Power of Metal.dk Review

Virus of the Mind
Style: Symphonic melodic death
Release date: 20 October, 2014
Playing time: 45:21

Last year I got blown away by the 'Fires of Life' debut by this Chigago based band and much to my surprise here is already their second album. The bombastic orchestral intro of the song "Be Dead or Die" sounds very promising and the first song is nice indeed, but I miss something I liked very much about the debut album, but I can't figure out yet what it is. Parker Jameson's aggressive singing style hasn't changed, but what the hell happens in the second song? Why, why is this band doing what the lot already are doing for years? Why introducing a normal cleaner singing style? I know you have to develop as a band and I'm sure most of the fans will find this o.k., but for me personally....no...

On the debut the band sounded different from a lot of other bands, but by introducing cleaner singing they have begun to sound like so many other bands. Another part I miss is the guitar soli in Dragonforce style and I have the idea that the first album had more orchestral pieces. Although that is compensated a bit on the second part. The band skipped some things I liked so much on the first album, so to me this album is a little disappointment. On top of that they have introduced cleaner singing parts in the music, which aren't an improvement for me. What's left are the very fast songs, the aggressive riffs, the majestic keys and the fast tasty guitar soli all over the album. Fortunately the band still uses some classic kind of influences, like in "Breaking the Madness", which combines fast heavy parts with slower orchestral arrangements and then the music reminds me of the debut album indeed, but just when I start to get enthusiastic again, the clean singing starts ... Don't get me wrong, it isn't bad but for me the music of the band just didn't need that, but songwriter of the band Parker Jameson thought different and it is his music...

On the debut I couldn't find a bad song, but on this album there are at least two I don't find that strong or special. "Virus of the Mind" is an average kind of balladesk track with nothing really special and "Before Hope Fades" doesn't make me really wild either. Fortunately there are still songs that make me enthusiastic; "Into Destiny" is one of them, a very fast song with amazing blastbeats and with orchestral parts making me think of the debut again; Dimmu Borgir, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Nightwish, Children of Bodem and Arch Enemy influences combined. Also the solo in the song is really nice. After the for me disappointing start I get a bit used to the style changes and one of the best songs "God of the World" passes by. A variable track with almost impossible fast parts, with excellent aggressive vocals, a very bombastic second part on marching tempo and awesome guitar soli.

Well, I have to come to my final conclusion and that is one with two faces: I think there will be a lot of metal fans that really like this album and it surely is a good album, but personally I am not that enthusiastic. With introducing the cleaner singing parts and banning almost all the Dragonforce shredding the band has lost the two elements that made them different from a lot of other bands. For the band a rather logical development and perhaps with the idea to play a more original style. The songs also sound less chaotic and more balanced, but I actually liked that ADHD part. The big surprise I felt listening to their debut didn't arise this time, but I'm sure that this album will score well with others.

I think that I would have given the band a higher rating if I didn't know the debut, but sadly enough for the band I do.

01. Be Dead or Die
Winter Desolation
Breaking the Madness
Virus of the Mind
Before Hope Fades
Into Destiny
God of This World
09. My Catharsis
10. Convergence
Label: Century Media
Distribution: Universal (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Reinier de Vries
Date: 14 October, 2014
Website: www.facebook.com/starkillofficial