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Minds Eye - The Awakening

Minds Eye
The Awakening
by Anamaria Carla Ionita at 14 March 2017, 2:36 PM

MINDS EYE is a heavy metal band from Ijamsville, Maryland, USA and considered to be a heavy metal band. The album "The Awakening" is basically a limited edition compilation containing 2 of their albums:  their first album, very creatively named "Mind's Eye" from 1992, and an unreleased album, which, according to Metal-Archives, also had an extremely creative name…"Mind's Eye", from the year 2000. I would generally treat all new albums with some enthusiasm, and I did the same with this one. Unfortunately for me, a new band, a new album, is always a gamble: you never know what you are going to get. What I got this time was basically a salad of musical genres, with different songs having inspired from different other bands. It's chaotic, and after listening to the whole album a couple of times (keep in mind, 18 songs take a while to listen… and then multiply it a few times, and realize it's a great way to waste your life with nonsense). The band has absolutely no common point, no specific style. As songs change, genres change, influences of both instrumentals and vocal techniques change, and they left me thinking this is NOT, by all means, an actual band or an actual album/compilation, but somewhat of a tryout in a studio for beginner bands trying to find their own style. They failed at finding it, by the way…

I do have to admit, though… the first songs do have something in common.  They sound like they have been recorded inside a sewer.  Although I am not an expert, I only have some medium level knowledge in sound engineering and studio masterization, I have to suggest the magical results of fringe science devices and experienced people who do MASTERIZATION.  MINDS EYE, on the other hand, instead of going through the process of masterization, it has gone through the process of pasteurization. As a band which records an album, "limited" edition and puts it on the market, I expect the sound to go through some mastering, to arrange the sound a bit better, but here, they seem to have had a person called Jamie King that is credited for "remastering", but I have to specify that free apps from the Appstore just isn’t cutting it.

"Forever Live",  "Revived", "Just Me", "Obsessed”, "Knight's Raid", all have a vague heavy metal-ish sound to it, but apparently my studio headphones just do not have the frequencies needed to hear everything well from the sewers… "Peaceful Minded" is the first song that actually sounds a bit clean, a bit enjoyable; one might even say that it might have been a bit mastered. It has a rather ok sound to it, good 'ol fast riffs and fast drums, and, of course, basically nothing to do with a peaceful mind. "O.P.D." had an old-school, first albums of IRON MAIDEN style sound to itself, until the same drums and guitar riffs as the previous song started and just blended into a buzz in the background, buzz which was suddenly replaced by the exaggerated use of the drum's high hats in "Red Lady" - a highly recommended song for people in search of a fast developing migraine. "Unevolved" followed and for a second, there, I though KING DIAMOND got drunk and started singing at the wrong end of a microphone. Same guitars riffs as all previous songs, but here is where the above-mentioned salad of styles enters: the instrumental sounds like a fast paced SCORPIONS song. Can't really put my finger on it, if it's “Sail of Charon” or not, but definitely high speed SCORPIONS.

As "New Lands" started playing, the drums and guitar combo gave me a bit of chills. I was actually expecting an empowering song, maybe something of war or motivation, but then… the aforementioned KING DIAMOND drunk singing to the other end of the microphone voice entered the song and ruined this one too. It is getting a bit frustrating; this was their 10th song, and still not even something I can at least call "decent", let alone good…With heavy heart, a hand full of migraine pills and a forced patience, the search continues. "Question Authority" does not sound like a punk song at all. Neither does the song itself. A generally angry voice in my head started screaming "dude, don't ruin punk for me, please!”  but… it was too late.

The next song's name should have been either the album name, or the Label's honest and direct opinion about the guys, or at least, it is mine. "All fucked up" and I totally agree with the name chosen, I'd just wish they'd have used it for more things other than song name. One minute into it, and a simple slow riff with a little story, and then we get into some old-school thrash attempt. Style-wise, this song somehow reminds me of PANTERA, if PANTERA ditched Phil Anselmo and Dimebag Darrell and chose two absolute random people off the streets. Too bad, there actually was a bit of potential here. Until now, even so, it's the most bearable, almost decent song from their "compilation". As you can see, the genres, styles of both instrumental and voice keep changing in the salad compilation. "Bewildered Society,” follows, but now, with a somewhat closer to Tom Araya's style, or at least an attempt. It's "High Time" for a very fast paced guitar riff featuring the earlier vague Tom Araya voice, but now, he somehow got mixed up a bit with James Hetfield. Aaawww

I'll just skip my opinion on "So Young". It's for the best. "Flight" actually has some potential to become a good song, at some point. For now, unfortunately, it contains only two of the song structures: bridge and climax, over and over. "The Fifth", which is the 17th song on the album, starts off with a nice repetitive, guitar riff. I can feel it building up; secretly wishing it would actually prove something of worth. A countdown with a sewer voice started, it might still be acceptable, even though a minute and a half passed and I'm getting bored and sleepy…Finally the song continues with something similar to the earlier song's "bridge, then climax, bridge again, climax again" structure, but I must admit, it does sound a bit more enjoyable. It ditched the mutilated Araya and came back to the tortured Anselmo, now combined with some nu-metal influences, because why not. Still, at least this one was enjoyable, I must admit.

And no salad album would be complete without an unplugged song, right? We have the last song, "Wonders" to do that for us. Slow acoustic guitars, clean, slow and whiny voice trying to tell a story with some Arabic (I think?) influences.

The album is finished, my opinions are now written down. Time to pack up and move into the Anechoic Chamber for a week or two.

Songwriting: 2
Originality: 1
Memorability: 10
Production: 2

1 Star Rating

1. Forever Live
2. Revived
3. Just Me
4. Obsessed
5. Knights Raid
6. Peaceful Minded
7. O.P.D
8. Red Lady
9. Unevolved
10. New Lands
11. Question Authority
12. All F*ked Up
13. Bewildered Society
14. High Time
15. So Young
16. Flight
17. The Fifth
18. Wonders
Roger Bowen - Bass
Tony Saunders - Drums
Randy Welty   - Guitars
Dennis Redkovsky - Vocals
Jamie King   - Remastering
Record Label: Divebomb Records


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Edited 04 February 2023

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