Mastermind: Excelsior! (CD, 51:23); InsideOutMusic IOMCD 033, 1999 InsideOutMusic Kleiner Markt 10 47533 Kleve, Germany Fax +49(0)2821 26920 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Cyberhome: http://www.insideout.de or http://www.k2nesoft.com/mastermind/ I kept hearing great things about this release long before Berends could ever get a copy off to me. I am a fusion head and search the globe to find the best. I then share the finds with the rest of fusion folk out there. A few months before I had the joy of seeing Mastermind live at NEARfest 1999 my demo copy finally arrived. I was not disappointed. This is one those releases that features musicians playing exactly the right kind of guitar riffs, drum lines, and keyboard runs. Much ado has been made over such 1999 releases such as Vertú with it’s huge monetary backing. Just between the rest of the world and me -- listen up. Bill Berends on fusion axe, Rich Berends on killer drums, and Jens Johansson on dazzling keys are several notches above the dynamic fusion of even Vertú. These guys give it 110% and there is absolutely no filler, no weak tracks, no intrusive vocals -- everything smokes and sizzles. As I said all the tracks are a delight. This comes from a very picky and critical fusion lover. But if you want headbanging, spine-tingling, fiery-fused abandon then do these two tracks first -- “On the Road by Noon” and then “Sudden Impulse”. Good golly Miss Molly, listen ta dat woodja, just yooz listen, Lawd hava mercy me, Ize ‘bout to have a kanipshun chillrun! Land sakes! Izzat Mahervishner er sumthin’? Excelsior! is one of those releases that is firmly a must-have for fusion folks. Bill Berends on fiery riffage guitars, is driven by a maddening wall of brother Rich's drumming. This is Mastermind in their prime. But there is much more. Fusion and rock genius Jens Johansson joins the team on explosive keys and synth bass. If you loved The Mahavishnu Orchestra, enjoyed Johansson's recent fusion projects with Allan Holdsworth, Shawn Lane, and Mike Stern -- be sure to grab your own copy of Mastermind's return to the primal roots of killer fusion. Excelsior! will delight progheads as well. Do it again guys, do it again! ~ John W. Patterson
Mastermind: Angels of the Apocalypse (CD, 70:07); InsideOut Music America, 2000 E-mail: N/A Cyberhome: N/A 10 words or less: Chameleon band makes strong attempt at ProgMetal Elaboration: I must say I was surprised to hear the sounds coming out of my speakers upon loading this disc. I have heard Mastermind before and what I heard was very heavily influenced by ELP. The fun thing about this band is that it’s a power trio. So, you ask how can they be like ELP which was a Keyboard trio? Well, the ‘mastermind’ behind this band, one Bill Berends, plays Guitar Synthesizer that sounds like Keyboards... but not on *this* album. From the relentless double Bass Drum attack to the in your face Guitar & Synth unison lines, this is pure ProgMetal. The talented Jens Johannson plays the Keys on this one, providing the perfect foil for Bill Berends shred Guitar. There are very well done female vocals that don’t smother the pieces. Overall, an album of high quality ProgMetal that all fans of the genre should enjoy. ~ L Perez
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