Pennsylvania has been rich in history with strong working class values and ethics. It was certainly the birthplace of the first Continental Congress that declared America’s Independence from Britian, American Industrial Revolution, the Battle Of Gettysburg, and even football’s first real dynasty with the Pittsburgh Steelers. There has always seemed that there is a very relentless hard working independent spirit about that area in America. This has even trickled down to American Heavy Metal/Hard Rock. It certainly trickled down to the sister and brother duo and founders of MindMaze Sarah Teets and Jeff Teets.
In a time when female-fronted metal is at an all-time high in popularity but also at an all-time high for copycats and imitators, MindMaze has striven hard to forge their own sound and identity. Hailing from Allentown, Pennsylvania (United States) the band are young but have already released two successful full-length albums since formation at the beginning of 2012. In September 2015 the band was selected to go on tour as a direct support band for metal legends Saxon and Armored Saint on the heels of an independently booked and promoted tour with the Virginia-based progressive metal band Iris Divine. The band has traveled thousands of miles and performed all over the United States over the course of the past several years.
The band’s debut album Mask of Lies has been hailed by fans and critics all over the world as an outstanding piece of independent metal that is refreshing while being firmly rooted in many classic metal mainstays. With no label support, management, or outside hired promotion, the band managed to sell copies of Mask of Lies to fans in 34 of 50 United States and a total of 17 countries worldwide, selling 100% of the album’s first pressing in the first 12 months of its release.
On the heels of Mask of Lies’ success, the band released their sophomore effort Back from the Edge (2014), on October 24th, 2014 in Europe and October 28th, 2014 in USA/Canada via Inner Wound Recordings, featuring artwork by MONOWASP (Seventh Wonder, Harem Scarem, Brazen Abbot, Crash Diet, many more), Symphony X bassist Mike LePond on all tracks, and guest appearances by members of Stratovarius, Pharaoh, LORD, and Draekon. 2015 saw the band release a fan-funded EP in support of their single “Dreamwalker” which featured a selection of cover songs, acoustic versions, alternate versions, and a new original track entitled “Slave to the Cycle”. The EP is on the verge of going out of print after only 6 months on the market.
I first discovered this prog/powerhouse back in 2013 around the time their debut Mask Of Lies was to be released. I wrote a review for it during my brief tenure over at Lady Obscure Magazine. Due to respect and good faith I have never reissued that review anywhere else. However you are free to read that review by clicking insert link >> Mask Of Lies Review at Lady Obscure Magazine. I was totally floored to hear a female fronted band come more in the vein of a Savatage meets Dream Theater meets Crimson Glory and Iron Maiden. The last review I wrote for MindMaze seen the band wearing their influences on their sleeves. In 2017 with their third album Resolve I have seen a band mature into one of the most under rated powerhouse’s in the progressive and power metal communities.
With Resolve MindMaze have taken all their influences placed them into a melodic furnace and now have forged their own mature sound. With ResolveSarah Teets has really come into her own and established her a vocal force to be reckoned with. With Resolve being just their third album the band has really come together like a bad that has been in the industry for 15 to 20 years and have a further developed sense of confidence on this.
The fact that such a powerful album like Resolveis a third album is not a band thing whatsoever. Many many bands have set the table and strides for a long lasting career off the third album. I call it ‘The Third Album Stride’. I will elaborate on that later in this review. Now I would like to point a out a few highlights from every track on MindMaze’s Resolve.
Reverie opens up the album with a very melodic acoustic guitar section. Soon the track explodes and the band delivers a powerful wall of sound. The rhythm section with the piano and lead guitar take the listener on a ride and immediately hook their interest. The time signatures are very intricate and mature.This track is written and arranged quite well and also bleeds seamlessly into the following track Fight The Future. This is the first of three instrumentals on Resolve.
