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An appropriately inscrutable swan song - 72%

worgelm, March 12th, 2005

For their last detectable release - which like all other Mind Over 4 releases sank very quickly into an undeserved budget-bin oblivion - the band is reduced to a three-piece combo, with lead screamer Spike, in particularly amelodic mood here, assuming bass duties. This album is by far the most raw and difficult-to-love of all their releases, and also contains some of their lesser lyrical indulgences, but as all Mind Over 4 releases, it follows its own peculiar muse and rewards the patient listener. There are some undeniable attention-getting masterpieces, including the head-nodding "Quick Bright Things" which occupies a weird space between hip-hop, metal and post-rock, while "Phobos Y Damos" has a strikingly different mix, built around a central guitar mantra and Led-Zeppelin-Ocean-style drum sound. On other tracks the band is free to play loose and psychadelic with the mix. "O'Othham," with its slow vibe and wide-open spaces, reminds me very much of some of the darker moments on their eponymous 1989 album. Only "Rise" hearkens back to the tight, storming progressive-metal of _Half Way Down_. There are a lot of amusing puns and quirky bits of humor laced into the liner notes - for example, Jason Everman - alternative rock's version of Pete Best - and here referred to as "Tackle Box" - is given a songwriting credit for every song EXCEPT for O'Otham, Colony, Chemical Portrait....in other words, every song on the album...that is, other than the nonexistant track 12 "Bill Fold Rules", itself a likely jab at the magic number of twelve tracks that a record label usually restricts to doleing out songwriting royalties for. Although long out of print, this is worth seeking out - but give it some time to grow on you. Of particular note is the fact that a picture of Jason Everman appears in the inside cover in full military garb.