House Of Usher - Body Of Mind

Year of Release: 1999
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:40:00

House Of Usher are a five piece based in Michigan, consisting of the usual arrangement of instruments (bass, keys, drums, guitar) with a dedicated vocalist. For me, this was another case of expecting one thing and getting another. Not having heard nor read anything about House of Usher (that I can recall), other than seeing an ad for their album, I half expected this to be a progressive metal release. Instead, they are closer to such UK progressive bands as Tristan Park, Grey Lady Down, and the like. This isn't a bad thing, just unexpected.

Overall Body Of Mind is very likable, but there a moments when the instruments seem out of tune - on the lead-off track its the piano. What I hear more is a hestitation on the arrangements, as if a moment of second thought were given before preceeding with the next note.

"Obsession" is another song where affection becomes obsession. It isn't as creepy as some others on this same topic I've heard, as the stalkee gets the last ... shot, but there are some vocal effects here that I don't find particularly effective. Well, that's not entirely true - the effect is blind panic, fear, anger now that he's been found out, and to convey that, the effect works. But, the music obscures the vocals, so the effect is somewhat diminished.

I like the tonal qualities of Aaron [Letrick]'s vocals, the delivery for the most part, but I'm not fond of the quiver his voice has at times ... and there are times when I'm not fond of it at all. It's better when he seems more confident, more forceful in his delivery.

The piano based instrumental "911" is a very beautful, classically influenced piece. I say beautiful, but there is a dark undertone, not of menace but of grimness, sadness (this is dedicated to Diahann Bronson - who might be the same as keyboardist Richard Kaczynski's sister - who died). I won't speculate, but there must be some meaning in the title.

This classical style of keyboards permeates throughout, and perhaps the strongest track here is the closer "Iceberg" - it's a simple keyboard and vocal piece, where Aaron is more baritone than tenor. If you're thinking that iceberg refers to the Titanic (and what mention nowadays doesn't?), you're probably right. It's unlisted but for inside the booklet, where the lyrics are included.

There are enough good aspects that I'd probably listen to it again, and I can see the potential here.

Reading the blurbs on the ad, Exposè rate this highly, refering to it as a concept album, which I don't see.

Faith (5:04) / Don't Remind Me (7:07) / Body Of Mind (4:37) / Timneh (2:02) / Obsession (6:28) / Bewildered Serenity (5:48) / 911 (2:40) / Chimes (5:53) / C'est Pas Finit (11:59) / Iceberg (2:02)

Aaron Letrick - vocals
Mark Evans - drums and percussion
Mark Jardine - bass
Richard Kaczynski - keyboards
Michael Allen Moore - guitars

Body Of Mind (1999)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: August 1st 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 948
Language: english


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