Fight the Future begins seamlessly off Reverie. It makes Reverie appear to be the opening credits to a film story or short film before any vocal dialogue is handled by Sarah Teets – Vocals. The opening instrumental section takes on many twists and turns in and out of various chord progressions and time signatures and thunderous rhythmic sections. This contains both power metal and progressive metal elements. The vocals come in very clear, aggressive and with some serious conviction behind them. Sarah has really established herself as one of the more unique and distinctive voices in the progressive/power metal community. The solo’s have a very Iron Maiden vibe about them meaning heavy galloping guitars with highly distinctive bass work that is evident.
In This Void is the second of three instrumentals on the album. Once again the band very eloquently and seamlessly enters into this very effectively off Fight the Future. Although it is only 1:12 do not mistake this for just a filler on the album. There is a purpose served with it. This track moves beautifully with ease into the following track Drown Me.
Drown Me starts off with some really heavy neo progressive elements on the keyboards. The guitar is even tuned to match the neo progressive element. Soon after the band take the more conventional pure progressive/power metal chord progressions. This is a very very guitar oriented track. While taking a European flavor with the power metal half of the track the progressive metal element is much more American. The band have managed to bring both styles in a well balanced harmony along with the wicked time signatures of the rhythm section. This is a track that will appeal to both a North American and European audience thus opening more opportunities for the band on live bills. The track takes a bit of a break for a more ethereal element around the 5:30 mark. The guitar solos seem to be getting stronger and more complex the further into the album the listener gets. This track has a thunderous outro to finish it where it bleeds seamlessly into the next track Sign of Life.
Sign of Life is the first single off the album. It begins as a very traditional melodic progressive metal track much in the vein of Crimson Glory’s Lonley,Queensryche’s Eyes Of A Stranger or even Dream Theater’s Another Day. This opens up with a harmony of a well executed guitar solo in harmony with the rhythm section. The track drops and takes a break where some acoustic guitar is present along with a beautiful vocal harmony. This track is one of the heavier tuned down tracks on the album. The use of a double vocal with back vocals adds a depth not heard on previous albums. There is not only a conceptual theme developing here but a very vocally oriented and mature album. The guitar solo’s are very insane but remain on point with the main objective of both song and album.
Abandon opens up and continues the guitar oriented assault. The drums are more present in the scheme of things with the rhythm sections. This track is where the band starts to display that European flavor of power metal with more up tempo guitar riffs and aggressive vocals. The vocals are a bit more aggressive on this one and rightfully so. This is a total rhythm and vocal assault from opening to close with more aggressive guitar solo’s as well. There is a very Iron Maiden influence presence on the portions of the guitar solo’s.
Sanity’s Collapse is the third and final instrumental on Resolve. It seamlessly picks up where Abandon left with a slower more rhythmic chord progression throughout the track. The tuned down atmosphere allows for the band to set up the last half of the album and the listener to digest the listening experience.
One More Moment opens up with a ballad like piano passage in harmony with a deep bass tone for depth that adds to the vocal harmony quite well. The band have slowed this one down much more than some of the other tracks on the album. If there is a power ballad on the album this track is it. This is album also takes a very appropriate conceptual element making references of previous song titles like Fight the Future. This is also a very introspective track and it certainly stands out that way.
Twisted Dream has this wicked fade in in the introduction that is absolutely a brutal assault with both the guitar stringed section and the beast of a rhythm section. The band has certainly added a level of heaviness and layered it upon a melodic chord progression. The vocals once again are high priority and upfront. There is some nice vocal effects layered over some spoken word portions serving as a backing vocal. There is some serious depth with a seven string guitar present on the track that is becoming more and more common in progressive and power metal circles. This track just builds layers upon layers of heaviness and depth. Lyrically there is some serious internal issues at work here.
True Reflection opens up much in the vein of a Awaken The Guardian era Fates Warning track. There is some serious guitar work both on the electric heavy and the acoustic atmospheric sides. The rhythm section allows the string section to really stand out without being lost itself. The vocals are some of the most appropriately emotional vocals perfectly complimenting the intricate lyrical issues going on here. The guys perfectly compliment the lead vocal with the back harmonies. This is another track where the band utilizes building layers upon layers with great execution.
