Release Date: 1975

Track Listing
1)  It Takes A Woman's Love (To Make A Man)
2)  Two Cents Worth
3)  Icarus (Borne on Wings of Steel)
4)  All The World
5)  Child of Innocence
6)  It's You
fast b
7)  Mysteries and Mayhem
8)  The Pinnacle
9)  BONUS TRACK-Child of Innocence (rehersal recording)
10)  BONUS TRACK-It's You (demo)

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Member: Sean (Profile) (All Album Reviews by Sean)
Date: 6/15/2002
Format: CD (Album)

The band Kansas is often underestimated and unappreciated by progressive rock fans. The average person hears only the hits, "Dust In The Wind" and "Carry On Wayward Son", on the radio, and unfortunately many people don’t look beyond those songs, thinking foolishly that those 2 songs sum up all that the Kansas sound was/is about. That could not be further from the truth. Granted the band always had a few ‘pop’ rock tunes on each album, they were always mixed in with many grand prog epics. The first 3 albums by the band- the self titled debut Kansas, contained some prog masterworks (incuding "Journey From Mariabronn" and "Apercu/Death of Mother Nature Suite"), and the second album, "Song For America", inculuded even more extended pieces (like the excellent title track, "Lamplight Symphony" and "Hymn To The Atman" (soul). By the time Kansas recorded their third album, Masque, the record company was starting to pressure them to produce a hit (in those days bands work up to a hit over the course of 2 or 3 albums, those days are sadly gone now- you have to have a hit out of the gate or it’s “See ya, NEXT!”), so Masque contains a couple attempts at a “hit” record. These are good songs, especially “It’s You” and “Two Cents Worth”. But, luckily, the rest of the album is an uncompromising masterpiece that reeks of American progressive rock. Masque contains some of the bands strongest compositions including - “Icarus: Borne on Wings of Steel” which has become a standard in the Kansas catalog for their diehard fans, and a live staple. “All The World” has become a forgotten Kansas epic and surely worth looking into. “Child of Innocence” is a rocking proggish tune featuring alternating vocals by Steve Walsh and Robby Steinhardt. The finest pieces though were actually once intended to be one 15 minute epic. Possibly the greatest piece of Kansas music ever- "Mysteries and Mayhem" and "The Pinnacle" as they are now known, were made into two songs- cut right in half- in hopes of airplay. It did’nt work. Live, this was an amazing piece that the band played in it’s 15 minute entirety. I can’t begin to put into words how this music sounds, just trust me and go check it out. Kansas has a lot more to offer prog fans than a lot of people may lead you to believe. Take the time to find out for yourself. Masque is a great place to start. It was recently remastered and reissued after being out of print (fans demand was huge and when Sony came to the band to discuss remastering the best seller, Leftoverture, the band insisted that Masque would be part of the deal or no dice, Sony agreed) and is easy to come by. It has a couple bonus tracks now as well. Enjoy!
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Member: Chuck AzEee! (Profile) (All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
Date: 6/15/2002
Format: CD (Album)

The third album of the greatest American progressive rock band Kansas, originally released in late 1975, is finally available once again to the public after being curiously deleted for a number of years, in a new remastered form with its booklet containing excellent linear notes and wonderful photos.

Often being overlooked, Masque, was released after the great Song Of America, and although most believe that Masque is not on par with its predecessor, some of the bands greatest songs were on this gem.

The album begins like the first album, with a couple of non-prog songs that as mentioned in the CD's linear notes, were an obvious take on trying to please their then manager, Don Kirshner. "It Takes A Woman" is an upbeat track that has a ragtime-pop like beat that seemed a little too ambitious for the record buying public in 1975. Next up is the laid-back boogie of "Two Cents Worth". I always liked this song, but yet, like its predecessor might be a little "twee" for with limited attention spans. Now with the next track, the album starts cooking. "Icarus", is one of the great Kansas songs and remained a live staple for years. Next is "All The World", is a wonderful song that about the world's problems. Kind like a progressive version of Phil Collin's "Another Day in Paradise", although not as sappy. After having tears welling up in your eyes after "All The World", things heat up again with another great, the rockish "Child Of Innocence". "It's You" tends to throw of the momentum of the previous greats, but Kansas returns to form once again with "Mysteries And Mayhem", which is just a taster for another of Kansas opus "The Pinnacle".

"Masque" might not be the best Kansas album, but some of the band's best material came from this album.


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Member: Hunnibee
Date: 5/11/2006

I was surprised to find out that the band is not particularly fond of this album! In addition to the ‘big four’ (“Icarus”, “Child of Innocence”, “Mysteries and Mayhem”, and “The Pinnacle”), I believe there is a lot to be proud of here. While the "Big Four" are staples in the regular Kansas diet, other treats should not be overlooked.

The distinct southern rock/pop sound was very popular in the mid-70s, and Masque fit right in with the opening cuts, “It Takes A Woman’s Love (to Make a Man)” and bluesy “Two Cents Worth”. “It Takes A Woman’s Love” has been vilified by many Kansas fans, but I actually like it! Normally, I’m a big critic of Steve Walsh’s love songs, but this time, the fun and funky beat seem to jibe well with the lyrics. The piano work on this song is excellent! Too bad it did not go very far as a hit single.

I like to call “All the World” the band’s ‘hippie song’. The lyrics are beautiful and reflect the politics of that era. The violin is incredible, too. While some might find it ‘mushy’ by today's standards, it's still a strong song to give us hope for world peace.

The magical genius of Kerry Livgren is so evident with the ‘big four’; I feel he truly was honing his songwriting skills on this album. “Icarus” instantly became my favorite Kansas song the moment I first heard it. Robby’s violin is fantastic, and the guitars do not disappoint. I truly loved this song at that time and still do today!

“Child of Innocence” is a powerful song, both musically and lyrically, and the hard rocking “Mysteries and Mayhem” is over the top (and a personal favorite of mine). The popularity of these two songs alone should have made this album more successful. “The Pinnacle” is a slower song, but nevertheless, sends chills up my spine with its strong, creative imagery! It is obvious that Kerry was seriously exploring Christianity at this time, but somehow, these songs are not a turn-off for most non-believers. The lyrics can speak to anybody; one of the reasons Kerry is one of my favorite all-time songwriters!

So, what’s the problem here, guys? I don’t see a problem at all! This is just another great Kansas album that rocks my socks! The ‘big four’s prog sound mixes well with the other funky, bluesy songs and balances out the whole album. Masque has a flavor that needs to be tasted more often.
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