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Bicameral Mind - Awakening Award winner

Bicameral Mind
Awakening
by Mark Machlay at 26 January 2021, 1:43 AM

What has gotten into the water in Greece? Most of the new albums and bands I have listened to in the last year have come from either Norway – which is understandable – and Greece, recently becoming famous for its Hellenic metal scene. There is wide variety too, from power metal to extreme metal. But the boys of BICAMERAL MIND are part of a sound started in the mid to late 2000s, harkening back to old days of NWOBHM, respectfully titled NWOTHM with the “T” standing for “Traditional”. With an online presence dating back to at least early 2019, I can guess that the band is relatively new but they sound young, hungry and with plenty of drive to succeed. Following in the footsteps of ENFORCER, CAULDRON, WHITE WIZZARD and HAUNT, the band seeks to bring heavy metal back to its roots of the 70s and 80s. They contain no gimmicks, very little frills and plan to redefine how the world views the word “heavy metal”.

Having spent much time cutting their teeth on the local live scene, BICAMERAL MIND were finally able to reveal the fruits of their creative labors after a long absence from social media. They returned in June 2020 to announce their first EP “Awakenings” and release the first single “Abyss of the Damned” with album then dropping later that year on November 13th. Mixed and mastered by Stratos Theonas with artwork by junkartillustation on Instagram, the band put out a mix of old school metal mixed with modern rock production vibes as well as providing a more intelligent design to the genre. Their name actually brings more search results for the hypothesis of a “Bicameral” model of the mind. The term refers to a controversial assumption that the human mind split the cognitive functions, dividing tasks in the mind into two parts of the brain in which one appears to be “speaking” while the other “listens” and obeys. This division broke down over time and gave rise to consciousness in humans.

I prefer to think of the meaning of BICAMERAL MIND’s naming as an assimilation of this definition. The band have clearly heard and “listened” to the music of the past and are now “speaking” their part into existence. To be honest, their sound is a great facsimile of those early British Heavy Metal bands but does not forget its roots. Oftentimes, newer listeners either forgot or didn’t know much punk and heavy metal evolved together and BICAMERAL MIND’s keeps that influence intact. Vocalist Vasillis Heilas even sounds a bit more like Bryan “Dexter” Holland of punk rock group THE OFFSPRING than of Bruce Dickinson of IRON MAIDEN. The productions hearkens back to a time when sparing effects and space on the tracks was welcomed more than pure brutality and beefiness of a sound. I like the jangly, loose approach in the bass guitar and the abandoning of strict metronome-like meter but still moves and speeds toward a conclusion in every track. The only letdown was title track and instrumental “Awakening” seemed a bit meandering and is thankfully only a little over two minutes. But the rest of the four tracks are an excellent testament to what can still be achieved creatively while still working in the confines of the traditional heavy metal of old.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Abyss of the Damned
2. Lucid Dreams
3. Endgame
4. Awakening
5. No Way Out
Lineup:
Konstantinos W.P. Harden – Bass
Panagiotis Samios – Drums
Panagiotis Stavridis – Guitars
Vasillis Heilas – Vocals & Guitar
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 17 September 2021
 

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