02/22/2024

Undead Goathead

Dedicated to metal, music, and mischief.

Album Review: Mind Control – Elements

This new album was recently dropped in December 2023.

Mind Control is an Italian progressive death metal band. Their latest release is an experimental album with avant garde tracks. The guitar riffage is both technical and melodic. Similarly, the bass licks are groovy and funky. The drumming keeps pace with an energetic and rambunctious beat. The lyrics are belted out with harsh, raspy vocals, as well as some clean singing. The sound is well rounded and balanced.

The opening songs ease the listener in, with catchy choruses and melodies that seem to come alive and dance. But this musicality gets heavier, darker, and deeper with time. It’s like when you’re going out on a night on the town with friends. When you first start out the afternoon barhopping downtown, you might take it slow with something light, like a nice cold beer. Maybe gradually get into harder liquor, like a whiskey highball, or rum n coke, as the evening gets later. But by the end of the night, you’ve taken countless mystery shots of who-knows-what, and spent too much money at god-knows-where. Probably smoked a little something, too, but you’re not sure what. Hell, you’re not even sure where you are. You started out in the mundane urban sprawl of nightclubs and divebars, now you’re somewhere deep in a forest or high up on a mountain. You’re hanging out with people who may or may not be the same friends you came with, but who cares if you’re surrounded by strangers and weirdos! We’re all having a good time here, so let’s throw down and party! It’s the same way with any kind of music. The more you listen to it, the more extreme you want to take it!

If the first few songs set the stage, then the middle of the album is like the second act of a novel. This is the heart of the matter. This is where the story really takes place. Similarly, the ending is like a satisfying climax, concluding with a nice denouement that ties up all the loose ends. As a band, Mind Control paints a vivid picture, yet leave enough ambiguity up the listeners’ own imaginations, ripe for speculation and interpretation. Again, like an author writing a book, or a painter speaking through her brush-strokes, this band expresses themselves in a uniquely creative way. Their voices and instruments make memorable music, which will especially appeal to metalheads, rockers, punks, and goths.

I love the variety of vocal styles here. Do you like operatic female singers, in the vein of Nightwish, Frozen Crown, and Evanescence? Do you like high-pitched shrill shrieks, like Cradle of Filth? Do you like grungy, gravelly gutterals, like every death metal band ever? Guitar instrumentation so melodic that it’s practically neo-classical, like Amorphis, Arch Enemy, Dark Tranquillity, and Soilwork? There’s a little bit of everything in this album!

Similarly, there is a steady sense of beat and rhythm throughout this album. Some songs are a little bit on the slower side, and some are considerably faster, but they all fit well together as a whole. Hell, there are even some jazzy keyboard interludes, if that’s your thing. All in all, this is a fun, eclectic listen for audiophiles in general! Regardless of your personal taste, there’s probably at least a few songs that will truly resonate with your own preferences.

The album lasts just over an hour long. It’s not too short that it leaves you hanging, but it also not so excessively long that it overstays its welcome. Again, it’s a healthy, appropriate amount of death metal goodness. It lends itself well to multiple repeats of the album as a whole, individual songs on shuffle, or even cherry-picking certain tracks for specific melo-death playlists. I also like the album title, as well as the song names. If this album is about elements, then each song must be like a fundamental aspect of nature. Some of these are fairly traditional, such as “Flames” and “Air”. However, some are more abstract, including “Rage”, ” Effluent”, and “Blame”. Some are in between, within the liminal space, such as “Tempest”, “Ether”, and “Maelstrom”. At any rate, the album at large, and each track therein, seem to be about the duality of nature. It is both beautiful and brutal, loving and hateful, living and yet undead. This music is so morbid and nihilistic, yet bursting with life, energy, inspiration, and ideas. Check out Mind Control on Spotify, YouTube Music, and I Heart Radio! Four stars outta five!