"Bauhaus (and their lack of mainstream acceptance) is proof perfect that people prefer their music bland, mindless, and about ten years behind the times. Basically formed by art students who loved punk and Bowie in equal measure, Bauhaus was a ship with the perfect crew: the innovative Daniel Ash screaming guitar licks over the tribal rumble of the Haskins brothers, David J. and Kevin. And then there was Peter Murphy: an emaciated cross-dressing ghoul who twisted and writhed across the stage. His angular good looks and lunatic mannerisms swept those who saw them into the Love 'Em and Hate 'Em camps. I plant my flag in the former, and this album contains every reason why. While their first album is a ravaging classic that defined their unique sound and B&W 1920's aesthetic, "Mask" boasts some of their best tunes. "Hollow Hills", inspired by an Arthur Machen story that cautions those who would tamper with prehistoric sites and their invisible occupants, is Bauhaus at their most atmospheric and poetic. "Dancing" and "Of Lillies and Remains" (the first dealing with all the places one can dance, the second some kind of surreal snippet about ghosts, weird fluids leaking out of orifices, and someone named Clancy) show that the boys had an incredible sense of the absurd, "Muscle In Plastic" is a primal workout, "Hair of the Dog" is a grinding opener with a fantastically creative guitar line, and "The Passion of Lovers" is a Spanish-ish ode to lovers and their pursuit- death in each others arms. "In Fear of Fear" (like "Dancing") actually features Daniel Ash on saxophone, "Man with the X-Ray Eyes" slams forward like a rugby team of Neanderthals, and the title track is eerie and glorious (check out the video for it, if you can find "Shadow of Light"- nowhere is the band's horror movie sensibility more evident). The bonus tracks are interesting, especially the one in which Peter relates an unusual way of making fish cakes- stuffing the creatures with potatoes before smashing them up! Basically, this album shows that Bauhaus was a group of talented, creative guys that all shared a morbid sense of humor, a passion for the bizarre, but were in no way a contrived bunch of goth types. Those came later."
An Interesting Progression
R. Brown | HSV, AR | 04/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After making a cornerstone album in gothic music ("In The Flat Field") Bauhaus apparently decided that it would be a good idea to make a dance-friendly version of said record. Mask only really holds true to what you may consider true Bauhaus form in such tracks as "The Passion of Lovers" "Hollow Hills" and "Mask", the rest of this album is consistent (mostly) of spooky-pop tracks that may make you question your existence if you're of the mascara-wearing-all-black-dressing-death-rock-loving mold (and not in the usually sad bastard questioning of existence kind of way either). If you get the CD it has a bonus Ska song! Neat, huh? I almost like this album better than it's predecessor if only for the simple fact that it shows that Bauhaus were capable of changing style on the listener without straying too far from genre in aesthetic. This holds true my belief that there is a "Bauhaus for Every Situation"(TM) behold: You've got "In The Flat Field" if you're looking for some textbook goth/post punk fun. "Mask" is the album for when you're looking for fun, and, although you meant to pull out your Madness album and accidentally grabbed this instead, it can still serve the same purpose (uh..kind of..). In conclusion, "Mask" is good. It's different and that's what makes it great. Although "Mask" isn't going to make your average purist goth-wanker very happy, just remember that no one cares what purist goth-wankers think anyway.
Key Tracks: "Passion of Lovers", "Of Lillies and Remains""
Skittish people beware
Matthew A. Schaldach | Sacramento, Ca. | 05/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I hate the term Goth. It just lumps everyone who wears black into the same brooding category. By that definition Avril Levine is Goth. Bauhaus is much more than the sum of its parts. With sparse atmospheric guitars, haunting vocals and syncopated rhythms Bauhaus has one foot in the graveyard and the other in the land of Ziggy Stardust. I can't imagine "Hollow Hills"; a song about fairy hills and what happens to unsuspecting human travelers who wander into them, ever being played on the radio. With a passion for the minimalistic, Bauhaus somehow manages to create a sound that fills your head with visions of dancing skeletons, and wailing banshees across the moors. Listen with the lights off if you dare."
Magnum Opus Bauhaus
Jack | North Carolina | 08/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've owned most of Bauhaus' worthwhile stuff in some way shape or form but this CD is their masterpiece without question. Its their darkest release and if you like this band you really must have this one.
Today, this album is definately a bit dated but upon release was downright spooky.
Killer tracks: This album should be taken as a whole but: Passion of Lovers, Hollow Hills and Mask are standouts."