MAYFAIR — Behind (review)

MAYFAIR — Behind album cover Album · 1993 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
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.
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