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Mind's Eye: A Gentleman's Hurricane

To me Mind's Eye has always been one of those progressive bands who have consistently released solid albums; the only thing their catalog missed was a truly monster record from start to finish. With their previous output Walking on H2O, however, they started to show signs for really great things to come, and finally they have put out their magnum opus: A Gentleman's Hurricane.

Based on a storyline akin to that of Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime and perhaps also Dream Theater's Scenes from a Memory in that it deals with themes like murder, religion, and tragedy, A Gentleman's Hurricane is easily their most realized and complex work to date. For starters, the production of the band's brainchild Daniel Flores is mesmerizing, emphasizing numerous textures, thick soundscapes, and a remarkable mixing job. Daniel Flores, besides playing all drums and keyboards on the CD, is also responsible for the beautiful harmony vocals and the songwriting of pretty much the whole record. There are a few tracks he co-wrote with guitarist/bassist Johan Niemann though; these tunes also add substantially to the diversity of the record along with several guest musicians.

While the band chose to stay in more of prog-rock-meets-metal territory on earlier releases, they have decided to embark on a heavier disc overall with their new album. The bone-crunching rhythm guitar work exhibited on most of the songs is stupifying indeed. Songs such as "Seven Days" and "AssasiNation", both of which are graced by cinematic passages, also allow acoustic breaks and varied sound elements to come through, the latter laden with an infectious chorus by Andreas Novak who shifts between manipulated parts to rousing melodic sections in the blink of an eye. This album is his pinnacle from a performance standpoint, as he opts for as many vocal stylings as this record would allow, from the searing screams on "Feed My Revolver" to the more vocal-based "Chaos Unleashed" (complete with an 80's Rush-like synth arrangement), and the atmospherically dense "Ashes to Ashes (In Land Lullaby)", evoking Peter Gabriel's theatrical melody constructions post-Genesis and a terrific drum accompaniment by Flores to Novak's morose delivery. Also important is the dark vocalization of "Skin Crawl" -- those harmonies are gold.

Johan Niemann plays sledgehammer riffs on most of the album, reminding me of Henning Pauly's Frameshift project (think their second album). Niemann's melodic control and phrasing are also superior, as he successfully avoids falling into the trap of overdoing any of the instrumental parts. On the contrary, his soloing on the album is top-notch and very carefully planned. This album has some of the most amazing lead solos I've heard on a 2007 release. The killer guitar crescendo on the opener "Praying for Confession", a great piece laden with various sound collections (child's choir, footsteps, narration, creepy background noises, gorgeous synth voicings, et cetera), the utterly perfect melodic transition on "Chaos Unleashed", the godly guitar solo on the Threshold-like "Hell's Invitation", and the awe-inspiring playing on "Red Winter Sirens" are testimony to this guy's skills. If you watch the making-of video that comes together with this album, you'll see he nails the solo in one take, after Flores' instruction. He's not just the amazing bass player of Therion, but also a great guitar player and one of the best studio musicians as Flores claims. His rampaging bass work that stomps upon the recurring synth melody at the end is simply stunning.

Also note the dramatic duet "The Hour of Need", featuring female vocalist Mia Coldheart over moody synths; the superbly arranged "Graveyard Hands", littered with gentle flute melodies, a reverb-filled guitar solo that is emotionally draining, and marching drum syncopation. On the ten-minute "Pandora's Musical Box", the whole album is sort of summarised through a mix of leviathan guitar riffery, dismal acoustic guitars, excellent vocals, and Flores' atmospheric keyboards floating across the whole thing. It concludes with the same child's choir that opens the album, maintaining its unity.

The packaging of the album is superb too. It comes with a DVD documenting the making of the album and thus proving how terribly underrated an artist Daniel Flores is. There is also an interesting video of "Feed My Revolver", featuring wonderful animations and an intriguing story which fits the concept of the album.

With a successful array of guest artists personifying the characters, a thought-provoking concept, excellent production, great arwork by Mattias Noren, and on top of all killer songwriting, A Gentleman's Hurricane is one of the most essential progressive metal albums of the year.

