MINDCAGE - OUR OWN DEVICES (Kinematic Music)
(Review by Stefan)
Mindcage is a Florida based Progressive Power Metal band formed back in 1996 and released an EP “Encapsulation” four years later on independently. They signed with Kinematic Music in 2013 and unleashed their debut full-length album “Our Own Devices” on September the 17th. Two works during a time span of 17 years is remarkable fact, especially when you know that their debut “Our Own Devices” carries an extremely high quality label. Finally my opinion sounds as follows: better release one over the top, word-class effort in a long time instead of creating several efforts actually not worth to release at all. Mindcage’s eagerly awaited album is all about qualitative Progressive Power Metal - better than this is hard to find !
Until the day “Our Own Devices” fell into my postal mailbox, I was totally unfamiliar with their way of Metal. Now I have to admit with all my heart they got me completely in their grip… what a beautiful piece of US ProgPower Metal!!! Mixed and pre-mastered by Michael Wagener (Metallica, Skid Row, Megadeth, Ozzy Osbourne,…), this masterpiece which falls under the heading of concept albums is a real crown jewel! Spread across 10 compositions, Mindcage brings a fantasy storybook to life while playing their songs in a most highly acclaimed manner. The story of a broken world on the hunt for a real hero that was found by an enigmatic character named Arabella Vash aka The One Constant, upon this masterful album performed by the angelic voice of Julie Westlake (Hydrogyn). You can admire her voice qualities during two songs called ‘The Human Race’ and ‘The Serenity Sequence’ where she glorious shines alongside the mighty strong vocals of Jeff Hignite, original singer within the camp of Mindcage. Based on the vocal delivery only, both songs include catchy harmonic lines who cling to your soul.
Jeff sings with such a wide range and elegance. Damn sure this imposing individual is one of a kind ! All the time very clear and damn well intelligible… without any hassle, he can compared to the greatest singers in the history of Metal in the likes of Geoff Tate (ex-Queensryche), Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Michael Grant (ex-Onward/Crescent Shield), Geddy Lee (Rush), Todd La Torre (Queensryhe) among others. Case closed to me, Mindcages’ frontman J. Hignite belongs to me favourite list of Metal singers from now on. Dietrick Hardwick’s guitar picking enchants my imagination, in a very special way this virtuoso rages up and down the neck of his tool in a full technical and melodious mode. Every move he makes is extraordinary, outrageously good ! The bass lines of Brian Howell are very well aligned with the drum works of Craig Nudo which makes the overall sound of Mindcage so mighty good, beyond recall. This band has left an impressive impact on my soul. Their debut full length album “Our Own Devices” is a masterpiece for all those possessed by the ever beloved US Progressive Power Metal style of music.
This concept album contains 10 tracks and has a 100 % guarantee certificate with regard to the sound quality, nonetheless the players themselves are still the main defendants who have gotten it all done in a supreme manner! By the fact “Our Own Devices” has only highlights to offer, I still want to give a number of titles that will appeal to your highest admiration. For instance, ‘The Human Race’ (featuring the blistering, female guest vocals of Julie Westlake) is a special one to me. Loads of melodic guitar leads and strong riffage in a meaningful role, yet it’s the nice musical chemistry between Julie and original frontman Jeff Hignite drawing the grand prize to itself. You will hear another collaboration between Jeff and Julie during a song called “The Serenity Sequence (Renaissance Pt.I)”, a good song where each player may present its own high quality skills… actually definable as a Rock ballad that underlines the versatility of Mindcage once again. More endless beautiful musical abilities can be admired during the Heavy Metal killer song ‘Firefly’, in the technical field this song has a whole lot in promotion. On ‘For All Mankind’, the pace is kept tight yet technical, as usual with the incredible vocals of big Jeff. Also, the title track highlights due to the wonderful building up, step by step rising to a real climax way of performing… awesome cut !
As similar bands to Mindcage I would like to quote US Metal Gods Onward (featuring the one and only, fallen Metal God/singer Michael Grant !), the impressive and very techical US Progressive Power Metal masters Darkology, early Shadow Gallery and last but definitely not least the famous Queensryche during “The Warning”/ “Operation Mindcrime” era. I sincerely hope that this band is going to release more albums with the eye on the future. On all musical fronts, they are just brilliant so allow me to say that this is a must-have for all technical minded Progressive Power Metal addicts who are able to swallow some good old ProgRock elements as well. Best progressive album in years to me ! Order at free will via their Official Homepage – check also the band’s Facebook
My Points: 96 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard
50- : Rubbish