World Of Silence - Mindscapes


Year of Release: 1999
Label: Black Mark
Catalog Number: BMCD127
Format: CD
Total Time: 43:16:00

This is one of those talented bands that for some reason don't get much recognition outside of Europe. I didn't know of too many people from the USA that even knew about this band, much less own their last CD called Window Of Heaven.

Briefly, to summarize their last disc, when I first heard Window Of Heaven, I knew I was going to dig this one totally. The first 3 - 4 songs were very heavy, crunchy, melodic prog metal with a lot of keys. The singer was very good as well, up until the midway point of the disc where he started growling unnaturally, and I couldn't figure out why a guy with a voice this pleasant would resort to that. I guess I wasn't the only one having that problem, as I read reviews, and other opinions that stated the same. So, the disc pretty much goes unnoticed, although I know it still would appeal to lots of people who are into melodic prog metal.

Into the picture, enters their new disc, Mindscapes, a disc that was very hard to find, and I imagine still will be in the USA. A while ago, the singer had written to me and told me about the new disc, and that I would probably dig the new material, and that he wouldn't be growling at all. Well, he made good on his promise, because there is only one place on the disc where the vocals get distorted and growly, and it's only a brief moment. I think he did that just for me ..... :O)

THE STYLE:

This is a 6-song, 43-minute disc. I must say that I was expecting a continuation of Window Of Heaven, but this is pretty much nothing like that disc. Bottom line this time out, what would happen if you crossed Neo-Progressive music with Progressive Metal music? This disc is the answer. An interesting deviation from their last disc, which was quite heavy and crunchy at times, this one tends to be much more laid back, atmospheric, dreamy, and the keyboards take center stage in creating that Neo-Prog feeling that remains throughout the disc. Yes, the guitars are present, but not in that crunchy, punchy style.

This time, all of the instruments are combining to make the total sound, but it's evident that the band wanted to tone it down a bit, and concentrate on the beauty aspect of the disc rather than the power aspect. I know lots of people compared this band to Dream Theater last time out, and maybe they heard, because this is nothing like DT. What is progressive anyway, right? Along with the style, comes the attitude and ability to change with each disc. Well, here you have a perfect example of that attitude. It may not be to the liking of everyone who was expecting a crunchy, thunderous sound from these guys, but they went for a different approach, and they succeeded. Pure power / prog fans, metal fans in general may find this disc a bit too light, for those who don't mind it laid back, with a Neo-Prog feel, and lots of keyboards, this one should fit the bill. The music is VERY progressive, pretty much changing styles throughout each song so that you feel you're getting 2 - 3 songs within each song, which average about 7 - 8 minutes in length each. The crunchy parts remind me of that famous Mayadome crunch, and the Neo-Prog sounds remind of any number of bands from that genre with that dreamy, atmospheric sound that drives that genre.

THE BAND:

Consisting of vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass, drums ...... This time out all of the instruments are combining to make the sound, instead of the guitar sticking out driving the sound like it did last time. No one member stands out in my ears, as they are allcompetent, talented players. You won't find any soaring, shredding guitar solos, noflying keyboard pyrotechnics, or wailing vocals. You will find a 5-member band that combines all of their talents and sounds that makes up the World Of Silence style. I do hear more keyboards this time around, still used as a backdrop for the music, but used more often than not. The drummer and bass player are both competent as well, and nocomplaints in the talent area whatsoever.

THE VOCALS:

Mathias Sandquist has a very, pleasant, mid-range voice. He has a higher pitched toneto his voice, but he does not ever go out of his range capability. As I said, last disc out, he was prone to some growling, and I could not figure out why a guy with a voice this pleasant would want to resort to that style. It was that particular aspect of his voice that turned me off in the first place, but the music certainly drove me back to want to hear more of this band. This time out, Mathias is singing in his normal range, and fits that Neo-Prog sound I spoke of very well. I'd love to hear a ballad from this band based on his voice, I know exactly what it would sound like, and he is quite capable of pulling off a ballad with ease. He can and does pull of the heavier passages too, but this disc seems to be driven more towards the beautiful side of prog metal, and with it comes the beauty of his voice. I can't see anyone having a problem with his voice; he does have just a slight twinge of an accent, but it's hardly noticeable, and doesn't detract from the music at all. As I said, at one point, the vocals get distorted, and he growls through the distortionbriefly, but I think they were having flashbacks from the previous disc, and it seemed to work well within that particular song, so they left it there for me ...... :O)

THE PRODUCTION:

No problems or complaints here at all. I'm sure we could pickapart some of the smaller aspects of the recording, like the tinny, crunchy sound of the guitar that lots of people have a problem with, but other than that, the disc sounds very good. Every instrument is where it should be, it's bottom worthy, and the vocals are right up front so you can hear every word that the singer is saying. There aren't many effects used on his voice, except for that distorted sound in one part, and overallit all works well in their sound.

THE COMMENTS:

It's very simple. If you like a cross section of Neo-Prog with your Prog Metal, thenyou will like this disc. If you don't like that softer, prettier side of prog, then you will have to avoid this disc. Strangely, my taste is what I am describing in the above statement, but it took me quite a few listens to appreciate what the band is trying to pull off here. I think I was taken a bit by the laid back sound while expecting a heavier sound, but now that I'm used to it, I'm really enjoying the disc. I would definitely recommend this disc to anyone who doesn't mind their metal a bit laid back, and I would highly recommend this disc to anyone who likes Neo-Prog on the heavier, darker side. This disc can satisfy a broad range of tastes, and that is what makes the disc such a treat.


Tracklisting:
Four Seasons (6:28) / Times To Come (9:10) / Alone (5:46) / In Search (7:19) / Still All Is Silent (6:42) / Daze (7:51)

Musicians:
Mathias Sandquist - vocals, backing vocals
Mikael Dahlqvist - acoustic and electric guitars
Thomas Heder - synthesizers, grand piano, and organ
Fredric Danielsson - bass
Bruno Andersen - drums, percussion, mallets, didgeridoo
Henrik Lindstrom - violin and backing vocals
Anna Lindholm - backing vocals
Erik Lindstedt - additional percussion
Samuel Albertsson - additional percussion
Mice and Niclas - distorted vocals

Discography:
Window Of Heaven (1996)
Mindscapes (1999)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Hits: 821
Language: english

  

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