Shattered Self opens up with a thrash metal style power metal element. A style more heard on a Iced Earth style power metal. The rhythm section and rhythm guitar are relentless. The vocals are very melodic and ethereal over the instrumental portion. That is something very rarely heard in a thrash power metal atmosphere as this song is. There is even the use of a small choir in the backing vocal.
Release begins with a almost classical chamber music style piano passage before the acoustic guitar and vocals come into play here. On the surface Release appears as a ballad. I kind of see this as more of a slower paced song to allow the listener to digest the album thus far and for the band to set the tone to close the concept out on the final track The Path to Perseverance. The guitar solo is very atmospheric in nature.
The Path to Perseverance once again with ease and simplicity seamlessly comes over from the previous track Release. These seamless transitions make the album stand out as the concept album it is allowing the listener to remain immersed in the album and story. The Path to Perseverance is the epic on the album. It has a powerful atmospheric opening set of intricate chord progressions adding both electric guitar and acoustic guitar passages. The lyrical content really is a melodic summary of the overall totality of the conceptual element of the album. With this being well over 11:00 minutes expect longer instrumentals. The ethereal vocal effects add yet another layer upon which this album has been known for throughout. This is also a great closing track in the arrangement if the band ever decides to or has opportunity to play this concept in its entirety live.
Bands whose careers have exploded off the third album are as follows, Dream Theater – Awake 1994 ,Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast 1982, RUSH – 2112 – 1976, Fates Warning – Awaken The Guardian – 1986, Savatage – Hall Of The Mountain King – 1987, Nightwish – Wishmaster – 2000 , Blind Guardian – Tales From The Twilight World – 1990 , Ayreon’s – Into The Electric Castle – 1998 , Shadowside – Inner Monster Out – 2011, Evergrey’s – In Search of Truth – 2001 ,Pain Of Salvation’s – Perfect Element Part 1 -2000. I see MindMaze’s Resolve in 2017 being in the conversation 10 to 15 years from now. Resolve is also a perfect title for this album as well. It shows the bands grit and determination that they are going nowhere anytime soon. I give MindMaze’s Resolve a strong 5/5for maturity and growth.
05 April 2017 Paul O’Neill The entire Trans-Siberian Orchestra family, past and present, is heartbroken to share the devastating news that Paul O’Neill has passed away from chronic illness. He was our friend and our leader — a truly creative spirit and an altruistic soul. This is a profound and indescribable loss for us all. We ask that you respect Paul’s family’s privacy now. We will make additional announcements shortly.
When we get further details we will post them on this article here at Power Of Prog.
If you are a metal fan whether it be power metal, progressive, melodic metal, etc .. it is no secret that Brazil has been setting herself up to be a major stronghold for metal for the last 30 years. Starting out with pioneers like Oficina G3 in 1987 to bands like Angra, Dr. Sin, Viper in 1991, Brazil has been a true under rated force within the Melodic/Progressive/Power Metal communities. Recently in the 2000’s bands like Mindflow, Shadowside, Alma Souspell and Vandroya have taken the Brazilian progressive/power metal sound to the global community. Brazilian power progressive metal is a bit heavier with a more attitude much like American power progressive metal much like Virgin Steel, Fates Warning and Crimson Glory. Vandroya embody all the above mentioned bands.
Formed in 2001, Vandroya started as a band of young musicians that were all very passionate about heavy metal. Initially focused on playing cover versions of the bands that inspired them, the increasing involvement with the metal scene in Brazil led them to record their first demo. The “Within Shadows” EP was released in 2005 and helped the word of Vandroya to be spread and to get shows around Brazil.
A deal was inked with the Swedish label Inner Wound Recordings for Europe and North America and with Spiritual Beast for the Japanese market, and the debut album “One” was finally released early 2013. The album received excellent feedback in Brazil and around the world and is often described as a perfect mix between bands like Angra, Kamelot and Symphony X. Vandroya played many shows around Brazil and name of the band continued to spread around the world because of the good feedback for “One” and for the bands first music video “Why Should We Say Goodbye”.
