Florida rap-rock trio, UnMasked, have knocked it out of the park with their third album since 2017, Feels Like Home. With a unique blend of Thousand Foot Krutch and NF with a little Eminem sprinkled in, UnMasked is breaking genre boundaries with a sound both hip-hop and rock fans can get behind.
The album opens with energetic hip-hop and heavy guitars in “Fahrenheit.” The voice of the guitarist, Josh, echoes through the breaks in the beautifully crafted chaos; the refrain steps into the mind of a person with social anxiety: “It’s getting hot in here / somebody crack a window / so I can vent my fears / to someone who’s in control.”
“Ain’t My Game” keeps the high energy going with a combination of speedy rhymes from Jeremiah “Zero” and steady beats from drummer Jeff. This song center on the transparency of the band through the many masks artists are influenced to wear.
While the raps remain fast, the beat thins and tempo slows in “Better Things.” The rap gets real, breaking into the mentality of ostracized individuals driven to the edge: “You scare me / You jamming me to bits / I can’t take another hit / And all I ever did to you was be different / How do you feel now?”
The next two tracks slow way down. A stripped down beat and acoustic guitar guide the brutally honest depiction of the music industry in the lyrics for “I Get It.” The album’s interlude “Feel For Me” stands out from the remainder of the album, featuring little more than clean vocals with a piano accompaniment. It’s a beautiful melody filled with raw pain from a depressed soul.
The album picks up the pace again with catchy rhymes and beats in “Updown.” The heavy riffs and hard rock tone come full force into the mix with “Ctrl C” and “Yeah.” The latter of the two is purely an energy booster; however, “Ctrl C” is an anthem of resistance, calling out: “We won’t, we won’t, we won’t compromise!”
Retreating back into the feel of classic hip-hop, “Night-Night” pulls you in to the realm of self-doubt and questioning that lives in the darkness when sleep refuses to come. The lyrics of this one remain as genuine as the rest of the album: “Can’t hide from the thoughts around / Can’t hide in the dark from sound / Can’t write when the ink is out / The light’s getting closer now.”
“Possibilities” begins with a passionate speech; the mood continues to grow while the song explores the concept of rising from rock bottom. It’s a song that encourages the listener to think deeper, while also perfectly setting up the album’s conclusion, “Feels Like Home.” With a nostalgic mood set by the cello of Tate Olsen (Skillet), the title track is a bittersweet look at the transition between innocence and the changes of adulthood. The song finishes with a glimpse of comfort in the words:
“I didn’t know you, but now that I do
I’ll walk beside you, my friend.”
With a variety of emotions and messages packed deep within every song, UnMasked has created an album that feels like life. Their strong convictions and brutal honesty mixed with a unique sound makes them stand out from the pack. This trio is definitely a band to keep an eye on.
Related Artists: Thousand Foot Krutch, NF, Eminem