTM is proof of that. Their other CDs are good, but none better than this. "Fire It Up" is the ultimate fist-pumper. "Already Home" is an incredible ballad. The band has many great songs on this album, and I hope they do more in the future.