Released: 2007, Melissa Records
Rising out of the heavy metal wasteland of Northeastern, PA, this American based traditional/power metal outfit has come a long way since its last album, 2005’s LOST IN THE SHADOWS. Where that album suffered from a directionless approach and sometimes aimless playing, MINDFIRE shows everything evolving nicely - - the production is crisper, the album is more unified in sound, and the playing is much more concise. Fans of bands like Jag Panzer and Iced Earth, or more classic bands like Maiden and Priest, should immediately hear something here that they like, i.e. a powerful album filled with guts and fist-pumping metal. These guys clearly love the music they play, and it comes through in the delivery of nearly every song.
The opening cut, “Act of War,” with its classic metal riffs, beats, solos, and melodies tells you everything you need to know about what follows it. The album overflows with solid, riff-oriented traditional metal that ranges from the chugging, mid-range style seen in “Blood on the Ice” to the speedier, more power metal style of “Illusion of Your Life.” Vocalist, Joe Karavis can be summed up like this: Harry Conklin meets Blaze Bayley trying to do his best Bruce Dickinson impersonation with a little bit of his own gruffness thrown in for good measure. The guitar riffs are typical for this genre of music and the solos on MINDFIRE show a flare that is a good leap ahead of the often disembodied solos on the last album. Many of the songs even offer nice changes of pace throughout their structure giving the listener a good amount of variety. Unfortunately, for all of these good qualities of execution and style, the album still somehow falls flat as a complete unit in that there are really no songs that stand out as highlight tracks. In the end, you will listen to this album, banging your head, raising your devil horns, and having a good time; but when it’s over, you will probably say to yourself that you’ve heard it all before, and the last time you heard it, it was better.
On MINDFIRE, we see a band that has the perfect, aggressive attitude, a band that plays with passion, and a band with all the right influences shining through. What we don’t get, unfortunately, are a lot of memorable songs. Still, these guys are on the right track with this release, showing a lot of growth from their previous efforts. Next time around, though, if they can find a way to add a little distinction to their sound, they might make something that will become a lasting part of the heavy metal lexicon.