Subject to Thoughts is a one-man project by Mark Mendieta from the USA. He plays all instruments from guitars, bass, drums to keyboards and he also does all the vocals. From Emptiness to Beyond is his third demo, but his first time ever he has recorded onto CD format. The music is over 75 minutes and consists of thirteen tracks.
This is a concept album broken down into two main parts. The first part From Emptiness deals with "pain, sorrow and other negative aspects" Mendieta has dealt with, while the second part To Beyond, which kicks in after a brief "transition" piece, is about his "search for sense in life, and finally seeing the light". Quite ambitious if you ask me, but what's better is the music.
From Emptiness to Beyond is perfectly decribed as dark progressive rock. The songs often remind me of Kevin Moore's Chroma Key project because of the highly atmospheric songwriting approach and even Mendieta's slowly unfolding vocals. His voice fits the music like a glove; it is dark and has a mournful tone to it. Listening to the fifth track "Drowning In" will change anyone's opinion who may think otherwise. Mendieta delivers the lyrics passionately as if he were lamenting the loss of a loved one. It must be the use of ever-present piano that evokes Chroma Key, but as with every Kevin
Moore release, Mendieta's music is overlapping with a multitude of instrumentation. Despite being just a demo, guitars and keyboards are meticulously arranged surrounding Mendieta's sorrowful vocals. Most of the songs seamlessly flow into each other, and the somewhat hissed recording quality eerily helps create a thicker atmosphere. Looped
synths, repeated minor key pianos, and minimalistic guitar chords unite in order to form elegiac songs that are coloured with sudden changes of speed and tempo. Though far from being technical, Mendieta's writing shows an undeniable dose of prog background, as he opts for a plethora of styles while developing his craft. Take "The Sense of Discontent" as an example. The song moves from electronic, synth-laden passages to gentle acoustic guitars in the blink of an eye to an ethereal piano interlude that is repeated till the listener is sucked in. The creepy, desolate emotional sphere of the almost 10-minute epic "The Secret Within the Secrets" brings to mind Opeth on such a scale that even Mendieta's voice could be likened to that of Akerfeldt's Blackwater Park onwards.
The album takes a different shape as it nears its end, particularly on the upbeat, almost happy-sounding "With Time, Life Changes", which I assume is about Mendieta finding "the light". The spoken vocals, electronic arrangement and processed vocals all help portray a feeling of relief, all of which is about the reason to make music. I can see later day Tiamat and Katatonia fans enjoying this demo, as well as fans of the already mentioned Chroma Key and even Anekdoten perhaps. All Mendieta needs is a label to sign his project and support him with a better studio production. It could happen
Part I: From Emptiness
- Trails of the Untold
- The Sense of Discontent
- Feelings of Sorrow
- The Secret Within the Secrets
- Drowning In
Part II: To Beyond
- Web of Illusions
- Essence of Perception
- Silence Cries
- Words of Meaning
- With Time, Life Changes
- Give And You Shall Receive