Monday, December 11, 2023

Full Length Review: Mind Control "Elements" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Location: Abruzzo
Country: Italy
Genre: Progressive death metal
Full length: Elements
Format: Digital
Label: Independent
Release date: December 1, 2023
This Italian prog-melodic death metal band has released only two albums in nine years. However, those albums show them remaining brutal while massively pushing their boundaries, drawing inspiration from as many sounds and atmospheres as different genres. As Mind Control jammed so many influences into “Elements”, it initially sounded like a huge mess. However, after listening to it again and again, their skill as musicians and where they were taking their song structure became clear to me.
Despite the nine-year gap between “Elements” and their debut album “Heptagon”, it's more than sufficient time for a band to establish themselves as innovators. They're gaining a reputation for hybridizing underground and aboveground metal, as well as shuffle the listener fast. This is done by leading you in one direction and suddenly thrusting you in another. This is done to heighten your awareness and anticipation of what's next. All the while striving to reach the level of Steve Morse or Billy Sheehan.
There is no doubt that was an audacious statement. However, both albums demonstrate the band’s adeptness to a variety of musical persuasions as well as the range of multifariousness achieved by merging and integrating them. The members of Mind Control could have been melodic death metal, industrial metal, classical metal, progressive rock, jazz fusion, or funk/rhythm and blues. They would have been just as convincing of their ability to arrange and execute songs as they are here on “Elements”.
Mind Control compose crushingly heavy music, unfaltering and resolute, but not as single-minded as some may think. Their heaviness is often a backdrop for the temperaments provided through the addition of metal, prog rock, nu metal and funk. Many songs assume different themes corresponding to Massimo Boffa's guitars and the resolute rhythm section of Stefano Tatasciore (bass) and Luca Nicolucci (drums). Stefania Salladini’s alternating delivery of clean and harsh vocals is equally convincing.
The transitions and layering in the songs are more natural. Mind Control takes liberties with time changes, instrumental sections, and intense guitar solos to maintain a cohesive, uncontradictory atmosphere. The core material of a song remains unchanged regardless of embellishment. 'Elements' establishes this with an industrial theme that unexpectedly turns toward melodic death and post black metal, encouraging close listening to the songs to follow.
As evidenced by “Rage” with jazz solos, time changes comparable to Voivod and Meshuggah and strings, “Effluent” with a tranquil guitar with atmosphere and angelic vocals easing into funk-tinged melodic death metal, “Air” with its recurring industrial-prog-melodic DM guitars, overlapping vocals and fluctuating mood changes, and “Maelstrom” with prog and post black metal themes mixed with post hardcore and some techno, “Elements” demonstrates how hard the band works to take extreme metal to new, uncharted territories, and should inspire new bands to consider new ways to grow. Also check out the video for “Hurricane” below. –Dave Wolff

Natisfea: Vocals
Massimo Boffa: Guitars
Stefano Tatasciore: Bass
Luca Nicolucci: Drums

Track list:
1. Elements
2. Rage
3. Flames
4. Effluent
5. Wind
6. Storm
7. Air
8. Tempest
9. Hurricane
10. The River
11. Ether
12. Maelstrom
13. Blame (feat. Simone Evangelista)

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