With Bare Hands
Either creativity is taking a hit this year, or the powers behind this website don’t trust me with new material; but for my next two reviews I will be taking on poorly veiled re-releases. Up first is Mindflows’s “With Bare Hands”, which really should’ve been titled “A Nice Pet On Our Own Backs”. For their first release on Nightmare Records, Mindflow has chosen to combine their “favorite” songs from previous albums “Destructive Device” and “365” into one album of fourteen tracks. I understand the appeal of distributing your older work among a larger audience, but after two years, they could’ve at least penned some new songs. Luckily for these Brazilian progressive metallers I’ve never heard of them before, so I’ll just treat this like it’s brand new. (But it isn’t.)
The genre description needs some clarification. These guys play progressive metal like Elvenking plays power metal: they mold the genre into its most commercial form. Just like on “Red Silent Tides”, the lines between metal and hard rock often blur on “With Bare Hands”, as heard in radio-friendly Creed-like tunes “Breakthrough” and “The Ride”. To conclude the comparison with the Italian cheesecake factory: Mindflow’s singer Danilo Herbert often sounds a damn lot like Damnagoras. Prog as pop isn’t new to the scene: Aspera did it last year, and Above Symmetry did it this year (to get that joke, tune in next week). But those bands were more rooted in the heavier than the softer side of things.
The approach here implies there's no firm foot on the distortion pedal, and that’s a shame. Some excellent riffing is downplayed, probably to sound more appealing to a non-metal audience, and therefore there’s a severe lack of punch. Herbert’s voice carries most of the tunes, and luckily he’s a more than skilled vocalist, displaying a raw kind of emotion throughout. The excellent “Break Me Out” kicks off a satisfying first half, with the title track being another standout. But fourteen songs is too much for music with little impact or variety and the whole thing becomes tiresome past the halfway mark, a few brief glares of distinction notwithstanding.
I hope Mindflow is sick of these songs by now and starts thinking about some new material. This band could go places, but for now it keeps revisiting the old ones. As easy-listening as this may be, it’s hard to actually remember anything of it when the time is up. Fans of softy progressive metal may want to give this a shot, for there’s some fun to be had here. Just don’t expect the quality of “Destructive Device” or “365” or anything…
Arno Callens' rating: 3.0 out of 5