"Sense of Mind" is the 4th full-length studio album by Canadian progressive/ power metal act Empyria. I haven´t listened to any of the three albums that came before "Sense of Mind" so this is my first encounter with the band.
The music on the album is in US power metal style with some progressive elements. The US part is important to mention here as the music on "Sense of Mind" has little to do with the whimsical keyboard dominated European power metal style. Comparisons to acts such as Metal Church, Fates Warning, Queensrÿche, Crimson Glory and Heir Apparent are apparent. The music on this album is what my mamma used to call "real" metal. Heavy guitar riffing, a powerful lead vocalist and a great pounding rythm section. There are sporadic use of keyboards and piano on the album, but the dominant instruments are guitar, bass and drums. Lead singer Philip Leite is a real treat IMO. in addition to being a really skilled vocalist he also has a great voice for this kind of music. If I have to make comparisons to one of the better known vocalists in the genre it would be Ray Alder (Fates Warning, Engine, Redemption). The rythm section is as mentioned really strong but in the instrumental department I must admit that I mostly focus on the excellent guitar work by guitarist Mike Kischnick (Thor, Severed Serenity). Heavy, powerful riffs and great melodic solos are played with ease. Most songs on the album flat out rock and there are no better examples of that than "Ties That Blind" and "Heaven´s Cry". The latter mentioned even has an almost thrashy opening riff not far removed from the famous "Symphony of Destruction" main riff by Megadeth. The slightly progressive edge that sometimes occur in the music can be heard on songs like "In God´s Hands", "Prejudice Reigns" and "Forever".
The sound production is good. The guitar is loud and raw, The vocals are high but balanced in the mix and the rythm section sounds powerful too. I appreciate that the production is not too polished, which sometimes kills the power in music like this.
I´ve really enjoyed my first encounter with Empyria and "Sense of Mind" is highly recommendable to fans of old school eighties US power metal/ progressive metal. A 3.5 star rating is warranted.