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MindMaze - Resolve Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 25 March 2017, 3:03 PM

Allentown, Pennsylvania’s own MINDMAZE has now had two full-length releases under their belt, and “Resolve” marks the third. An amalgam of various Metal sub-styles including Traditional, Power, Progressive and Melodic, MINDMAZE composed the sixty-eight minute “Resolve” as a concept album, dealing with issues of personal struggle, loss, intense emotions, and the personal resolve that a given person has to deal with these issues. The album contains thirteen tracks. The instrumental “Reverie” leads off the album, in grandiose beauty. The acoustic lead in is sweet and rich, and what follows is a palate of melodies that awaken your senses and excite your very being. “Fight The Future” is a mixture of galloping and sweeping Power Metal with a more modern sound.  It’s weighted and punchy with the due amount of aggressiveness, but also very accessible in terms of being able to connect with the harmonies offered and the vocal performance.

“In This Void” is a nice moody little instrumental where the piano and violin/cello is a really pretty marriage. “Drown Me” is a darker devil at over eight minutes in length. The title of the track says it all. There is a struggle between despair and hope that echoes in the key changes and back-and-forth swapping of minor and major chords. The effect that it leaves on you is the inability to resolve the struggle but the appreciation for the roles that both parts have to play to complete the track. “Abandon” has some vibrant energy from a quickly moving track but takes time to devote attention to a progressive melody pattern and a really strong vocal performance from Sarah Teets. I’m sensing a pattern with another short instrumental in “Sanity’s Collapse.” But I have to say that I both enjoy these small breaks and they really help tie the story together without having to tell the tale vocally. When done as well as they are and it the perfect spots in a concept album, they really almost become essential to the overall sound as a whole.

“One More Moment” uses piano, poignant vocals and some symphonic elements to get across a sad but pretty song, where you can really connect emotionally with the band, because the performance really registers personally. Just close your eyes and let it in. “Twisted Dream” is hard, heavy and bossy, and a track that merges a few different sub-genres of Metal into a great listening experience. The acoustical guitar passage that features some Middle Eastern or Egyptian sound is unique as well. In “True Reflection,” we can hear the story take a turn again. It has a mid-tempo, introspective sound from the lamenting dual guitar harmonies, and then turns much heavier towards the end, like a beast growing a second head. “Release” is a sweet acoustical number that does indeed sound cathartic, as in the line “the pain and misery was an illusion in my own mind.” The super meaty guitar solo really wraps up the song nicely at the end.

The eleven-minute “The Path To Perseverance” closes the album, with a burning resolve. For me this is the best song on the album. Key changes abound but a strong identity remains and it is full of great melodies at every turn. A lot of thought, care and time was surely spent on the composition of this concept album. The complexity and litany of various sounds and songwriting approaches are something that could turn fans on or off however. For the style though, it provided a plethora of forward-thinking Progressive and Power metal that fans would expect. I personally think you will find a lot to your liking here.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Reverie (Instrumental)
2. Fight the Future
3. In This Void (Instrumental)
4. Drown Me
5. Sign of Life
6. Abandon
7. Sanity's Collapse (Instrumental)
8. One More Moment
9. Twisted Dream
10. True Reflection
11. Shattered Self
12. Release
13. The Path to Perseverance
Sarah Teets – Vocals
Jeff Teets – Guitars, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Mark Bennett – Drums
Rich Pasqualone – Bass, Backing Vocals
Record Label: Inner Wound Recordings


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