Project Masquerade


Born in the town Heerlen in the south of the Netherlands. In his early teens music took a hold of Noud’s life after receiving a gift from his neighbour: a package with vinyl records from artists like Deep Purple, Steppenwolf and Jimi Hendrix. Coming from a family who loves music (both his grandfathers used to sing in a choir and his father played saxophone for 9 years) Noud bought his first electric guitar at the age of 15 and started taking lessons. It was time to start playing live with local bands.

In 1985 Noud got an invitation from Lions Pride from Belgium who had just released their first album on Mausoleum and departed with one of their guitar players. The band played a lot of gigs in Belgium and Holland, also at the Shockwave Festival in Belgium where the gig was filmed for a video to support the new album (that unfortunately was never recorded.)

Noud left Lionspride, and started to study film and photography for four years. Besides that he started his own band Masquerade. The band recorded one demo in 1989 that turned out to be a real killer selling about 400 copies (and that’s without the internet) and played gigs supporting bands like Crimson Glory, Hellstar and Elegy.

In the summer of 1994 he recorded 8 tracks as Project Masquerade with Rob Snijders (now with Agua de Annique) on drums and a few different metal singers like Gregoor vd Loo who was playing with Lemur Voice at that time, Hans Reinders from Form and Michel Zandbergen who played with bands like Picture. The final mix was done bij Ron Lieberton (Zinatra)

At the end of 2001 Noud joined a band that ended up to become New Breed. As winner of the “Westerpopbokaal”, a prestigious bandcompetition in the south-west of Holland, New Breed became a well known metal crossoverband in the Netherlands.

In jan 2002 the band recorded its first 5 track self-financed CD titled “Cut the Crap” which was very well received by the press and rated in the Music Maker magazine as Dutch cd with the most innovative guitarwork with 4 out of 5 stars. The band was offered to record a promo single at the famous Harrow studio in Losser. “Lost’ was released in 2003 and the media responded even better.

With american producer Chris Barth, New Breed + guest “Noneedles” recorded “Back in your love” for the Herman Brood tribute-album “Skinny bones and Monsters”, Released in 2004. The track was mastered by Grammy Award winner Bob katz. In 2004 the band also recorded a track for the Dutch movie Heilig Bloed.

Noud starts building his own small recordingstudio in 2008 and kicks off writing demo’s for a solo cd. He also playes live with Edge of Serenity who just released a debuutalbum on the US label Romulus X records and with singer songwriter Grain. In februari 2010 the Adrenaline / Steelheart Records label released the Masquerade album ‘Cybernetic Empire’, which is a compilation of the complete works of the Dutch band from 1989 to 1994. The album received great international reviews.

Project Masquerade contains a line-up of some well known names in progressive / power / metal circles provide the potent performances on the album. Drums come from Dennis Leeflang (Bumblefoot, Lita Ford, Sun Caged), Bass tracks are performed by Barend ‘The Bear’ Courbois, (Blind Guardian, Michael Lee Firkins, Vengeace, Steve Fister), Mark Brekelmans (Xystus, Edge of Serenity, Selfmachine) and Doug Odell (Ted Poley & session player). Noud Smeets is also proud to introduce some great vocals on the album by Chandler Mogel (Outloud), Dmitry Kostitsyn (Hung), Daniel Verbrugge ( Ethereal), Michel Zandbergen (Masquerade, Picture) and dutch singer-songwriter Grain.

Musically, Project Masquerade leans towards the classic heavy metal sound with moments of complex heavy thunder rhythm contrast with groovy based melodic parts. Of course brilliant solo sections and singable choruses. All of which give the album its own distinctive sound. It’s all about energy, aggression, melodies and finesse.

Lyrically the album tries to find themes in specific stories and circumstances. Opening track DISEASE tells the story of Persian born scientist and polymath Ibn al-Haytham (known in the West as Alhazen) Alhazen made significant contributions to the principles of optics, as well as to physics, astronomy, mathematics, ophthalmology, philosophy, visual perception, and to the scientific method. He is considered as the father of modern optics. MASTERPLAN, the only instrumental track in the album is based on ‘Metropolis’, a movie directed by Fritz Lang in 1927.
Another important theme on the album is ‘finding your soulmate’, represented by two tracks: ‘Carve your heart’ and ‘ Restless Souls’. When a child is born it has a male or a female soul and you have to search all your life to find the opposite part. These two opposites have no power alone. But when united they have the power to create in this world.

The last of the recording sessions were finished just after Noud saw his first child born during the album creation.

Recorded in the Netherlands and in New York and mixed and mastered by Tommie Bonajo (Blindsight) at the Tomsterproject studio, this album is a masterpiece. And topped by the fantastic artwork by Noud Smeets, the entire package comes off as one of this years most impressive heavy/power metal releases


Noud Smeets: 7 and 8 string guitars, keyboards


Dennis Leeflang: Drums
Barend ‘The Bear’ Courbois: Bass (track 1, 3, 5,6)
Mark Brekelmans: Bass (track 4)
Doug Odell: Bass (track 2)
Chandler Mogel: Vocals (track 1,6)
Grain: Vocals (track 4)
Dmitri Kostitsyn: Vocals (track 2)
Daniel Verbrugge: Vocals (track 4)
Michel Zandbergen: Vocals (track 3)
Suzy Silverstein: backingvocals (track 2)

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