Mastermind - Angels Of The Apocalypse

Year of Release: 2000
Label: InsideOut Music America
Catalog Number: IOMACD 2010
Format: CD
Total Time: 68:12:00

Now, I have listened to Angels Of The Apocalypse a few times before sitting down to review it and I don't get much past the first track before I think to myself "damn this is great!" or "damn this is beautiful!" Not just because of Lisa Bouchelle's vocals, but the instruments and arrangements as well. But, Bouchelle has one of the best voices I've heard in a long time - male or female. The first thing one will notice ? or some will notice ? is that her tone bears a striking resemblance to Pat Benatar's. Well, not just tone, cadence, too. But when you combine that with Bill Berends on guitars (including bass), Rich Berends on drums and percussion, and Stratovarius' Jens Johannson on keys you get a potent combination.

The word masterpiece gets bandied about quite loosely, especially these days. And what defines a masterpiece is as flexible as the person making the definition. This is the only Mastermind I've heard to date (that I can recall), so I can't say this is their masterpiece with any authority. But, if their previous disks are better than this then ? I'll probably explode. Or, at the very least, die on my bed with headphones glued to my ears and the 5-disc changer on endless repeat. Is that hyperbole? Yes, but not by much, as there are a few other artists that already have that power over me, so I'll have to wait until I invest in a 100-disc or 200-disc changer.

Not to plug my other gig*, but whilst listening to DJ Teri's show on Seismic Radio earlier this year, where she interviewed the Berend brothers and played cuts from this disk, I was blown away by what I heard. I nearly went out the next day and bought the disk - I say nearly only because I don't recall now if it was exactly the next day, but practically it was. And I would have posted a review right away, but on each spin I get too caught up in it to write about it. So, if you see lots of pauses in this review where I say, "damn this is great!" you know I'll being distracted by it again.

What stands out? Ha! What doesn't. I am most taken with "The End Of The World," which opens the album and "2000 Years," which is the track that reeled me in? Berends guitar playing is just spectacular, full of warmth, whether he's shredding the fretboard or plucking gently (gentle being a relative term). "Queen Of Sheba" is a mix been Renaissance and Dream Theater - where Bouchelle's folk like vocals soar over a percolating backbeat for the verses before everything explodes for the chorus where she SOARS beautifully over the speeding rhythm. ? Have I said, "damn this is great" yet? ? Rich Berends is the most prominent on the instrumental section to this track - booming and the bottom end, shimmering cymbals at the top? the mix on this album is great too. It just sparkles. Oh?and the instrumental "With Dignity And Grace" is another stellar musical interplay - some great acoustic guitar lines by Berends.

After 8 tracks of original, beautiful progressive metal, we get the Mastermind take on Emerson Lake and Palmer's "The Endless Enigma"? well, this is equally stunning and moving? damn this is great! Damn this is beautiful! It is the epitome of melodic progressive metal. This edition features a bonus track "Only In My Dreams" ? yup. It rocks beautifully.

[*I was webmaster for a period of time - SS Dec 2005]

Also released by InsideOut in Europe (IOMCD053/SPV 085-31872CD) and Avalon (JVC) in Japan (MICY-1153)

The End Of The World (10:35) / Perchance To Dream (6:19) / 2000 Years (6:16) / This Lover's Heart (6:00) / The Queen Of Sheba (6:26) / With Dignity And Grace (3:35) / A Million Miles Away (6:30) / The Beast Of Babylon (5:30) / The Endless Enigma (12:18) / Only In My Dreams (6:03)

Lisa Bouchelle - vocals
Bill Berends - guitar, midi guitar, bass, and vocals
Rich Berends - drums
Jens Johansson - keyboards
Bob Eckman - 5 string bass (1,7)
Hollis Brown (Ozone Quartet) - electric violin (2, 5)
John Paoline (Mortal Decay) - voice of the beast (1, 8)

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: June 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow

Artist website:
Hits: 3839
Language: english


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