Mindfeeder – Endless Storm
Mindfeeder – Endless Storm (2013)
Reviewed by Daniel Millard
Portugal has produced a handful of interesting and/or decent power metal bands to date, including Oratory, Tarantula, and more recently, Waterland and Attick Demons. But, let’s face it, nothing that most power metal fans have heard of, right? Right. I’m convinced that Mindfeeder will change this however, and become the country’s best-known modern power metal export to date with the release of their debut full length, Endless Storm.
Let me supply a few reasons for my conviction. This is a modern and energetic blend of heavy and power metal that should appeal to most anyone that’s into the genre. Endless Storm moves at a determinedly fast pace, features some excellent guitar intros (opener “The Call” perhaps foremost among them), excellent guest vocal work (more on this below), a knack for anthemic songwriting that refuses to get preoccupied with itself, and a legitimately interesting attempt at a single, multi-part song that doesn’t overstay its welcome (“Memories (Suite In IV Parts)”). The album is driving, and other than a couple of in-track interludes, doesn’t slow unnecessarily. Ballad lovers need not apply.
The first thing you’ll probably hear about this album anywhere is that Piet Sielck is involved. While you should definitely be excited about that piece of news, know that unlike many young acts that get a helping hand from a famous power metal musician, Mindfeeder stands quite capably on its own. Now that that’s taken care of: Sielck is smashing here. Perhaps it’s that Piet is more selective about the bands he directly aids (Your move Fabio), but lending his voice to anthem “Together” and the rousing ten-minute “Memories…”, as well as his expert hand on the lead guitar, leads to some of the best guest-and-host-band coop work that I’ve seen all year. Several other visiting vocalists appear, including Artur Almeida and Hugo Soares (Attick Demons and ex-Ethereal, respectively), and provide additional highlights to boot.
Even with its silly opening dial tone, “The Call” is a great track. However, I’m always impressed when a band can match or surpass an album opener multiple times, and that’s exactly what “Together” and the slower-burning but equally hot “1628” manage. Tempos, riffing, and melodies are all varied enough over the course of the album that I don’t find Mindfeeder repeating itself much at all, which is a trap that I see many debuts falling into. Then again, Mindfeeder has been around for ten or eleven years on the whole, so they ought to know the game.
I have two bones to pick with this album. The first, excluding the album opening phone dial, are the occasional sound samples, which I feel add nothing but distraction to the tracks upon which they are included. Second, and more subjectively – I’m not a big fan of “Leo’s” (I know him by no other name) vocals. He’s certainly not timid, and he doesn’t struggle with pitch – but his tone doesn’t always agree with me. Also, I find his practice of tailing off of held notes to be sloppy (I’m reminded of Vexillum’s Dario Vallesi) and a bit off-putting on the whole.
These are small qualms to offset a great debut, and Endless Storm is one of the best I’ve heard this year. Professional, melodically inventive, and adept at combining varied talent with the band’s own knack for heavy and engaging brand of power metal, Mindfeeder has more than mere potential. I expect this debut to receive a rather warm welcome from numerous sources, and fans of melodic European power metal should be looking into this upon release without a doubt.
3.75 // 5