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Universal Mind Project - The Jaguar Priest

Universal Mind Project
The Jaguar Priest
by Johnny Jackal at 09 August 2016, 8:39 AM

I was really stoked upon hearing that I was about to review this band. There has been such a buzz about them in the last few months and that made me so damn curious! I am also curious about new bands or super groups or even bands that have epic guest musicians. It always adds a lot of depth and surprises to albums and this album is another prime example or good guest musicians that add their special talent to otherwise good songs, making them even better! You have Diego Valdez from the very underrated band HELKER, you got Mark Jansen from EPICA doing some great harsh vocals on a few songs, you also have maybe the most underrated bass player in all of metal, Mike LePond from SYMPHONY X/THEM. Aside of that you also have the original singer of DREAM THEATER, Charlie Dominici that adds vocals on the title track of this album. Let’s see, you also have Nils K. Rue from EIDOLON/PAGAN’S MIND that adds his incredible range on ‘’The Bargain of Lost Souls’’. You also have a number of other artists from bands like DGM, ANDROMEDA, LABYRINTH. It’s a very nice brochette of artists.

I was wondering why it didn’t list any permanent bass player on the album information and I was quite surprised to see Mike LePond on the guest musicians. As for the rest, most of the bass is handled by the guitarists and a whole lot of work in the mixing process of the album.This band is the super group formed by lead guitarist, Michael Alexander. He wanted to create an international collaboration between exceptional vocalists and musicians. Well he outdid himself on this one! Well, my favorite songs are the ones featuring Mark Jansen from EPICA. I think he is just the heart and soul of that band (I like Simone Simmons but I think he is the mastermind of that group). His harsh vocals on a few songs on ‘’The Jaguar Priest’’ add a distinctive touch that was missing on some songs. He adds another third vocal style compared to the beautiful voice of Elina Laivera and the powerful yet emotional voice of Henrik Bath.

I really like they added Charlie Dominici to this album. A lot of people forget we was the first singer of DREAM THEATER on their debut release and most of the people only know James Labrie as the lead singer of the band. His voice never really meshed well with the Prog Metal stylings of DREAM THEATER but on here he really adds something quite special. He doesn’t have the range from back in the day but he stills has a very powerful voice and it’s in full effect on the title track. As for the rest, nothing really stands out in my mind for the time being. I mind I listened to the album a number of times and I was blown away at my first listening. I really loved the contrast between both singers, reminded me LACUNA COIL (yet Andrea Ferro does not have the power and emotion in his voice like Henrik Bath does) and Elina Laivera has a similar style as Cristina Scabbia. A lot of bands count on two vocalists (even three different types of singers like in AMARANTHE) and each singer brings something different to the table. Overall, just a highly enjoyable release and a name to look for in the not so distant future!

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Anthem for Freedom
2. Truth
3. The Bargain of Lost Souls
4. Dreamstate
5. Awakened by the Light (Universal Mind)
6. A World that Burns
7. Seven
8. The Jaguar Priest
9. The Force of Our Creation
10. Xibalba
Lineup:
Elina Laivera – Vocals
Henrik Bath – Vocals
Michael Alexander – Guitars
Alex Landenburg – Drums
Record Label: Inner Wound Recordings
     


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