Mastermind - Volume 2 - Brainstorm

Year of Release: 1997
Label: Cyclops
Catalog Number: CYCL 052
Format: CD
Total Time: 67:03:00

The twenty-one minute "Brainstorm" kicks off Volume Two. This is a crunching, affecting monstrous piece of work. Berends vocals are great considering his vocal limitations. The melody and lyrics solidify Mastermind's grasp of drama in musical excursions. There are some powerful moments in a song that goes through all kinds of changes.

"Firefly" takes Mastermind back into the speed metal arena and "Looking Ahead" adds that vibrating synth topping that was so prevalent on the first release. This song really rocks. Again, good vocals by Berends and a catchy melody - something Mastermind does well considering the acidic bite of their driving sound. Berends lead guitar steers the sound in around many musical landscapes.

I don't care too much for "Nowhere To Hide" which really plays out as Mastermind's devilish homage to the Beatles' "Run For Your Life." But it's offbeat enough to work. "Go For It" begins like a computer game, but a pounding bass/guitar riff soon drowns out the innocuous bubbling synth that opens it. An instrumental, it's one of the CD's weaker songs. What can I say about "Ride Of The Valkyries"? If Wagner were alive today he'd probably be on stage with Bill and company, chopping away and grinning all the way.

"Prelude" is a lovely bit of symphonic rock. Some chaotic drumming nearly obliterates the melodious tag line, but it all ends beautifully, taking us into the seventeen minute "Triumph Of The Will." This is frenzied, angry music if I've ever heard it. Parts remind me of Saga's best, but Mastermind are miles ahead in virtuosity. Though the vocals are lost in the first half of the song, a soft bridge at the middle mark provides a beautiful transition into the fireworks that are about to follow.

Mastermind tackles the classics again and do it wonderfully. "William Tell Overture" beats anything but the most fiercely resilient classical version. Another short piece, "Code Of Honour" closes things. It's light weight in comparison to the rest of the CD but that takes nothing away from it.

Volume Two is a staggering second work from Mastermind. At nearly seventy minutes, the CD is chockfull of everything. It lays the ground work of the more symphonic third work, which to my melodic tastes, is Mastermind's best work to date.

Originally released by ZNR in 1992 (1002) (run time: 70min); reissued in Japan by Belle Antique (96289) w/bonus track (run time 66:25). The Cyclops reissue also includes a bonus track

Brainstorm (21:15) I. 1st Futility - II. Light Of Day - III. 2nd Futility - IV. Breakdown - V. From The Ashes - VI. Dance Of The Demons VII. Resolution / Firefly (3:15) / Nowhere In Sight (3:53) / Looking Ahead* (4:40) / Go For It!* (4:05) / The Ride of the Valkyrie (2:50) / Prelude (4:05) / Triumph of The Will (17:50) I. Aspirations - II. Hammer Of Fate - III. Tormented Heart - IV. Resurrection / William Tell Overture (3:10) / Brave New World** (3:30) / Wake Up America*** (4:04) / Code of Honor (4:00)

*on ZNR, not on reissues; ** on BA reissue, *** on Cyclops reissue

Bill Berends - guitars, midi-guitar, vocal, bass
Rich Berends - drums, timpani, & percussion
Mark Stavola - bass (live) Bob Eckman - bass (live)>

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: Richard Zywotkiewicz

Artist website:
Hits: 1801
Language: english


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