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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Mind's Eye

Waiting for the Tide

Review by Steve Alspach

Five things that are done very well in Sweden:
1) Meatballs
2) Women
3) Hockey players
4) Women
5) Progressive Rock


Add to that last item on the list a band called Mind's Eye, a band that displays influences of Rush and Dream Theater. Yet their sound is not as heavy as Dream Theater's, and they do a very good job of mixing the heavy with the delicate on this album. The songs here change in dynamics swiftly, and the instrumentation is excellent. A casual listen to this disc will fail to bring out the nuances and complexities, and one listen won't do either. This is a demanding album that showcases a band with top-notch execution and clear, yet powerful vocals.

The band consists of Johan Niemann, bass; Daniel Flores, drums and keyboards; Andreas Novak, vocals; and Fredrik Grunberger, guitars. (Drummer/keyboardists are rare enough, but Daniel Flores also wrote the lyrics on all but two of the songs on the album.)

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Frozen Tears
This song starts off with voices broadcasting the news while the band plays its introduction. The group then shifts to its riff-driven verses. A mid-song instrumental passage features Grunberger's fluid guitar work.
Calling (Father to Son)
This number is a plea for forgiveness from a repentant father towards a skeptical son. The verses, featuring the father's lament, are in subtle contrast to the chorus where the son's doubt is met with distorted guitar.
A Pond of Thoughts
The verses are played over a complex 9/8 arrangement, but the choruses are in straight 4/4 to bring some semblance of convention. After the bridge, there is a complex instrumental passage, followed by a rapid-fire solo from Grunberger.
Closer (Spirits in the Room Part I)
Nighttime paranoia is the theme of this song. There is a spot in this cut where the band goes into a descending riff at breakneck speed, only to have the keyboards bring it to a gentle landing - an excellent effect. 
In My Mind (Spirits in the Room Part II)
More disturbing dreams plague Novak. At 7:52 this is the longest song on the album, but it covers a surprisingly wide territory. The musical sections are short but intertwined. There is a four-chord progression that occurs during the song that is quite catchy and is deserving of more development.
Primitive Light
A slow-down-speed-up riff starts this number. The verse is played over that riff, but the chorus is played over a more moderate pattern. Like the previous track, there is a progression at the end of the piece, played over two bars, that is also deserving of more space. The band could have perhaps slipped in a guitar solo or such just to give this riff more time to develop.
Jealousy in Disguise
A spoken voice, sounding very much like Al Gore's, leads off the song. (Well, it does! This isn't a, um, subliminal political plug here.) The bridge, in 7/4, shows some tasty drumming from Flores. Grunberger gets some lengthy soloing in, but Flores and Niemann fill in with changing chord patterns to keep this section from sounding cliched.
Fall On Trust
This one features a very catchy hook on the last line of the verse, and the choruses have some nice overlapping vocal lines. At 4:34 this is the shortest song on the album, and it shows that the band can write and play some good, short songs and leave the complex arrangements for another time. The last line of the chorus ("When words don't help and no one seems to care / You'll fall on trust") are among the most positive in the album.
Circles in the Sand
This is the most riff-driven (and catchiest) song on the album. The melody line on this tune is easy to follow, showing that the band doesn't always have to befuddle the listener with unexpected twists and turns. There is a short instrumental passage, though, where they revert to their "confuse the listener" mode, followed by a spoken line: "I don't expect you to understand." Well, sometimes I don't. This passage seems a bit gratuitous, but doesn't mar the composition in any major way.
...Fade Out
A short coda to the album. The words "Don't let it fade out" are repeated over a slow, repetitive chord progression. And, of course, the song fades out.
 
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