Following the disbandment of Shawn Helton’s previous post-punk act The Opposite Sex, Helton spent much of the last decade deconstructing world events. This became the creative driver for his new endeavour, Memory Mask, a synth-based music project boasting elements of darkwave, post-punk revival, shoegaze and synthwave. Memory Mask released their debut album, Empire Land, May 27th 2020, and now they’ve got a new offering.
In the Spring of 2020, Memory Mask partnered up with George Grant of NYC’s Black Rose Burning after releasing a series of track previews from Empire Land. BRB approached Memory Mask prior to the release of the album about creating a series of remixes and track reboots. The result of this long-distance collaboration is a five-track EP entitled Empire Land Rebooted, out November 11th, 2020.
“Thematically, throughout the entirety of Empire Land, there’s a story arc that fuses lyrical commentary concerning the human condition, hidden history and political conspiracy,” says Helton. Within each electronic-based creation, Helton’s harrowing, yet melodic vocals cascade over slabs of heavily distorted synthesizers, dark reverb-laden drums and ethereal drones.
The newly redesigned songs have completely new arrangements and new production that include new guitars, bass, drums, and additional synths. On Empire Land Rebooted, BRB’s Grant has contrasted dream pop-driven guitars with dark bass grooves, packaged in a highly stylized modern production, recalling a 80’s dreamscape veneer. Shades of Killing Joke permeate their sound.
The pair shine on tracks such as Starless Skies – Moondust Reboot, Colder Years – Daylight Reboot and Days of Zero – Nighttime Reboot. Helton’s impassioned vocals are anthemic when juxtaposed against Grant’s shimmering, layered production work. The album’s opener, Empire Land – Revelation Reboot, has elements of funk and dark post-punk that immediately reminds one of Bauhaus and NIN. Coat of Arms – The Ark Reboot harkens back to a Depeche Mode-style track with a memorable, sweeping chorus.
Empire Land Rebooted is out now. Order Here
Enjoy the offerings below!