took a few moments of listening to this album for me to make up my mind. "A
Mind's Portrait" is manna for anyone into Progressive Metal. The fact that
this is only the band's debut album makes it all the more impressive.
is pretty much the project of one Rich Hinks, a young lad from Cambridge,
England, who hires/invites musicians along for the ride. In "A Mindís
Portrait" these musicians are primarily the band's vocalists, namely Nils K.
Rue (of Pagan's Mind), Andi Kravljaka (of Silent Call), Andreas Novak (of
Mind's Eye) and Elyes Bouchoucha (of Myrath) - a strong line-up that
generally fulfils its promise. Lloyd Musto - Rich's pal - helps out on drums
and does a good job of it too. The live line-up seems to have settled
reasonably well with Mr. Kravlyaka on vocals together with Matt Shepherd on
guitar, Christian van Schuerbeck on keyboards and Mike Lennon on drums. Rich
himself is focusing on bass guitar when the band hits a stage.
So is this
a British Ayreon? Possibly, because it's also the music that has parallels
to the Dutch masters of Progressive Metal, especially its epic scope and the
'ethereal' themes of the songs. Like all good Progressive Metal albums,
there's a rich variety of moods and instruments and it all has a strong
organic feel. Other obvious influences (at least to my ears) are Evergrey,
Dream Theatre, Pain Of Salvation and Threshold... especially Threshold.
Originality might not be the album's strongest virtue. Despite possibly
sounding pedantic I felt, for example, that certain riffs were too close for
comfort to bands such as Symphony X - something which could form strong
expectations in the listener's mind.
is a name we're going to hear more from in the near future and with such a
strong debut that's what we all hope for.