"The Art of Becoming" is the debut full-length studio album by Norwegian progressive metal act Minas Tirith. The album was released through Voices of Wonder in 1995. The band had been active in the Norwegian underground since 1989, releasing two avant garde tinged black/death metal demos and an EP.
...the music on "The Art of Becoming" still features traces of extreme metal but, the album is pre-dominantly a progressive metal album. The most prominant extreme metal feature is the occasional semi-growling vocals on the album. Mostly the vocals are clean sung though. Minas Tirith are a trio consisting of Frode Forsmo on bass and vocals, Stian Kraboel on guitar and Tony Kirkemo on drums and they have that distinct stripped down trio sound with a strong emphasis on the rythm section. Both bass and drums are very busy. I´m sometimes reminded of Rush.
"The Art of Becoming" is what I´d call an odd ball progressive metal release. It´s very eclectic with all sorts of musical playing styles and stylistic elements put in. It´s safe to say that Minas Tirith are not afraid to experiment. I admire their adventurous approach to writing music but there are a couple of issues with "The Art of Becoming" that drag my rating down. First of all the sound production is only semi-professional to my ears (the guitar sound in particular is rather powerless but the vocal production isn´t too successful either) and secondly the clean vocals are a bit "off". So while "The Art of Becoming" is certainly both an intriguing and original sounding progressive metal album, it´s not perfect by any means. a 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.