MINDWARP CHAMBER - SUPERNOVA (Dark Star Records)
(Review by Officer Nice)
Mindwarp Chamber isn't at all a new band in the Metal scène. Since several years two releases headed our way from this band around Scott Huffman (Syris, Spirit Web, Twelfth Gate). As I wrote before he's a vocalist extraordinaire and for sure he's one of the best American singers nowadays. His voice fits perfectly at the kind of dark Progressive Power Metal he always used to play. Although "Skeptic's Eye" and "Delusional Reality" were two fantastic albums the band never really broke through and that's such a pity. It's even rather strange in the knowledge that Progressive Metal stays popular in the actual Heavy Metal scène. Otherwise we have to admit it stays so God damn hard for American bands to rise above the surface, only the chosen few became mainstream...
With this newest release it seems Mindwarp Chamber changed a bit of their plans and direction. Not that the band searched for new boundaries but especially the Progressive way of playing is more exclusively present. This means the darkness and power around their music vanished a bit to make place for more sophistication, technical skills but fortunately the melody stays present. If you know their other releases you will discover in the guitar sound the biggest differences. Mindwarp Chamber stays an ultra qualitative band but they are getting closer to Dream Theater by this release. For the out world Dream Theater is the highest possible level in Progressive music, to me it isn't. In my opinion they released only a few top albums, records that could enjoy me from the beginning until the end. Okay, musical wise they're top and there was always a lot to discover but their skills were mostly more important than the melodic lines...
I suppose Mindwarp Chamber changed their direction to gain a bit in popularity, nevertheless this stays first class Metal. I don't blame the band at all although the loss of their specific identity hurts a bit. I don't want to exaggerate my statement because this is after all still Mindwarp Chamber but I'm sure fans, as I am, will hear differences. Scott Huffman still is a fantastic vocalist, containing a very seductive timbre. The other musicians in the band are equally playing a leading and fantastic role in this release and more than once you'll be astonished by the musical performances on this release. The beginning of "On The Mend" for example is outstanding, proving first class musicians are present here. Other tracks that made my eyes wide shut were the heavier "Icons Of Evil" and the softer - Dream theater style - "Last ember fades". Because of this kind of highlights, which are typical for this album, "Supernova" becomes a very high standard disc. I've heard plenty of guitar solos and keyboard parts that really are 'out-of-this-world'!
I don't know if you'll understand what kind of mixed feelings I have with this record. At the one hand I stay a big fan of Progressive Metal and I will always adore what Mindwarp Chamber did on this newbie. On the other hand I keep on comparing this one with their previous ones, from which I worshipped the darkness and Power in them. It's no coincidence 'Dark Progressive Power Metal' is my favorite kind of music but every single word in this description is so important. I also understand the fact that a band needs to evaluate in time because standing still isn't an improvement.
The very beautiful front cover is another good reason to purchase this one and no matter what I've written about this one, it stays a candidate to end in my personal top 20 of this year. It will take many more spins to let this one grow on me and I suppose I will or can change thoughts about it. Fans of Progressive Metal are without any doubts obliged to purchase this one. In its genre this album is from the highest possible level and I'm convinced this will become probably one of the best Progressive Metal albums of 2010! Check them out at http://www.myspace.com/mindwarpchambermusic or http://mindwarpchamber.net.
My Points: 92 / 100