MAYFAIR — Behind

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MAYFAIR - Behind cover
4.25 | 2 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1993

Filed under Progressive Metal
By MAYFAIR

Tracklist

1. Behind (3:00)
2. Advanced in Years (6:00)
3. Generation Isolated (4:14)
4. Madame Pest (4:33)
5. Schlaflos Mude (5:31)
6. Ecstasy (5:58)

Total Time: 29:16

Line-up/Musicians

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About this release

Reissued April 5, 2013, on Pure Prog Records in a two-disc version with the following bonus tracks:

1 Daily Screams - demo 1991
2 Man of Sorrows - demo 1991
3 Adam - demo 1994
4 Dear Julia - demo 1994
5 Tears - demo 1994
6 Last Spring - demo 1994
7 Fegefeuer - rehearsal 1992
8 Individual Circus - rehearsal 1992
9 Emptiness - rehearsal 1992
10 Man of Sorrows - rehearsal 1992

Thanks to metalbaswee, Time Signature for the updates

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MAYFAIR BEHIND reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
Despite sounding like a brand name for some kind of kitchen appliance, MAYFAIR was actually amongst good company in the first wave of early 1990s progressive metal having formed in 1989 in the far western city of Frastanz, Austria situated directly next to the tiny micronation of Liechtenstein. This band released three albums in the 1990s with the first one being this debut titled BEHIND… After a long hiatus MAYFAIR returned in 2013 with “Schlage Mein Herz, Schlage” and then released another couple albums after that.

While the lineup has changed in its second coming, the early members included Mario "le Fate" Prünster (vocals), René (guitar), Mötle (bass) and Little (drums). Despite having been together for over three decades now, MAYFAIR still remains a mysterious and oddball band which sounded a bit different than anything that has existed ever since. The original 1993 release of BEHIND… featured six strong tracks that barely seeped past the 29-minute mark on the General Inquisitor label but has since been reissued in 2013 on the Pure Prog label with a bonus CD of unreleased tracks, various demos and alternate versions of the tracks.

While coming off as an eccentric style of progressive alternative metal with a hypnotic cyclical loop riffing style that reminds a little bit of Tool, MAYFAIR adds the exotic flair of exquisite ethnic percussive nuances with sophisticated drum rolls and varying percussive sounds as well as implementing what sounds like Euroopean folky melodic touches making it all sound quite unique. What really makes MAYFAIR stand out though has to be the dramatic vocal antics of lead singer Mario Prünster who has the flamboyant tendencies of Devil Doll but sounds a bit like a trippier Geddy Lee of Rush at times. What also comes to mind is the metal version of Gnidrolog at least in terms of the vocals and idiosyncratic unorthodoxies.

BEHIND… implements a very hypnotic atmospheric approach yet features strong bass grooves, grungy yet melodic guitar heft and a nice diverse palette of percussion. The compositions are fairly short for progressive metal with no tracks exceeding six minutes but the composiitons are a bit avant-garde in how they unfold. In some ways, MAYFAIR reminds me of an alternative version of the French band Ange as it comes across as somewhat theatrical yet carries an alternative metal heft in vein of Tool and similar 90s alt metal bands. Despite the influences MAYFAIR sounds utterly unique with plenty of creative mojo firing on all pistons. Not the heaviest or fastest metal you could experience but certainly one that carries mystique and subtle beauty.
Time Signature
Highly original progressive metal album reissued...

Genre: progressive metal

Originally released in 1993, Mayfair's debut album "Behind" was probably one of the most original progressive releases that year, and probably also one of the most undeservedly obscure releases. It is progressive metal, but it is more than just progressive and just metal. Aspects of it even beyond description through mere words and have to experienced first hand. It has indeed been a cult album. But "Behind" is going to be reissued on Pure Prog Records in early April in a luxury edition which also features a bonus disc of rare demo material.

So, "Behind" might lose its cult status, but it will deservedly be made available to a broader audience and to younger fans of progressive metal who were not even around when it came out back in 1993.

Combining dynamic prog metal drums in the vein of Mike Portnoy and Mark Zonder, but more restrained, with distorted guitars that are sometimes atmospheric and sometimes aggressive, "Behind" is generally a very dynamic album, which takes the listener through several moves and passages, twists and turns. Another dynamic aspect is the juxtaposition of distorted guitars and clean guitars, while the bass, being placed smack in the middle, is both a backbone element and the string instrument that really pokes out. In a Voivod-fashion, most of the songs on the album feature sections with dissonant chords, which nicely challenges the listener, and at the same time stands in an interesting contrast to the Gothic mood guitars that characterize 'Generation Isolated', 'Madame Pest', and 'Ecstasy'.

In addition to the prog and gothic elements, there is a certain avant-garde feel to the album, which partially stems from Mario Prünster's unique way of singing, which sounds a bit like a cross between Geddy Lee and Jello Biafra and a fin de siecle funhouse. In other words, the vocals are an acquired taste, but they are also part of what makes this album so unique, and, well, I think Mario Prünster's singing is awesome.

Production-wise, the reissued version, although it has been remastered, still sounds quite fuzzy and raw. And, you know what, I quite like that. It has authenticity, and has not been made too polished.

Then there is, of course there are the bonus tracks. Among these are all three tracks from the "Find my Screams behind this Gate" demo tape from 1991 as well as some previously unreleased material. These bonus tracks are just as elaborate and dynamic as those on "Behind", displaying the same artistically adventurous spirit. The production quality of the bonus tracks varies from being pretty good to being very raw (this applies in particular to the last four tracks which were recorded in the bands rehearsal room back in the 1990s).

Progressive and challenging, the reissued version of "Behind" should, in its entirety, appeal to fans of as diverse progressive metal acts as Psychotic Waltz, Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Watchtower, Thine, Atheist, Hammers of Misfortune, Chowder, and Sorrows Path. It is truly unique and deserves being rereleased to a broader audience.

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