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Mind Odyssey: Time To Change It

When cooking up any form of successful prog-metal, you must be sure to combine equal parts heavy drumming and lightning quick guitar runs with layers of dramatic keyboard passages and dashes of wildly bellowing vocals. Mind Odyssey, Germany's answer to semi-progressive rock (all the trimmings, minus the wild time signature changes), is comprised of musicians who aren't afraid to devise a tasty musical recipe that pushes the envelope and flips the conventions of straight ahead rock n' roll, all the while incorporating an abundant amount of Maidon-esque riffs and industrial flourishes that serve as icing on the cake. With a handful of records already behind them, the guys sound confident and strong on this, their fifth release. It's been noted how the band has let their sound evolve in different ways on past albums, and 2009 sees Mind Odyssey flirting with metal that's melodic at its core but operatic in its delivery. The guys go for the gusto and make everything sound big and bold on Time To Change It. Even with the cavernous drums sound, piercing guitar leads, sweeping keyboards, and swooshing textures present on this album, the production is quite clean and gives the songs depth without sounding overly-muddy. That's a nice compliment for a band who, despite oozing a certain amount of attitude and aggressiveness, takes pride in stacking up a wall of sound that's more reminiscent of Savatage than Judas Priest.

As far as individual songs go, there are some definite stand-outs among the bunch so let's do a rundown. Opening number "Riding and Ruling" is dark, imposing, and comes at you like a swift punch to the face. The drums are accented by industrial blasts, the guitar is chunky and thick sounding, and the keyboards are relegated to more of the background for sonic texture. Victor Smolski's guitar solo is very melodic and sounds almost airy which is a nice contrast to the driving chorus sections. "Enemy Daggers" seems to take the industrial sound a step further, but is redeemed by a very straightforward, melody-driven chorus. The guitar solo/breakdown also utilizes change of dynamics and varies the instrumentation with noticeable keyboard flourishes, showing that the band favors musicality over blunt metal brutality. "I Want It All" could possibly be, in regards to guitar tone and delivery, the dirtiest sounding track on the record, but features nice stacked harmonies in the chorus and creates a sound very reminiscent of Shadow Gallery in spots. "Face In The Rain" is ominous and chugging, highlighted by a throbbing synth/drum combination that culminates with an instrumental Savatage-ish solo section that would sound right at home on Gutter Ballet or Handful of Rain. In fact, while dwelling on the Savatage comparisons, you'll hear distinct similarities between "Higher Ground" and 'Tage's "Edge of Thorns," down to the Criss Oliva-style guitars solos over the piano. Mind Odyssey never directly copy though, they simply do winking musical gestures towards these bands. Lead vocalist Mario Le Mole exhibits a certain rasp that makes him more akin to Bruce Dickinson and Mike Matijevic than Zac Stevens or the late Mike Baker. "Final Fight" touts a much more straightforward metal sound that is sonically dry and to-the-point, even featuring some gang background vocals. "Storm Warning" is highlighted by a twisting synth solo that uses a Jordan Rudess style patch and goes back and forth with the guitar, ala Dream Theater. "Time To Change It" is fairly heavy, yet still uniquely ambient, due to the prominent keyboard pads that play behind all the guitar pyrotechnics. "Raven and Swan" is punishing, unrelenting, and probably the closest to pure Judas Priest that this band gets on the record. Unafraid to change things up at the very end, Mind Odyssey pull out a semi-ballad with "Under The Moonlight." Bolstered by lush keyboards, some tasty classical guitar soloing, and well-written melodies, the album ends on a creative high note.

In closing, this album is quite strong from start to finish, bolstering sharp instrumentation and a fairly crisp production to go along with the epic style of songwriting. Mind Odyssey has come a long way in the last 15 years, and they seem to not be lacking in creative energy or ambition. It's hard to guess where their sound might evolve come the next record, but for now they seem poised to please fans of both majestic power metal and the more straightforward stylings of Maidon and Priest. Time To Change It is a savory metal meal that never sounds cliché or tired, but also has a certain progressive rock atmosphere around it that creates excitement in second and third listens.

Track Listing:

  1. Riding And Ruling
  2. Enemy Daggers
  3. I Want It All
  4. Face In The Rain
  5. Final Fight
  6. Higher Ground
  7. Storm Warning
  8. Time To Change It
  9. Raven And Swan
  10. Under The Moonlight

Added: June 19th 2009
Reviewer: Keith Schwier
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
Hits: 1577
Language: english

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