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Excellent, incredible, amazing, etc. - 96%

Milo, July 5th, 2005

I could just submit a review with these mere words:

“It’s excellent.”

And I’m sure any mod would approve it and put the link in the “newest reviews” section (gathering some attention from the visitors) with a big grin in his/her face. Just because this album is THAT good.

Gay fanboyisms aside, this is one of the best metal albums ever recorded. There’s no heresy about saying this album is better than “Painkiller” or some Death album. “Mindwars” surely lays waste over many unfairly overrated efforts in the metal world. Why? Every instrument is played with great technique and emotion. When they are gathered, the results are something that’s still hard to find on bands that try to create music with such a powerful emotional appeal.

This album is different from what you would expect from the average thrash metal recording: The atmosphere it creates is not one of evil, oppressive aggression like Reign in Blood and Darkness Descends nor the rabid, nor the terror-like environment created by Clandestine. The melodies and vocal lines suggest an aura of sadness instead of pure hatred for anyone. The lead guitar busts out some lengthy, very tasteful solos, drenched in pure melodic brilliance. Sometimes it complements the rhythm guitar with some beautiful counterparts, resulting in amazing choruses, like the ones from “Debt of Pain” and “No Resurrection”. Some solos are to be remembered as lost gems of quality guitar playing in metal.

The vocals are the voice of the indignation, be in form of the furious semi-growls featured in “Judas Reward” and “No Resurrection”, the crazy punkish screaming scattered in the faster moments or in the more controlled, high-pitched clean vocals present in the midpaced, more melodic songs. The vocal lines are incredibly catchy and fluid, in a sense it almost compels you to learn the lyrics just to sing along. Without any of these tricks, his vocal delivery is vaguely similar to a much faster version of Steve Souza, just 100x more versatile.

Of course, that does not mean this is a wussy power metal album by any means. Mindwars has its fair share of power, crunch and genuine anger. Sometimes, the harsher riffs seem to take thrash metal to its extreme (kinda like Anacrusis on their first album). They are fast, exciting and prone to give you a good headbanging time. Although the technical level is not on par with Sadus or Ulysses Siren, there’s nothing exactly banal here. Innovation is also a key factor: you will find little to no riffs borrowed from other bands. The same guitar that oozes melodies has also its “maniac” side: There is some great shredding/drilling action all around: for example, listen to the “Damned by Judges”’s excellent solo.

The rush of speed provided by the drums is intense and precise. When slowing down, the drummer shows some interesting patterns. Too bad the double kick drums and bass guitar are totally muffled by the production.

The songs are jewels: “Judas Reward” is great, alternating the aggression with melodic solos and vocal lines, “Debt of Pain” is very catchy and fast. “Damned by Judges” has top-notch vocals. “A Fool’s Gold / Terminal Humor / Mindwars” are glued together in the CD pressing, creating an epic of huge proportions even better than Postmortem / Raining Blood! But I gotta say, the cake here goes to “No Resurrection”: This song blends everything I like in this album: speed, crunch, melody, great vocals and solos in a very natural way, not sounding like a collage of ideas. This song is at my Top20 best thrash songs ever.

Few albums sound as honest as this. This reason alone is enough for you to get this album. If you want to listen to something original (even though it was recorded circa 1988), this is perfect. One of the best albums ever recorded.