Forgotten Door releases “Masquerade” (EP)
The talents of Las Vegas’ Forgotten Door reflect the hard work its six members have put into refining and developing both their songwriting and performing talents. Their new self-titled EP releaseis an inspired and creative collection with memorable vocals from the band’s multiple singers and Michael Seal’s guitar work featured throughout. The band can trace its origins back to the mid 1990’s when Johndale Stanley and Lonnie Danley first began playing together as a duo. The lineup expanded with the addition of singer Melody Ritz but they soon added another trio to their lineup, including guitarist Michael Seal, bassist Steve Myer, and drummer Chad Sylva. They feature four capable singers and, as a band, demonstrate considerable chemistry born from countless hours playing together. Their EP’s six tracks testify to that aforementioned work and holds up under repeated listens.
They get things off to a five star start with the title song. The lead guitar presence in this track is pronounced, but never omnipresent – Lonnie Danley’s rhythm guitar is the constant that helps, along with Brennan’s drumming, give the song its shape. It’s a spotlight moment for Ritz. She has an enchanting emotive presence throughout the song’s entirety. Their lyrical content, as well, is a cut above average without ever succumbing to self-indulgence and Ritz’s phrasing makes them come to vivid life but never lapses into strained melodrama.
One of my favorite performances on the EP comes with its second cut “Puerto Penasco”. Despite the south of the border references scattered throughout the lyrics, the musical arrangement never goes in a Latin direction, but few listeners will mind. It is a stylish and substantive cut with a layered arrangement and superb instrumental performances all around. Danley’s contributions to the track provide some of its standout moments and it is the first illustration of how utilizing multiple vocalists enhances the band’s overall presentation.
“Angie” brings a sharp change in mood. It has a near bluesy crawl and dispenses with the comparatively bright sound of the earlier cuts in favor of a more intense approach. The artful yet low key vocals match the muted musical mood but peak at all the right times and the guitar work is the best thus far on the EP. Brennan stands out here thanks to the deep groove he establishes for the track. The finale “Warm: is the EP’s best example of the band’s considerable vocal talents. They can do anything with this much skill at their disposal and the finest harmonies of the release enhance the musicality of this performance while never distracting listeners’ from its other attributes.
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Forgotten Door works within an established tradition but they are able to convey individuality in each track. There’s nothing imitative about this release. They have learned the lessons of their influences and filtered them through their own unique skill sets and personal experiences to create a release with genuine personal vision. The CDmay be an EP release, but it draws from a deeper well of imagination than many full length efforts.