It takes Mind Gate more than 32 minutes to play just four songs on the self-released demo, Willow Whisper. But that's more than enough time to get a feel for the progressive-metal leanings of this Polish band. Actually, the staccato riffs, Middle-Eastern flair and Dream Theater-style forays into self indulgence on "Before Time," along with the death-metal growls crossed with acoustic noodling on "Madness," are really all you need to hear. If you just can't get enough, there's also a shorter piece ("Arcs of Fallen Heaven") and a rather aimless yet heavy finale ("Lost Dreams"). Reportedly, these tracks are part of a concept album currently in development by the band.
Mind Gate began in 2000 with four guys who didn't know how to play their instruments. They've now expanded to five and are able to competently make music. But unfortunately, they also hooked up with singer Robert Czerwik, whose shaky and pained voice doesn't complement the band's sound. In fact, Czerwik's vocals are so jarring that they're liable to distract listeners from the album's fairly accomplished musicianship.
I'm not holding my breath for Mind Gate's full-length sequel to Willow Whisper, but I am curious to see how (or if) these songs have evolved.