Mindfield – be-low


German band Mindfield apparently used to play death metal, but due to a lineup change the group has now evolved into more of a melodic metal/hard-rock outfit. Although I never heard any of the death metal releases, I can easily say I prefer Mindfield with melody. I’ll take good melody and understandable vocals over speed and screaming any day and Mindfield is a band that presents it all quite well.
To be fair to bands that have paved the way for Mindfield (and are clearly heavy influences), be-low is not an album that will strike you as particularly innovative. Not that Mindfield is simply a copy-cat group directly ripping off its predecessors, but no metal or hard-rock fan will miss the obvious styles, both lyrical and musical, of this genre’s pioneers. Unlike some people who get turned off by such things, I still find plenty to like about be-low. The band members are each clearly skilled musicians and though some of the lyrics leave me wanting a bit more, the interesting vocals, powerhouse guitars, and deft use of melody more than make up for it in most areas.
While there are no truly weak songs on be-low to speak of, a few fall short of the others for simply not reaching the same level of interest – for instance, the power ballad “A Silent Moment” is something this album could do without. However, if you enjoy melodic metal you will likely be happy with the entire album, but there will definitely be some highlights. Opening track “Made to Measure” is a personal favorite due to its on-spot guitars, rolling drums, and flawless vocal delivery. “Desperate (Death Parade)” brings the keyboards to the front for a more industrial/gothic feel, while the intro to “Mucher No Illores” features some rather stunning Spanish-style guitar. The title track returns the listener to the melodic metal that seems to suit Mindfield the best, with more chugging guitars and technical proficiency in abundance.
Mindfield’s be-low isn’t an album that bowls me over, but for fans of melodic metal it is a solid enough offering and provides a nice glimpse into what this band could become. The band members have all the key elements of making good music down pat; they just need to expand their horizons a little bit more to push their songwriting over the edge and make thoroughly great music.