Released: 2004, Frontiers Records/Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Mind Key is yet another band that Frontiers Records has taken under their wing and given a record contract to. The band was formed by Dario De Cicco and Emanuele Colella in 1999. They started Mind Key because they wanted a band that played prog metal like Dream Theater, Planet X and Symphony X, but with a newer, maturer and more song-oriented approach to the music. At the end of '99 the band was joined by Eduardo Schipani on drums, Francesco Mormile on bass and Mark Basile on lead vocals. Schipani left the band soon thereafter and was replaced by Andrea Stipa. With this line up they began to write songs and appear on the live scene in venues throughout their hometown of Napoli, Italy. Later on that same year they recorded a 4-track demo called WELCOME TO ANOTHER REALITY which got rave reviews in the metal press in Europe. In May 2001 another line up change came when Mormile left the band and was replaced with Lele Castaldo (ex Virgin Of Grace). By this time the band had also signed a contract with their current label and the work on a debut album began.
The liner notes describe this as progressive metal, which I’m a bit hesitant to agree with. I can partly agree, but not fully. I would say that this is progressive metal combined with progressive heavy rock, but the foundation is complicated and very technical progressive rock and NOT metal. In addition, the music is too vocal-oriented to fit into the progressive genre, in that Basile plays a bigger part on the album than what you'd find with other progressive bands. The thing that connects them to the progressive scene is the long instrumental parts they have in their songs.
This debut album is produced by Enzo Rizzo, but I don’t know when or where. The production sounds really good. As expected when it comes to prog music, the songs are incredibly long. Two are over eight minutes long, another one is about nine minutes long and the longest one is around twelve minutes long and is divided into two parts, one part which is strictly instrumental and the other with vocals.
Mind Key doesn’t impress me one bit. Sure it’s technical and complicated, but Basile's voice is a shortcoming. He’s got a weak voice and can’t handle the material at all. He doesn't lift prog metal/rock to any new heights. The musicianship stands the test, as do the songs, but not Basile. Apparently, after the album was recorded, Mind Key kicked Basile out due to artistic differences. Maybe the next album will to take Mind Key to the level where bands above it are today.
I can’t recommend this to anyone who likes prog metal/rock. Instead you should buy something with Karmakanic or Madmen & Sinners. They make eally good music, first and foremost, but with singers who know what to do. According to the info provided with the CD, Mind Key should be a new prog metal/rock sensation ready to strike … but the question is, will they? No, I don’t think so.