Mastermind - Broken

Year of Release: 2005
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

The slow, thundering march of the opening title track clearly indicates where Mastermind is going on this new journey. In case you didn't know, the Jersey-based band has released some of the best prog metal has to offer over the past dozen years or so. As with most bands who don't tour, personal changes and a lack of a "real band" gets in the way of forward thinking projects. Guitarist, writer Bill Berends and brother, drummer Rich Berends were the only two staples in the band through it all. Until now.

The band is back with a new line-up and Broken (a 40 minute plus EP) celebrates this rebirth with three new tracks and a reworking of old favorites. The album precedes an up-coming album, Insomnia, which will also feature their resident keyboard guru Jens Johansson (Stratovarius). This aside, there's no good reason NOT to pick up Broken because as an EP, its length is sufficient and the material is excellent. Of the new tracks, "Broken" and "Weak and Powerless" show the band moving into a more accessible AOR format from their fusion infused prog-metal past. However, it's really the re-worked tracks that, sufficiently different from previous versions, make them worth checking out. "Queen of Sheba" and "A million Miles Away" rock hard, yet showcase the melodic bass lines of Laura Johnson, while new vocalist Tracy McShane's pipes have the power, range and texture to augment Mastermind's adventurous and mature approach to progressive rock. In many ways this is a journey back: an old school approach which strips down the sound and replaces it with a raw, spontaneous energy. It's a welcome change to the artificial pro-tools sculpted cesspool that exists in prog-metal today. The two gents and two new ladies of Mastermind rock with the best of them, infused with enough complexity for the prog purists. Yet their rebirth has a freshness, a melodic consistency that makes for an easy listen.

Broken / Break Me Down / Weak & Powerless / William Tell Overture / A Million Miles Away / I'm So Glad / Broken (Extended Mix)

Bill Berends - guitar, synths, backing vocals
Laura Johnson - bass and backing vocals
Tracy McShane - lead vocals
Rich Berends - drums

Volume One (1990)
Volume Two: Brainstorm (1992)
Tragic Symphony (1994)
Until Eternity (1996)
Live In Tokyo (1997)
Excelsior! (1999)
Angel Of The Apocalypse (2000)
Prog, Fusion, Metal, Leather & Sweat (2000)
Broken (ep) (2005)
Insomnia (2010)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: April 2nd 2006
Reviewer: Richard Zwyotkiewicz
Artist website:
Hits: 1888
Language: english


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