In an alternate universe where great music gets priority to work we would have featured Resolve, the third album from Pennsylvania based band MindMaze three weeks ago when it was timely. But we’re rolling with the punches and finally giving the album its time to shine now. Mason and I did a split review of the album which you can read or listen to here, so I won’t go into much further details about our thoughts on the album in this post. What I will tell you is that the band is currently on tour, so if you find a city near you on the list here I’d definitely go out and see them. As an added bonus you will witness something that I have not, despite being local to the band and seeing them many times. For this tour they’re joined by Jonah from Pyramaze to add some keyboards to their live show. I am truly jealous to all the people who are getting to witness it, and hope those that do put on the proper pressure to make live keyboards a future necessity! You can buy the new album here and check out the latest video below.
We also took a lot of time this show to talk about my recent trip to RoSfest, which is always an excellent experience in beautiful Gettysburg, PA. This year the festival featured Kyros, Moon Safari, The Aaron Clift Experiment, Unified Past, Unit-DB, The Neal Morse Band, The Fierce & the Dead, Evership, Edensong, and Anglagard. As always the theater staff was friendly, the sound was great, everything ran on time, and the after parties were killer! You really can’t ask for more from a land-based festival these days. You can check out the festival and keep up to date on next years announced bands here.
We also played some new artists on the program tonight, some of which have their albums up in full on bandcamp. Those would be Cobalt Blue (here) and The Black Light (here). You can also grab the newest album from Elysium Theory from CDBaby here.
And of course, as always, there is plenty of new music to get to. Big Big Train have just released Grimspound (here), and Ayreon has released The Source (here). Voyager has Ghost Mile (here) coming out in a few days, as does Rikard Sjoblom’s Gungfly with On Her Journey to the Sun (here). And of course there are videos from each below.
MindMaze – Drown Me
L’Anima – My Dying Cell
Cobalt Blue – Bereaved
Rikard Sjolbom’s Gungfly – On Her Journey to the Sun
Edge of Reality – Moldy Banana Bread
Kyros – Persistence of Vision
Moon Safari – The World’s Best Dreamers
Elysium Theory – Long Count
Ayreon – The Source Will Flow
MindMaze – Abandon
The Aaron Clift Experiment – Fragments of Sleep
Unified Past – Erasure Principle
Unitopia – Artificial World
The Neal Morse Band – The Man in the Iron Cage
Nova Collective – State of Flux
The Black Light – Lost to Another
The Black Light – Hurricane/All That Remains
MindMaze – One More Moment
The Dear Hunter – Gloria
Coheed & Cambria – The Writing Writer
The Fierce & the Dead – Part 2
Evership – Evermore
Edensong – In the Longest of Days
Voyager – Ghost Mile
In the Presence of Wolves – Storm in a Red Dress
Big Big Train – As the Crow Flies
MindMaze – The Path to Perseverance
Available: April 28, 2017 via Inner Wound Recordings
Reviewer (Text): Mason
Reviewer (Audio): Nick
Five and a half years and a name change ago I pledged money on Kickstarter for the first MindMaze album, Mask of Lies, and honestly had no idea what to expect from an unsigned band that had what I thought was a modest funding goal. At worst I figured I would have a unique reminder of obscure metal history as this was my first ever backing on Kickstarter (feel free to follow me there, but be warned most of the projects I back are not music related). However, myself and the other backers were treated to an album that far exceeded expectations, and helped MindMaze attract enough attention from Inner Wound Recordings to sign them before the release of their second album Back From the Edge, which demonstrated growth as musicians, songwriters, and on the production front, as well as increasing the notoriety of the band as they were able to secure the guest services of Symphony X’s Mike LePond on bass. Heading into their third album, my expectations were high. Let’s see how it fares…
Resolve is the third album from Allentown based band, MindMaze. Unlike its predecessors, Resolve is a concept album and it is clear that the band’s message in this album comes from within and is more personal than their previous work.
The cornerstone of the band continues to be guitarist Jeff Teets and his sister, vocalist Sarah Teets. Jeff continues to showcase impressive solos and catchy riffs, and demonstrates a commitment to his craft, as this album is the most diverse musically for the band up to this point, exploring more subdued and softer tones as the story of the album requires. Sarah provides her talents again, and like Jeff continues to find new ground to explore, while sounding as powerful as ever and maintaining her unique qualities among female metal vocalists by rarely going to the soprano range where many of her female colleagues tend to reside. Rich Pasqualone returns as the bass player, resuming his duties from the first album. His talents are more evident this time around as the bass sound is more pronounced on this album than the debut album. The drumming is ably performed by a combination of new member Mark Bennett, as well as Jeff, and their work on the skins is a big reason the album comes together nicely.
While everyone individually performs well, this album is best described as gestalt, and is much greater than the sum of its parts. Where Resolve really separates itself from its predecessors is from the quality and sophistication of the production. Resolve is the richest, most polished sound the band has put out to this point. This album makes the most of layering tracks and creates the richest sound up to this point. The album sees have added notes of spice using production effects sparingly, but at appropriate times on Sarah’s vocals. Gang vocals are also used well for emphasis at times. Another strength of the album is that it is hard to pick standout tracks because the difference between my favorite track and least favorite track is quite small. The album engages the listener from start to finish, with no low point in to speak of in terms of overall enjoyment. As stated earlier, Resolve is also the most musically diverse and exploratory album; it features the band’s most notable ballad, the widest range of musical styles, and the most emotive lyrics the band has put forth to date.
The easy short review of this album is that is their best yet, and that’s not a small feat in of itself. If this album were released in any previous year, it would be a top five album for certain, and if it doesn’t end up in my top five this year then we will have experienced the greatest year of releases in recent memory. If you would have told me in 2011 that an unsigned band trying to release its first album would six years later be releasing an album on the same day as Ayreon, and legitimately be its equal, I would have been skeptical. After playing Resolve over 20 times, I would say Ayreon, along with several other bands, will be gunning to release an album this good on April 28th.
Mason’s grade: A
Disclaimer: Guitarist Jeff Teets of MindMaze is the former co-host of When Prog and Power Unite, however this review has not been influenced or altered due to this fact.
01. Reverie (Instrumental)
02. Fight the Future
03. In This Void (Instrumental)
04. Drown Me
05. Sign of Life
07. Sanity’s Collapse (Instrumental)
08. One More Moment
09. Twisted Dream
10. True Reflection
11. Shattered Self
13. The Path to Perseverance