Track Listing

  1. Praying for Confession
  2. Seven Days
  3. AssassiNation
  4. Chaos Unleashed
  5. Hell's Invitation
  6. Feed My Revolver
  7. Ashes to Ashes (In Land Lullaby)
  8. The Hour of Need
  9. Red Winter Sirens
  10. Skin Crawl
  11. Graveyard Hands
  12. Say Goodnight
  13. Pandora's Musical Box

Added: December 30th 2007
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Mind's Eye website
Hits: 7780
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Mind's Eye: A Gentleman's Hurricane
Posted by Butch Jones, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-12-30 16:09:53
My Score:

Acclaimed Swedish Progressive Metaller's, Mind's Eye, deliver the world's first cinematic Metal triple pack consisting of CD, comic book and a "making of" DVD of the band's latest concept record, "A Gentleman's Hurricane". This triple pack is a great idea with the comic book illustrating the storyline and the DVD detailing the behind the scenes making of the actual CD. Melodically heavy and swirling, Mind's Eye pull out all of their tricks with this masterpiece of a concept record. In the great tradition of other great Metal conceptual pieces like King Diamond's opus, "Them" or Queensr˙che's "Operation: Mindcrime", Mind's Eye tell a haunting story with well painted musical landscapes and perfectly delivered vocal performances.

"A Gentleman's Hurricane" is the story of an assassin's inner struggle of guilt as he tries to purge this guilt within 7 days, as he is to carry out his last job of 12 murders in 7 days. The assassin, Adam Evangelista, seeks refuge at a town's church and meets a retired priest, Father Cavaliero Di Mori, to which they both reveal secrets to one another of evils that they have both committed and are both ashamed of. The 12 murders that Adam is to carry out are of the 12 most important people/leaders of our time. These orders were past down to Adam from the well known secret society, "The Illuminati". The 13 songs on "A Gentleman's Hurricane" are the tales of Adam's turmoil.

The 3 piece Mind's Eye deliver a stellar performance with rich vocal melodies and harmonies painstakingly poured over a compellingly heavy and challenging Metal background. Lead Vocalist, Andreas Novak simply smolders throughout, with a vocal performance that is easily one of the best of 2007, while Bass & Guitar player, Johan Niemann will have you playing air guitar with his amazing riffing and Swedish drum/keyboardist monster, Daniel Flores adds some serious thump to the already infectious mix. This power trio has a heavy, yet melodic concoction that is easily palatable and serves to tell their story well. Each song stands up well on its own, as well a piece to the whole story. Check out the scorchers, "Feed My Revolver", "AssassiNation" or "Hell's Invitation" for some Prog Metal masterpieces.

Produced by drummer Daniel Flores, "A Gentleman's Hurricane" is as sonically pleasing as the songs are on this interesting concept piece. 13 tracks interweave within each other to tell this sorted tale. Not at all boring or slow paced, Mind's Eye have found the trick to pulling a listener in and keeping their attention. There is something here for everyone. The story, the awesome musicianship, this is truly a great listen from beginning to end.

I am not usually a fan of a lot of concept records. I find that most bands don't have much of an actual concept to speak of to start with, but this CD is a gem. Their conceptual idea is interesting and the music stands on its own. If you enjoy Symphony X, older Rush, Yes, Tad Morose or Angra you will absolutely love this CD.

» Reader Comments:

Mind's Eye: A Gentleman's Hurricane
Posted by Lee on 2008-04-27 10:50:58
My Score:

one of the best album i have heard for years. no doubt.

Mind's Eye: A Gentleman's Hurricane
Posted by JC on 2007-10-12 03:38:40
My Score:

Great great album, great songs, great performances, great inlay and great making of DVD. Have you guessed this album might be great by now? Buy now! Prog Metal album of the year.

Mind's Eye: A Gentleman's Hurricane
Posted by YngVai MalmSteve on 2007-10-02 05:00:13
My Score:

I would give it an extra half star, album of 2007 no question. Prog metal has never been so enthralling and well done.

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