OK, I am a fan! Count me in, Parallel Minds! I am totally in.
To say I enjoyed listening to them is an understatement. If you like power and progressive metal, this is a band I suggest you give a listen to! It may also appeal to fans of melodic metal, but be warned: this is pretty heavy stuff – though very well written and performed.
After working together for two years, Parallel Minds have recently released their debut CD, “Headlong Disaster”. What strikes me is the professionalism it has been delivered with, and I honestly struggle to find any faults with any aspect of their music. Pretty impressive debut, which makes me feel privileged for being given the opportunity to review it!
They say their influences “range from Nevermore and Symphony X, to Pink Floyd and Scorpions and everything in between”. This is what got me intrigued in the first place (being a die hard Symphony X fan myself). I must admit, what I heard wasn’t quite what I expected (I would actually list some other influences – just read below for my opinion), but I was not disappointed at all.
The album bursts with raw energy, excellent vocals, perfect instrumentation, good melodies and professional metal performance that should best be enjoyed at maximum volume, preferably at an open-air stadium. What must have surely been a benefit for the band is the helping hand of the famous Jacob Hansen (Primal Fear, Epica, Pretty Maids) who mastered the album to perfection.
Here are my notes about the actual tracks – “all about Metal, Melody, Depth and Groove”.
1. I Am
Wow. This is an unusual start. There is no intro as such, as you would normally expect from any opening track. Instead – a very explosive beginning, straight to the point; and the point is full-on power metal. Great speed, guitar riffs and vocals. I have a thing about backing vocals (just not easily pleased when it comes to this), but they are not bad at all. I am just not too sure about them all, sorry (but they may well grow on me, who knows!). Otherwise a very good opening song, which definitely gets my full attention.
2. Into the Void
Brilliant intro, totally accomplished and well thought through. This is when I started to wonder: just whom does the main vocalist remind me of?? This track is classical power metal: from its rhythm, through riffs, to vocals and chorus. The latter to me is reminiscence of Hammerfall and their likes. Or maybe a bit of System of a Down?
3. Reborn Through Hate (YouTube Clip can be found here)
Classical clear vocal; very melodic and catchy tune. Perfect song throughout! It is just bloody impossible to believe that this is a newly starting band, honest. No wonder this is the track they chose to release first – it can totally convert you to a Parallel Minds’ fan!
4. Migdal Bavel (Myth of Babel)
Well that’s a surprise (not)! Would you expect a power metal album to have no biblical references? If yes, then think again. Typical title and lyrics for the genre, but this doesn’t diminish the value of the music whatsoever. Slow guitar intro, in the traditions of the best bands. And here it strikes me: the reference I was looking for is Savatage. Quick, Google, save me from embarrassment and remind me the name of their singer, is that him by any chance? Nope. But this one sounds as good as Jon Oliva. Slow, deep, epical track, with lots of vocal harmonies.
5. Headlong Disaster (YouTube clip can be found here)
Speedy power metal at its best. I just can’t help but head-bang to this. Crikey, the energy this gives you! They let you catch your breath for a few brief melodic moments, before they dazzle you again with amazing guitar speeds and drum power. This reminds me of the best Scandinavian bands, all the way back to the roots (Yngwie Malmsteen even) and is an example of very progressive metal.
6. Ghost of Sparta
The opening lyrical vocal solo makes you think this will be a slow melodic song. The prolonged scream shows you just how wrong you can be and returns you to the sound of power metal. It does remind me of System of a Down again. Mixed with pure lyrical episodes, this is overall a very good track.
7. A 1000 Minds Away
Lyrical acoustic start, but it keeps me on my toes for a while: it makes me wonder if this is another deceptively romantic intro. Well, no. It turns out to be a perfect metal ballad. 100% hit material.
Bloody hell. If there is one track you can hear from this album, then this is definitely the one! Perfect power-progressive-melodic metal. This song is 19:46 minutes long, but does not bore me at all. It changes rhythm, pace and melody a few times, keeping the listener on their toes. I cannot help but think of Savatage’s best traditions. Absolutely epic, mind-blowing mixture of metal and pure melodic pleasure. Simply amazing masterpiece.
9. Coming Home (Scorpions Cover)
10. Only The Good Die Young (Iron Maiden Cover)
These two speak for themselves. Refreshing look at these classics.
So, who are the people delivering this magic?