In 2015 the band contributed to the Brazilian Helloween tribute album “30 Years of Happiness” with the song “March of Time”. Members of Vandroya also contributed to other projects like Soulspell Metal Opera [feat. Tim “Ripper” Owens, Blaze Bailey, Arjen Lucassen and others] and Project Aegis [feat. Rob Rock, Matt Smith and others].
Early 2016 Vandroya released a digital EP containing the Bryan Adams cover “Heaven” and an acoustic version of the song “No Oblivion For Eternity” from the debut album.
The long-awaited new album “Beyond The Human Mind” is set to be released on April 28th. With a more evident progressive influence but without giving up the weight and virtuosity of power metal, the new album brings a more mature band, a more balanced sound and reflects the musician’s technical and artistic evolution since “One”.
Vandroya have sure matured greatly on their current album Beyond The Human Mind. They have certainly not compromised their power metal integrity by adding more progressive elements to this new album Beyond The Human Mind. If anything they have enhanced their power metal roots including the more progressive elements. The band have even added a few more symphonic elements to this new album. The many of the progressive elements run more towards the Pagan’s Mind, Circus Maximus, Vanden Plas area as far as chord progressions and time signatures. Daísa Munhoz – Vocals has established herself as a powerhouse vocalist with Beyond The Human Mind, even more so than on Vandroya’sOne debut in 2013. This is probably why her vocal presence has shown up on Metal Opera’s like Soulspell and Theocracy’s Matt Smith’s charity track Project Aegis Now I would like to take some highlights from every track on Vandroya’s Beyond The Human Mind.
Columns Of Illusion opens up with a heavily rich symphonic element. It is much more symphonic than any previous work Vandroya have done to date. It also contains some heavy percussion portions. This instrumental sets the album like a film score opening sequence of a movie. It is top heavy with drum rhythms and guitar solo’s with lush keyboards serving as a orchestral instrument making it sound like a symphonic atmosphere. Instrumentally this seamlessly bleeds into the next song on the album The Path To The Endless Fall.
The Path To The Endless Fall opens up with a classic power metal signature. It opens up with straight away shredding guitars that are almost iron Maiden like galloping guitar up tempo speed riffs. There is a very tight exchange between rhythm guitar and lead guitar that Marco Lambert – Guitar Rodolfo Pagotto – Guitar both really tied together in harmony with the bass/drum rhythmic section. Daísa Munhoz – Vocals really attacks the lyrical lines with great passion and conviction on this one as well. Her vocal prowess just powerful setting the mood for the rest of the album ahead. There is a killer drum line atmospheric progression with a beautiful spoken word element over it. The guitar solo’s continue to add depth to the song building further anticipation for the remainder of the album ahead.
Maya opens up with another blistering guitar chord progressive passage with power metal elements accented over it. The blistering progression takes a break and allows for the vocals to come in and breathe where the listener can absorb it. There is a passage where there is a piano atmospheric passage and the vocals are laid over it sweetly. This is just a solid and modern power/progressive metal song with intricate guitar parts over virtuosity. There is a section where the drums and the bass do a rhythmic dance around one another lending further creativity and depth to the song. The vocals have a warmth element through this one.
Time After Time opens up with a blistering dark yet brutal drum/bass rhythm section along with a Hammond Organ style keyboard in perfect harmony with that dark progression. The track is like this throughout the composition. The vocals take on a beautiful; depth of warmth allowing the song to both breath and satisfy the audio pallet. The lyrical content deals with very personal life matters. This is one of the faster up tempo tracks on the album.
Last Breath opens up with a beautiful acoustic guitar passage adding a very warmhearted atmosphere. The vocals come in with the same warmth and depth. This track takes on some very classic AOR Hard Rock elements. Last Breath is certainly a very radio and video friendly song. This has some very heavy elements of a ballad within it and that is not a bad thing at all considering the overall arrangement of the album. Lyrically we can all find ourselves in this situation.
I’m Alive opens up with a very old school blistering twin guitar attack. The bass/drum rhythm section is also just as blistering as the guitar making for a beautiful blistering power speed metal harmony. The vocals really take on a depth of conviction I have not heard in a while. In all it intensity I’m Alive still allows the listener in and become absorbed with both lyrical and instrumental narrative’s. The guitar solo’s remain relentless as well on this track.
