The T 666
I've just heard MINDFLOW's 2006 work "Mind over Body" and I have to say, I'm at the same time impressed and disappointed.
I'm impressed (favorably) because the band is certainly a terrific, outstanding, amazing group of musicians. The vocals are nothing to write home about but the guitars and keys are just great. The level of playing that Hidalgo and Spada can achieve is demonstrated by the complicated textures, solos and the variety of styles that they go over in this release. No doubt the band is one of the great surprises in musicianship in the metal world. Even better to know that they come from Brazil, a land that has given us good power-prog-metal acts before (ANGRA), even though MINDFLOW is much more progressive in a typical way.
I'm impressed by the production values. Not only is the recording perfect and the sound of the disc something to really applaud; the band has also made an effort to provide its fans with one of the best booklet/cases, with beautiful artwork and even a whole song (and the album's concept) put into comic in a second booklet. The band takes the fans and its art seriously, and I really like that.
But there are some dissapointing elements to this album. And I find them where most people find this album's strengths: in the complexity of the music. I've given my opinion a million times: I love to hear technical displays of prowess and intricate structures, but not at the expense of coherence. I've hear Mind over Body more than a few times and I still think that it's very difficult to grasp any kind of structure in some of the songs. The musicians (very good nes, I say it again) lose themselves in change after change after change, never allowing a song to just, well, flow (pun intended).
Now, it can be said that some of the genre's best moments have arrived thanks to challenges to the traditional structures and to completely difficult-to-get songs. I agree. But I can't sense any sense of symphonism here: this is not something like Close to The Edge; I also can't sense any multi-sectionism a la Supper's Ready or A Change of Seasons (metallic rhapsodism?). I can't even detect the broad, far-reaching maps of many post-metal songs; what is even more deciding, I can't find riff to riff structures like in DEATH. Just to focus in the genre, PAIN OF SALVATION (wihout a doubt the band MINDFLOW tries to emulate) has never failed to have a sense of coherence, structure, song-craftmanship. Yet MINDFLOW has. And that is what ultimately dissapointed me about them.
The music? Complex progressive-metal with touches of DREAM THEATER, QUEENSRYCHE, but mostly, PAIN OF SALVATION. At times the band sounds too much like Gildenlow's creature. But without the art of the song that the Swede masters possess.
All in all, a good, if flawed album, by a band that I'm sure can very easily deliver a 5-star album in the future, should they choose to let the music flow and save some of the complexity for future releases.