MINDTECH – Edge Of The World (TriTech Music)
If Sci-Fi theorists are correct, in one of the many parallel universes they predict there must be one in which Mindtech are massive. ‘Edge Of the World’ – a new EP which follows belatedly in the footsteps of their 2013 debut album ‘Elements Of Warfare’ – is further evidence that the Norwegian five-piece are the best kept progressive metal secret on the planet.
‘Edge Of the World’ is five songs, twenty-six minutes, of pure progressive passion. The opener and title track makes its presence known in a prime-time Queensyche kind of way, before going all gloomy and doomy, slipping in a gear change and picking up a nice, melodic groove. It’s a heavy little mofo too, not afraid to bare its knuckles and show its teeth, despite its hugely accessible overtones. ‘Black Heart’, released as a download single in January, keeps the beat more simple – although drummer Ole Devold (a guy seemingly aiming to be known as the hardest working skinbeater in metal) might disagree – and aims fair and square at the genre’s more commercial territory; armed with a chorus you’ll remember for the rest of your life and a solo you’d give your right arm to be able to play ‘Black Heart’ in particular probably typifies what Mindtech are all about. ‘The Quest’ goes more for the heartstrings with its acoustic lilt, until the rest of the band are uncaged and give the number a swift hit of adrenaline, and, although that one’s a bit too lighters-in-the-air for my tastes, ‘Lost In A Dream’ (also released as a download single back last September) ups the pace once more. Probably the most immediate of the five cuts on offer, ‘Lost In A Dream’ revels in its accessibility despite the odd curve ball in time signature. And saving the best till last, ‘Misery’ gives vocalist Mathias Molund Indergård a full-on workout in a slower, driving quasi-ballad-cum-call-to-arms which blossoms midway through into a frenzy of ferocious guitars. Considering the fact that finding the right frontman has been the bane of this band’s life, in Indergård they have a singer of great versatility and have certainly – finally – found the best guy for the job.
What else can I tell you, aside from namechecking the rest of this incredible band (Thor-Axel Eriksen and Marius G.Belseth on guitar, and bassist Ola Øverli)? The vocals and vocal harmonies are lush, the riffs are razor-sharp, and the songs are beautifully composed and flawlessly executed with a rock hard rhythm section and fluid soloing throughout. It’s been a long time coming, but with ‘Edge Of The World’ Mindtech have delivered an EP worthy of their considerable talent. So if those Sci-Fi theorists are correct, and there is a parallel universe in which Mindtech are massive, how they hell do we get there?
© John Tucker February 2016