Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Review: Mind:Soul - The Way It Should Be (2013)

Artist: Mind:Soul
Album: The Way It Should Be
Release date: December, 2013
Label: Layered Reality Productions


1. Breakpoint Hour - 5'11
2. Novae - 5'11
3. Sequence #1 (Post-Utopian) - 1'35
4. Pillow Talk - 4'47
5. Drowning Together - 3'59
6. Caught (In The Pressure Cooker) - 8'58
7. Sequence #2 (Post-Dystopian) - 1'27
8. I Tried To Help - 5'08
9. Over - 6'35
10. Sequence #3 (Embrace Of Liberation) - 2'51
11. Forever - 6'27
12. Sequence #4 (Mind Reset) - 1'39
13. One Night Alone - 12'40
Running time: 66:36

Production details: Produced by Tom de Wit & Raul Tămaş
Recorded at The Imagineering Suite, Amersfoort (Bass, Guitars, Drums & Vocals), The Nemestudio, Hilversum (Drums & Synths)
Mastered at Prime Studio’s, Romania

Packaging details:
Info: Simple digipack, no booklet.
Photography & logo redesign by Angela Dekens
Models on the cover: Elbrich Schoorstra & Sait Potekin


Review by Rodrigo 'Rroio' Carvalho       Rating: 

Thoughts:  Netherlands is a beautiful country, in so many ways. And this is probably one of the main reasons some of the greatest progressive (and metal) bands come from there: Within Temptation, Legion of the Damned, Textures, Epica, Ayreon… we could spend a whole day talking about them. But the subject here is Mind:Soul, a group formed in 2010 that released two EPs and a DVD before its first full-length, building the identity of bringing different elements to classic European Progressive Metal.

In 2013, The Way It Should Be was released by Layered Reality Productions, after a few changes in the band’s lineup – a friendly process that helped them develop their sound a little more, resulting in a concept album that intends to break some barriers and express its own through technical ability and unusual energy.

'Breakpoint Hour' defines reasonably well what we’ll listen along the whole album: a European progressive metal with a power twist, improved by good modern grooves on its riffs and some beautiful key layers and choruses (they’re generally simple – and maybe that’s why they stick in your mind). “Novae” takes us back to some traditional structures, the same old (and good) Awake-era Dream Theater and Seventh Son-era Iron Maiden in one of the most technical moments in The Way It Should Be (2013). Ironically, almost as quiet as the beginning of 'Pillow Talk' and its very interesting development: from a very Gildenlownian peaceful moment to an absurdly heavy orchestral overdose that could be on Black Clouds & Silver Linings, for example.

Despite its gloomy title, 'Drowning Together' in one of the most beautiful passages of the whole disc, a surprisingly heartwarming song that repeats itself around its own and works well in its truism. “Caught (In the Pressure Cooker)” explore in nine minutes almost every pattern on prog metal: from orchestral arrangements to futuristic synth leads over heavy fast riffing and an epic feeling. However, at the end of it, most part of the song doesn’t seem to be exactly necessary – not bad, but takes too long to say a simple thing, you know?

On the other hand, 'Sequence #2 (Post-Dystopian)' and 'I Tried To Help' build an interesting paradox between dense and broken climatic passages, jazz interludes and deep growling on the edge of extreme metal, without getting out of the same idea of the rest of the album. 'Over' pushes everything back to the rails with a symphonic metal opus, an ethereal and reflexive moment before the thrashy instrumental interlude 'Sequence #3 (Embrace Of Liberation)' (which reminds of Megadeth’s 'Blackmail The Universe') and 'Forever', one of the most straight-to-face songs on the album – and it hits.

'Sequence #4 (Mind Reset)' and 'One Night Alone' end the album with a fourteen minute long Ayreonic journey, shortening again everything we heard along the whole The Way It Should Be (2013), and an epic way to finish it. However, unavoidably we ask: is it everything?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the album is horrible or it doesn’t have its good moments (it actually does a lot of them). But we’re in 2014, and prog metal (with a few exceptions) apparently is stuck in the same place it was back in the 90s – basically, twenty years ago. Through all this time we had a lot of bands trying different things and sounding the same at the end of the day, and maybe the concept of progressive, of pushing the boundaries, of exploring new territories, of be unafraid of breaking paradigms, were lost in the process, after some of the greatest (and selling) prog metal bands “defined” how the music “must” be. A limitation that should never existed.
Again: don’t get me wrong. Mind:Soul are such talented musicians and creative composers, but the band still bases its own identity on established patterns and what already have been done before. If they are comfortable with that, and follow the traditional paths of the style is their true objective, there’s nothing wrong with that – especially because they have a good work being done here. But maybe the whole world around has moved on. Being only good and superficial is not enough anymore. Be the same as others are not an option, if you want a place in the sun for real.

I’m afraid these are dark times. And only the ones who seek the light will find their own way.

Listen to Mind:Soul on our Podcast #36 HERE.


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