Released: 2012, Shindy Productions
Mindwork is a band that incorporates many influences into their style of progressive metal. Forming in Prague, Czech Republic in the 2005, ETEREA is the band’s second album. Impressively, Mindwork is a power trio led by Martin Schuster on vocals and guitars but playing as a four-piece in the studio. Released in 2012, ETEREA is Spanish for the feminine form of ethereal or heavenly. The album in that sense is aptly named, as there are many passages and sections of music that are of an ethereal quality.
The opening track “Enter Eterea” is not the best introduction to the band’s style, sounding more like a dreamy Pink Floyd song. However, it is short and then the album kicks in with “Perceiving The Reality”, where we get a cool riff but also a very quick introduction to the only flaw on this album. For some elusive reason, Schuster has decided that in certain sections of songs he should sing like a slightly less aggressive version of Max Cavalera, while the other seventy percent of the album should be sung in a much more appealing clean voice. Keep in mind that the music is in the style of THE ART OF NAVIGATING BY THE STARS-era Sieges Even. Credit the band though with giving you early notice less than two minutes into the album that there will be two competing vocal styles. Based on the music supporting these songs, the styles are not complementary to my ears, but it does serve the purpose of distancing Mindwork from sounding like scores of other progressive metal bands.
However, if you can get past the two opposing vocal approaches, the music is quite simply fantastic. The band have wrote fairly compact songs considering the genre, equally adept at playing clean acoustics along with complex yet inviting riffs. The production is an aural pleasure being full, big, and clear. Bassist Adam Palma and drummer Filip Kittnar help propel the already impressive guitar work; their contributions are equally important in making each song reach its full potential. Not surprisingly, there are many start and stop rhythms, and note dense sections that are symptomatic of progressive metal and not going away anytime soon. In this sense, Mindwork is not so different from scores of progressive metal bands. However what they do, they do well. Choice tracks would be “Perceiving The Reality” once the gruff vocals are over, because you get a sense of the melodic sensibilities and songwriting skills of the band and “The Stream of Causality”. While ETEREA is nothing revolutionary, this is solid progressive metal. This album would have been a 4 without those grating tough guy vocals, but a regrettable 3.5 with them. Fans of Opeth, Sieges Even, and other progressive metal bands will enjoy Mindwork.