Monday, January 16, 2017

Mindahead - Reflections (2016)

Formed from former members of Evergaze Eternity, Hellrage, Athena, Exsecror and more, Italy's Mindahead prove that they are a bit more than anyone ever expected. Mixing together seventies prog landscapes with pounding metal and the Lacuna Coil style gothic metal approach is something quite new, especially with the fact that these guys are also willing to experiment and incorporate bombastic solos in areas where acts like Lacuna Coil, Theatre of Tragedy and Theatres Des Vampires wouldn't have even given them a second thought. Now it does have some modern core elements within Francesco Novelli's harsh vocal approach which could be a turn-off to some, but shouldn't really be as the band can actually save face due to their incredible approach to musicality. If you were looking for an artier approach to the gothic metal/hard gothic rock style that we've hard so much of in these days, you might just find it here. Now they're no Ram-Zet, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. To be fair, Novelli also attempts some unusual vocal styles aside from his Trivium influenced crap, which also adds to the building blocks here. A female vocalist is also featured quite a bit through the album in the form of Kyo Calati, but she doesn't necessarily have the microphone ninety-percent of the time, which is refreshing. In other words, Mindahead aren't trying to sell this band on female vocals and attractive eye-candy like so many of their peers, but overall skill – which they have tenfold.

Some of these songs are quite long folks, even ranging into the seven, eight and ten minute marks. You're not getting a bunch of “quick to the chorus” numbers here, and instead are being challenged to listen to full-fledged music tracks with a great deal of depth and texture. This is definitely due to the Matteo Ferrigno's (any relation to Lou?) carefully calculated drumming as well as the dual-guitar tag team of Nicola D'Alessio and Guido Scibetta, which combined work to create a chemistry that listeners will notice right from the start. If the overall riff and lead structures (even though I'll admit that the band throw into down-tune probably more than they should) don't work for you, then the instrumental sections and solo moments will definitely sell you on this band. You're not getting Lacuna Coil, you're not getting Dream Theater and you're not getting Trivium either. It's something sort of halfway between all of those mainstay acts and it has the possibility of becoming even better in the future.

There's an hour of music to challenge your mind here, and it most certainly will. As I have stated, there's definitely room for improvement, but with such a tremendous leap at the debut level as I'm offered here, I can't honestly see much. I can almost say without being challenged that nearly eighty percent of bands in this industry do not offer this much at a debut level. Reflections is a record that certainly requires several listens to understand, just like I remember when I was a teenager enthralled by Ram-Zet's Escape. I didn't know a record like that could possibly exist and that's just one reason I'm really excited about this band as well. Even though the band are considered progressive, they definitely incorporate slight elements that I would almost consider avant-garde, and the electronic sections utilized within some of the pieces help just as much as those of a purely atmospheric nature. I haven't heard this kind of music done this well in quite a long time, so I certainly recommend checking out Mindahead. This is the kind of music that works it's way out of the box and goes every which way but loose in order to create something that is truly worthy of the term “art.”

(11 Tracks, 61:00)


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