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Communic: Conspiracy in Mind

Norway is usually prone to an influx of extreme metal or progressive rock bands, but here with the debut from Communic on Nuclear Blast Records we see the country producing a seriously kick ass mix of progressive and power metal with this trio. Mixing elements from bands such as Nevermore, Iced Earth, and Fates Warning, Communic's debut Conspiracy in Mind consists of seven lengthy and highly melodic tunes jam-packed with intelligent lyrics and superior musical instrumentation. You want complex & heavy riffs-you got 'em! You want high pitched, forceful vocals-this CD has plenty of that. You want intricate lead & rhythm work-there's no shortage of that either. Sound like something intriguing? You bet!

Many bands try to be heavy and progressive at the same time, and most fail, but not Communic, who manage to weave moody tapestries that ebb and flow quite nicely while still managing to kick some serious ass in the headbanging department. "History Reversed" is a perfect example of this, a complex tune with layers of intricate guitar riffs and harmonies from Oddleif Stensland, whose Warrel Dane-ish vocals also show lots of range and emotion. Drummer Tor Atle Andersen remains very busy throughout the CD, his precision drumming up front in the mix, parrying well off the nimble bass work of cohort Erik Mortensen. Studio keyboard player Peter Jensen adds some atmosphere to "They Feed On Our Fear", a ten-minute prog-rock opus with haunting vocals, massive guitars, and machine gun rhythms. Think of a more progressive, melodic, and atmospheric Nevermore and you get somewhat of an idea of what this band sounds like.

The band goes for the power-metal jugular vein on the galloping "Communication Sublime", and create some super melodies & harmonies on the addicting 'The Distance", a very majestic yet heavy piece. Huge guitar riffs are all the rage on the doomy "Ocean Bed", a textured piece with lots of varied percussion sounds and effective bass work. At 6:44, it's also the shortest piece on the CD. The heaviest piece is saved for last, the cranking prog-metal workout 'Silence Surrounds". Featuring complex guitar riffs and amazing drumming from Andersen, this piece also sees Stensland hitting some outrageously high notes to go along with his more emotional mid-range vocals.

Conspiracy In Mind is a very solid debut, extremely well produced, well written, and well played. Fans of epic sounding progressive metal will be well advised to check this out, and I think we will see some big things from this band in the years to come.

Track Listing
1) Conspiracy in Mind (7:38)
2) History Reversed (6:48)
3) They Feed On Out Fear (9:53)
4) Communication Sublime (7:28)
5) The Distance (7:56)
6) Ocean Bed (6:44)
7) Silence Surrounds (10:54)

Added: March 24th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 4383
Language: english

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Communic: Conspiracy in Mind
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-03-24 06:56:23
My Score:

Clearly influenced by early Queensryche and Dream Theater the band Communic have delivered a very good piece of Metal to the public. With their release of "Conspiracy In Mind" on Nuclear Blast Records the band has shown that not all music coming from Norway needs to be Black or Death Metal. I found it interesting to hear this very progressive layered Metal as opposed to the thundering of bands like Dimmu Borgir and Borknagar for the most part. The band is only three members strong with Oddleif Stensland (vocals and guitar), Tor Atle Andersen (drums) and Erik Mortensen (bass) and together bring a very Nevermore/Dream Theater quality to the songs. As I listened I found singer Stensland to remind me a little of singers like Jeff Scott Soto and Midnight. There is a different level of passion in his voice and more harmonies than one might expect to find in a band of this type. While there are only seven tracks on the debut the listener should be aware that most of the songs range past the seven minute mark. The length allows the band a little more room for creative music explorations. I think fans of Fates Warning, Nevermore and the others who have successfully brought this aspect of the genre to life will totally enjoy Communic. Thanks to vibrant contributions from Scandinavia we have a lot of Power Metal that is mixed together with a lot of Progressive elements. The growing popularity over the past couple of years has fostered this and if more material like this comes from Communic I can see them making a visibly positive difference to the genre. Give something new a chance as odds are you will enjoy it.

Communic: Conspiracy in Mind
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-02-08 08:43:27
My Score:

After going through Conspiracy in Mind a few times, I was stunned as to how much similar the vocalist sounds like the singer on Scariot's amazing work Strange to Numbers. I was rather late on giving Communic's debut a listen and, based on numerous reviews I'd read, I always believed he sounded like Nevermore's Warrel Dane. Well, the comparison is by no means off. However, I had no idea that the singer was Oddleif Stensland, the same guy who was in Scariot a couple of years ago. Communic is mostly Stensland's project, as he plays all guitars, sings, and is responsible for much of the songwriting as well.

The album spans roughly an hour of playing time and contains seven tracks, all of which are rather lengthy. Much like some other Scandinavian power metal bands, the production on Conspiracy in Mind could immediately be pinpointed as a classic Jacob Hansen work. The somewhat compressed and unnecessarily polished guitar tone does detract from the listening experience. The album is simply too clean and sterile given its dark lyrical and musical content. Some of the acoustic passages, such as the one on the almost 10-minute "They Feed on Our Fear", lack dynamics we've come to hear on any Kernon or Sneap produced Nevermore album. While Stensland is more of an upper register singer than Warrel Dane, some of his phrasing and delivery are definitely taken out of the Dane textbook. Though quite heavy in parts, mainly due to the rampaging bass and pounding drums (by another former Scariot member Tor Atle Andersen), I'd classify at least five out of the seven tracks as midtempo. Nothing too flashy or impossibly fast on this disc, as the writing dictates fluctuating rhythmic intensity and various melodic segments. "Communication Sublime" is one of the exceptions, being quite intricate in its arrangement and guitar playing, especially in the beginning. The bass underlying Stensland's guitar keeps the track intact while rendering it a groovy vibe. The emotional power ballad "Distance" offers a long acoustic intro and then a sudden foray into a breathing lead solo before vocals and multi-track rhythms surround the piece. Great screams echo in the distance, as cymbals sparkle and emphasize atmosphere. Perhaps the song that displays Stensland's most emotive and powerful delivery is "Ocean Bed". There is something for every member here. A great bass solo, and some of the finest a capella singing from Stensland in his career.

Conspiracy in Mind is a strong debut, but something inside me says, the best from Communic is yet to come.

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