Goldenseed – The War Is In My Mind
The War Is In My Mind
As most would know by now, I tend to emphasize the vocals when reviewing albums, and so you’d probably assume I want nothing to with anything instrumental, right? Actually, that isn’t entirely accurate, since one of my favorite albums from the last couple year’s, Tiluland’s Axes Of The Universe, was entirely instrumental (well, except for a little bit of humming, I guess). My biggest concern with such albums is that just as often, they can be an excuse to show off needless technical prowess, which leads to a bunch of excessive shredding or wankery that gets very boring after a while. As long as the music is more melodic and there’s a focus on writing songs instead of needless guitar noodling, I can generally enjoy an instrumental album easily.
So which side of the equation does The War Is In My Mind, the latest album by one man project Goldenseed, fall on? Well, it is actually a bit of both, with the good slightly out weighing the bad. All instruments are played by Gabriele Pala, though I believe the drums are programmed (they sound fake), and are very distracting at times. Otherwise, there’s a nice mix of softer acoustic guitar sections to go along with some slightly chuggy electric guitar sections, helped along by keyboards. Even the bass can be heard clearly on a few songs.
The tone of the album is pretty mellow most of the time, and the best parts are the more atmospheric sections. These focus on the acoustic guitars and spacey keyboard sounds, with plenty of cool effects added in from time to time. These more melodic sections are very well done, and thankfully there is a good amount of them. “A Million Random Digits” uses the keyboards particularly well for a more fun and relaxing sound than much of the album, and is definitely my favorite. There are also some fairly catchy tunes here, with “Kosmos 233” being especially effective with it’s space-like atmosphere, and nice acoustic melodies to go along with the typically impressive solos. Other highlights include “Blindness”, which has a very dark feel to it, the opener “The R38 Class”, which strikes a nice balance between the heavy and softer sections, giving a nice indication of what to expect from rest of the album, and the epic “The Cathedral Of Incantation”.
Sadly, the solos represent the weaker side of the album. Occasionally, Gabriele will spend too much time playing around with flashy distortion effects and doing overly complex and showy guitar solos, which becomes quite irritating. The worst of this is “An Homage To Frank”, which is simply unlistenable for me. Another offender is “Aragonite Sea”, which starts off sounding quite interesting, but the distortion effects quickly take over and ruin it. The problem isn’t t that these overly long solos are played poorly, because they’re actually very impressive, it’s just there are far too many of them, and after a while I start to get bored. There are some guest vocals on the bonus track “(Dead) On The Road’, and I wish they weren’t there, as the harsh vocals are pretty bad, and while the clean vocals are decent, they sound very strange. Thankfully, the music is quite good on that one, and the bass is very prominent, and overall it’s a bit faster than normal.
As far as instrumental albums go, The War Is In My Mind isn’t one of my absolute favorites, but it’s fairly enjoyable most of the time. I do wish there was a little more focus on the atmospheric sections and a lot less on the heavier sections (and especially those needless distortion effects), but for the most part I enjoyed it. Recommended for fans of slightly progressive instrumental metal, though obviously it won’t convert those who prefer to have vocals.
Travis Green’s Rating: 3.0 out of 5