You’ll Know My Name opens up almost like a power metal anthem that you may experience at a European summer metal festival. The twin guitars and rhythm section take on heavy European flavour. The double blast beats on this one almost give this a thrash metal element at times. This is a perfect track for a Prog/Power USA or Europe festival or even for Keep It True European Festival’s. This truly has a very broad Brazilian, European, and American power metal vibe through it. The intricate progressive elements will open them up to even a broader audience.
If I Forgive Myself is another track the really has a ballad flavour about. It contains a heavy piano atmosphere with the vocals in isolated harmony with that part of the stringed section. The vocals are very soulful and executed with such perfection. This also has a very AOR vibe about it. The song is a very introspective track and I can vision the listener relating to or taking something away from this song. The guitars are very atmospheric both on the lead and rhythm sections. The song really plays in harmony with the drums that serve as the primary backbone on the track. This is another very mature track both lyrically and instrumentally.
Beyond The Human Mind the title track and namesake track on the album open up with various effects done by the drums and bass. This track takes on a very heavy progressive element building layer upon layers with intricate chord progressions and time signatures. The intro seduces the listener before the warm beautiful vocals come in to really take the listeners heart away. This is the true epic of the album. Lyrically it is very thought provoking. Progressively the track really takes on a more Dream Theater or Kamelot style. About the 6:20 mark the band really channel a inner Dream Theater or Shadow Gallery guitar/keyboard style. This track allows the full maturity from the entire album to come together and be displayed. It will open more doors into the progressive metal world I am sure.
Vandroya’s Beyond The Human Mind is sure to open more doors and platforms for the band as far as festivals and live billing’s are concerned. The band have taken a big step towards becoming a more international act with Beyond The Human Mind. The focus and objective to blend both power metal and a more progressive metal approach was done with perfection. For this being only the second album for the band they wrote it and recorded it like the true 16 year veterans they are. I am giving Vandroya’s Beyond The Human Mind a 5/5 .
Seven days left until three day passes will no longer be available. Please don’t put off your purchase before it’s too late!
We’re pleased to announce that single day tickets will be on sale April 7th at 12:00 noon.
Single day ticket prices are:
Friday Night showcase – $70.00 Saturday Pass – $95.00 for full day lineup. Sunday Pass – $95.00 for full day lineup.
These prices include the 10% Gettysburg Entertainment tax and a $1 Historic Fee. FYI, anyone who pays with a credit card will also pay $2 more per ticket in service fees.
Regular seat tickets may only be purchased on the Majestic Theater website or through the box office by calling (717) 337-8200, or in person at 25 Carlisle Street during box office hours (Sunday: 3-7:30 pm, Monday-Saturday: 12 noon-7:30 pm).
When you hear the word ‘Symphonic’ tied to anything in the progressive metal or rock communities your automatic preconceived notion is something over the top. Other general notions are it is heavy laden with choirs and backed by a orchestra of sorts. While most of those qualities do exist for the majority of ‘Symphonic’ music it is not really the situtaion with Canada’s Evereal. It would appear that the members of Evereal have taken a more basic and modest simplicity in their approach with their self titled debut album. You could say ‘Less is much more’ with their self titled debut.
Since this is a new band on the global music scene here is a brief biography courtesy of the bands official website, Facebook and ArtistEcard profile.
Evereal started as a studio project born of the writing process. Evereal was created by Guitarist Stephen Roberts in 2011. The concept was to recruit musicians to write and record music with emphasis on groove and melodic content utilizing symphonic qualities, The band went through several roster changes over those first couple years, then along came keyboardist David Bevis and singer Stephanie Neufeld. It was now the Evereal project began to take shape. They quickly recruited Drummer Rob Queen and Bassist Gord Esau to solidify the lineup. The group now finds themselves working towards the end goal of creating music of complexity, while retaining groove within the layers of symphonic sound. The end result is Evereal. The band launched a successful kickstarter campaign that saw the band raise $10,000 towards completion of their debut album. This was followed by a worldwide distribution and promotion deal with 7Hard records Germany (part of the 7US media group). The CD is scheduled for release in January 2017.
