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Mind:Soul: The Way It Should Be

Averaging more than a release a year since 2011's Patterns, Dutch Progressives Mind:Soul have finally released their first full album, The Way It Should Be. With a work-rate like that it is immediately apparent that taking the easy road isn't often the path preferred by this outfit, so it should come as no surprise whatsoever that for their debut album, M:S have produced a concept piece based round an almost impossible to encapsulate idea and added "voice actors" to their already challenging, if familiar sounding Progressive Metal. Love, relationships, break ups, compassion, longing, hatred and much more is all covered in some detail, with the added complication that the two main protagonists in play appear to also be carrying a huge amount of mental baggage in to these situations. Spoken conversations add to the lyrics and while they are meshed with the excellent vocals from Tom De Wit with great skill, the balance between making the actors' words carry the story and an uncomfortable tweeness of the simplicity of the words, makes some of the grand themes sound far too straight forward. The problem lies more with the sheer scope of the subject matter than it does the words and lyrics themselves but there's no denying that the female voice asking questions such as... "But I am curious though....why am I not special to you?", to which the male reply is "Why am I special to you...?", sounds forced and unnatural, and ultimately distracting. Something which is a shame when the sung lyrics to the song in question, "Pillow Talk", have a far greater and more easily acceptable flow and I'd suggest that in an effort to make The Way It Should Be stand out from the crowd, Mind:Soul have added an element to an already wide ranging album, that simply doesn't need to be there.

However, other than that there's little here to complain about, with M:S capable of mixing atmospheric synth sections to gigantic riffs, via considered and gentle passages and full on Metal growls. Unsurprisingly considering their reasonably brief time together as a band, there's little here that doesn't touch on the major players in this genre, Dream Theater, Threshold, Vanden Plas and many other bands all springing to mind. However the (mostly) well executed concept and the ever varying emotions and attacks do create a vibe that is Mind:Soul alone, which really is something to be proud of. The three guitar attack, clever use of synths, interesting vocal arrangements and classy rhythm section all contribute to make an album that impresses greatly and which also holds the interest from start to finish. Although the likes of the unnerving "Caught", brooding "Over" and the closing outburst of "One Night Alone" do stand out as highlights.

Yes, there may be a couple of issues on this album which stop it from being the complete success it often suggests it should be. However that doesn't stop The Way It Should Be from setting out the Mind:Soul stall in some style. Prog Metal fans need take note.

Track Listing
1. Breakpoint Hour
2. Novae
3. Sequence 1 (Post-Utopian)
4. Pillow Talk
5. Drown Together
6. Caught (In the Pressure Cooker)
7. Sequence 2 (Post-Dystopian)
8. I Tried to Help
9. Over
10. Sequence 3 (The Embrace of Liberation)
11. Forever
12. Sequence 4 (Mind Reset)
13. One Night Alone

Added: March 10th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Mind:Soul Online
Hits: 2299
Language: english

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