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Mastermind Insomnia

by Erika Wallberg at 01 March 2010, 10:03 PM

It's very hard to decide anything about "Insomnia". Still after a few listens I don't remember anything from it. It passes in the background quite unnoticed, even when I try to concentrate on listening to the record. For Progressive music that's not necessary a bad thing though but in this case it's not in the good way. The record is very anonymous but of course there's nothing annoying about it either.

MASTERMIND is very much mainstream Progressive Metal. They have all elements required to play Progressive. They have those suggestive riffs, those typical vocal arrangements and that quite synthetic sound on the guitars and keyboards. But it's just not enough to make it really interesting. MASTERMIND has more of the mid 80's Arena sound rather than the typical mix for neo-classic like Yngwie Malmsteen or little heavier DREAM THEATER. The first impression was that everything sounds a little too much RUSH. In "Broken" for example, I actually thought it was a cover of RUSH's "Tom Sawyer"; the keyboard sound is exact and so is the intro. And even if it's just one chord with effects on it was too similar for me to accept it.

Also, at the first glance Tracy McShane sounded very on and off like Geddy Lee, from time to time that feeling remains throughout the album, even after several spins. When she does the music gets a lot more life and those are the highlight of the album. Most of the time though she lacks power and together with the meaningless and quite anonymous music the record tends to get boring. For a band who has released 6 records prior to this one the vocal lines are very primitive, very simple and very safe.

There are a few really cool songs on the album: "Meltdown is another good example of the album, the vocals are doubled with a really harsh dark voice which really gives the music deep. A very simple thing indeed but for me it did a lot. When I noticed this little detail the song got really interesting. The thing with this type of music, records have a propensity to pass quite unnoticed to start with, then there are these little things that start to get annoying and after a few more listens everything falls in place and those details are what makes the records. But sometimes there's absolutely nothing that annoys, nothing that stands out. If that's the case it's just not an interesting record. With "Insomnia" the only thing that stands out is the song that doesn't fit in at all, "Night Flier" which is a real show-off, instrumental piece free fusion Jazz which shows what this band really can do. Amazing performance by the band but it doesn't fit into the whole picture of the album at all.

"Insomnia" was my first impression of MASTERMIND but unfortunately I can't say I was intrigued to dig into their catalogue and explore what they've been up to over the years.

2 Star Rating

  1. Desire
  2. Break Me Down
  3. One More Night.
  4. Meltdown
  5. Piggy World
  6. No Answer
  7. Broken
  8. Night Flier
  9. Nietzsche
  10. Last Cigarette
Tracy McShane - Vocals
Bill Berends - Guitars, Midi-Guitar
Greg Hagen - Bass
Jens Johansson - Keyboards
Rich Berends - Drums
Record Label: Lion Music


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Edited 07 June 2023

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