I believe it was this ‘Grass Roots’ spirit of self financing and fan financing the album that led the band to the appropriate mindset to keep the album in its most modest, simple and humble for. This also allowed the band to have some product by which they could perform on stage in a live setting and perhaps be invited to tour or participate in the global progressive rock/metal or other festivals. Now let me get to some highlights off every track on Evereal’s self titled debut.
Psycho opens up with a very strange spoken word section that is working in tandem with a very abstract guitar chord progression. Then there is some thunderous rhythm section until the vocal comes in. The vocal on the main verse and chorus is very ethereal in nature. This is a straight away modern progressive metal track otherwise. It definitely sets the rest of the album up for a listening journey.
Frost Sign begins with a very beautiful piano before being accompanied by the lead guitar and a full chord progression passage. The vocals remain on point both crystal clear and on perfect pitch. This track is a very rhythm section based track where everything from the vocal to stringed section follow the lead of the rhythm narrative. It even does so when the guitar solo comes in. Stephanie Neufeld – Vocals, sounds like a beautiful hybrid of Liv Kristine meets Sharon Den Adel of Within Temptation.
Caution starts out with a spoken word section. Lyrically this song is loaded with a great deal of social and political commentary. The instrument narrative goes in and out from a down tempo with symphonic atmosphere’s. The harder portions are very rhythm section based driving th track. Both the atmospheric and heavier instrument portions run in a good tight harmony with one another. The guitar solo’s are heavily atmospheric laden as well.
Sinful opens up with a lush isolated piano passage almost ballad like. The track progressively builds towards the heavier elements of the song. There are some nice breaks between heavy and symphonic atmospheres that allow the track to breath for the listener. The bass serves both as a melodic and percussive instrument as well. This track is well executed in the album arrangement as a collective and in the perfect spot.
Veil starts out with some nasty verbal manipulation effects before exploding into a thunderous rhythm section. The down tuned bass and guitar give the track a lot of attitude that sometimes lacks in progressive metal. It is down right crunchy, whereas some modern progressive metal relies more on tales of fantasy and escape. This track does not do that and the attitude is a welcomed change. This reminds me a lot of a progressive version of Lacuna Coil.
Wish opens up with a nice isolated guitar that is met in harmony with the vocal. For a band only relying on five members, this track sounds like it was done with both a heavy orchestra and symphonic choir. David Bevis – Keyboards & Orchestration, really knows the true meaning of minimal effort, maximum distribution. This track gives me the audio appearance that I am sitting in a concert theater listening to its acoustics flow in and out of that hall.
Darkness begins with a keyboard passage in harmony with the lead guitar. The chord progressions develop a passage where the band can begin to build from. This track continues the bands simple symphonic spirit. By time you get to this track you begin to notice that objective. The symphonic orchestration and effects really do give this song a depth of darkness. The addition of the male death growls lend a heavy handed attitude as well.
Anger opens up with a very beautiful Arabic/Middle Eastern Oriental scale. This is met with a thunderous rhythm section. It is almost like listening to a Myrath with a female vocalist. That Arabic scale really carries the backbone of the song. This also goes towards the band executing well with what they have to work with. The band even experiments with various vocal echoes on top that symphonic and Arabic elements.
Scars starts out with a wide open guitar shred. This track is very up tempo almost taking on chord progressions heard in neo-classical power metal. The track drops for a break and lays the vocals over a beautiful keyboard atmosphere. It is simplicity the band really creates a very complex arrangement on this song. Even some light thrash metal elements come into play on this one.
For a band that crowdfunded this album and had very little to work with in way of equipment and production costs, Evereal certainly made a very powerful first statement as a band. This is a band that really knows how to execute quite well with very little. Evereal is a more Euro flavoured metal with a North American sensibility. All its members did a great job for a debut album. This will certainly be a tool to help them get their feet further in the door of the Symphonic Progressive Metal community. I will give this a 4.5/5.