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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Mindflow

With Bare Hands

Review by Greg Olma

I was lucky enough to catch these guys as support for UFO on their North American tour in 2011.  It is not often that I walk away from a show as a fan of a band I hadn’t previously heard, but Mindflow were able to convert me.  Since getting With Bare Hands, it has been in constant rotation in my CD player.  The band is from Brazil (that country has been exporting some great heavy metal) but their influences are definitely from up north.  They possess some of the heaviness of latter day Metallica but are more prog oriented.  I think they are most closely associated to the heavier side of Dream Theater but they throw in little bits of Rush here and there.  Danilo Herbert has a great voice and is perfect for this type of music.  His range allows him to hit higher notes but has those rough edges for the heavier material.  Rodrigo Hidalgo really conjures up some great guitar riffs that are both melodic and heavy.  Both Ricardo Winandy (bass) and Rafael Pensado (drums) not only provide a solid foundation for the music to be built upon but also add that extra something that a lot of rhythm sections lack.  Each time I listen to With Bare Hands I hear something new.  This is Mindflow’s fourth release but based on their live show and this disc, I have purchased their previous material.  If you are a fan of prog metal (do we need another genre?) or metallic prog, then With Bare Hands has to be part of your CD collection.  My suggestion to you would be to purchase this disc and go see them live.  I guarantee you will walk away as impressed as I was.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Break Me Out

This is the single off the album and it is a great way to start off the record.  It has a definite Dream Theater vibe going on and Herbert really belts out a catchy chorus that will stick with you for days.

Reset The Future
Things get a little heavier with this cut.  It still has a lot of melody but the beginning leads the listener to believe that this track will be heavier then it ultimately is.  There are some nice prog elements in here, but somehow it still maintains a cool song structure.
Breakthrough

Here is a mellower tune that really shows off the band’s ability to write a catchy song that still incorporates their influences given their own stamp.  The more I listen to this album, the more each song pops out and this cut is slowly becoming one of my favorites.

Walking Tall

Just like “Reset The Future” this piece starts off with some really heavy riffing but it’s Rush influences shine through on the rest of the tune.  The chorus is the heaviest part but like all of Mindflow’s music, there is so much going on in each track.  There is a great bridge here and you can hear Pensado really pound away on his drum kit.

With Bare Hands

Mindflow decide to go full on heavy with this track.  There are bits of Rush, Dream Theater, and even Pantera (only on the verses) here.  Herbert uses a very modern vocal approach on many parts but keeps his more natural singing style on the chorus.

Corrupted

Keeping things heavy, “Corrupted” continues the trend started by the previous song.  If you enjoy Dream Theater’s Train Of Thought disc, then you will love this tune.

Under An Alias
This song starts off with some Middle Eastern sounds but quickly turns into another track that goes from heavy to soft and back.  There are some great progressive moments throughout this tune that mix really well with the heavier parts.  There is a part of this number that sounds so familiar but I can’t put my finger on it.  I have listened to With Bare Hands at least 25 times and I still can’t figure out where I have heard that part before.
Shuffle Up And Deal

Things start off in thrash metal style but, like many of the songs here, it switches gears into more of a prog metal tune.  This is one of the heavier tunes on the disc.  There is a melodic chorus where Herbert shines again.

Lethal

Although this track is good, it is the weakest cut on With Bare Hands.  That’s not to say it is bad, it just has to compete with the rest of the tunes.  Hidalgo has come up with some cool riffs for this one, but ultimately the song falls a bit short.

Thrust Into This Game

The beginning reminds me a little of “Peace Sells” by Megadeth but as things move along, it is more of a heavier Dream Theater-ish prog metal piece.  The chorus has an epic type of feel but most of the song is definitely metal.

The Ride

If prog metal bands did power ballads, then “The Ride” would be one of the better ones.  I’m surprised this track is so close to the end of the disc.  It is one of the best tracks on the CD and it could easily be a hit single (if they still had singles) for Mindflow.

Destructive Device

After the relative mellowness of “The Ride,” this cut goes back to heavier prog metal.  If you listen to the instrumental parts of this song, you would swear it was Dream Theater.  I’m not saying that they are copying them but that the level of musicianship is there and they have all the prog metal chops in place.

Instinct

This track is more straight ahead metal.  There are some modern metal elements in here (like some of the vocals), but for the most part this is just straight ahead metal.  It is one of the least prog songs on With Bare Hands.

Fragile State Of Mind

The beginning reminds me of “Forsaken” by Dream Theater but that is the only similarity to that song.  The modern metal vocals make their way on parts of this cut, but the mellower verses let Herbert sing more in his natural style.  This is great tune to end the CD with because it is just makes you want to start the whole record over again.

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