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Mind Key – MK III – Aliens in Wonderland

Mind Key
MK III – Aliens in Wonderland
by Santiago Puyol at 28 August 2019, 4:21 AM

MIND KEY is an Italian Progressive Rock and Metal band founded in 1999, and with three albums in their discography, the latest being "MK III - Aliens in Wonderland", released in 2019. This band opts for a path closer to QUEENSRŸCHE than DREAM THEATER when it comes to Prog Metal, emphasizing Hard Rock sonorities with a touch of Glam Metal. At least that is the approach the band takes here.

There are sinuous keyboards with an ‘80s vibe abound on opener "Alien in Wonderland". Its catchy chorus demonstrates the band's pop sensibilities, while the interesting instrumental bridge of the song as well as the excellent solos of guitarist Emanuele Colella and keyboardist Dario De Cicco highlight their talent. An almost acapella chorus near the end adds a sense of drama and contributes to the theatrical vibe of the song, something that is maintained throughout the album.

"Hank (The Blazing Eyes)" has catchy riffing and the dramatic piano takes up where it left the previous track, while "Hate at First Sight" feels ballad-like at times. It also emphasizes the electronic elements of the band with an excellent sense of groove. The latter even sounds like a "sane" Devin Townsend song.

With a thrashier approach, "Angry Men" is a highlight for drummer Mirko De Maio, while new guitar solo epics and keyboards keep the song moving. The aggressiveness of the previous song, so aptly titled, contrasts with the deceptive power ballad "Hands off Cain".
"Be Polar" sits right in the middle as a bridge between the two halves of the record. His samples from a restaurant or café added to the orchestral music give him an old-timey vibe, until the synthesizers pulse, the drums take a steady rhythm and the guitars bring their rock power. At times, a New Wave vibe takes over the song, making it sound like “DEPECHE MODE and TALKING HEADS meet Power Metal”.

The ballad "Oblivion" opens the second half of the album with its delicate pianos and programmed percussion. It sounds interesting, thanks to the use of reverb and other very ‘80s effects like a Phil Collins ballad. "Psycho World", on the other hand, opts for a more theatrical sound, with almost musical-like orchestrations and a jam-y approach. They certainly evoke JOURNEY, BOSTON or even the pop side of KANSAS.

"Vertigo (Where the Cold Wind Blows)" promises more with its intro than what it actually does, bringing to mind "Money for Nothing" by DIRE STRAITS, not only because of some sound similarities but also because it has a more interesting intro than the song itself. "Pure He/art" instead stands out with its joyful mood, excellent use of effects and great mixing on its epic, shredding solo. MIND KEY channels EUROPE in this opportunity.

Things come to an end with closer "Non-Existence", a hard rocker with bluesy riffing and a funky bass line. It is an epic ending, being the second longest song on the album. It also comes as one of the songs closest to classic Hard Rock here, encompassing a lot of energy. De Maio demonstrates his sense of rhythm behind the kit with syncopated patterns while Aurelio Fierro Jr.'s gritty vocals shine with power.

"MK III - Aliens in Wonderland" is a solid record with great songwriting and fine musicianship. The production fits the music well, providing more energy to its ‘80s-inspired sound.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Alien in Wonderland
2. Hank (The Blazing Eyes)
3. Hate at First Sight
4. Angry Men
5. Hands off Cain
6. Be Polar
7. Oblivion
8. Psycho World
9. Vertigo (Where the Cold Wind Blows)
10. Pure He/art
11. Non-Existence
Lineup:
Aurelio Fierro Jr. – Vocals
Emanuele Colella – Guitars
Dario De Cicco – Keyboards
Lucio Grilli – Bass
Mirko De Maio – Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records
     


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Edited 20 October 2019
 

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