MP3 Mindsink - Algorithms
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8 MP3 Songs
METAL: Progressive Metal, METAL: Power Metal
"How many metal albums with programmed drums do you know that kick ass? Unless you're an industrial fan, my bet is "none." I believe Algorithms is my first-so convincing, in fact, that I didn't even realize it was a machine until the third listen or so! You've got to admire any young metallist who is so dedicated to making music that he can overcome the lack of a surrounding cast and label support and put out a credible record. Guitarist James Bakula has done just that.
Mindsink is the progeny of the 26 year-old Bakula, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio. This is a one-man band, with Bakula singing; playing guitar, bass and keyboards; and programming the drums. In his own words, his style of music "lies in the progressive metal realm with a touch of new age/classical." What I hear is straight-up power/progressive metal. Algorithms is his third full-length, following The Complex in 2001 and Origin in 2000. While his reviews have been uniformly positive, he has yet to receive significant attention outside of his home city.
In the opener, "Thunder Etiquette," he kicks off with some tasteful acoustic guitar before launching into a synth-driven, tom-pounding instrumental. Right off the bat, the drum programming is surprisingly ambitious...and competent.
"The Better Half" begins with more interplay between guitar and synth before Bakula chomps into the first of many power riffs. His voice is good for someone who is new to the singing game-mid-register clean with a touch of snarl. During a progressive break, he creates great grooves with the drum machine, utilizing double bass, hi-hat work, the whole "kit" really. His ability to interpret what an actual drummer would play is amazing, and the sound quality is quite good.
Some sections of the instrumental "Paths to Enlightenment (Pt. I)" will recall Symphony X, Vanden Plas and other great power/prog bands. Bakula's keyboard playing here is simple, but very creative melodically. This is much more groove than masturbation.
"Part II" of the song is next, and now Bakula comes in with the vocals. He does sound good, but the second vocal track adds little and lacks imagination-the arrangements still need some work. Wow, listen to that kick-ass crushing riff with the synth dancing off of it! That's heavy and totally satisfying. The title track begins with acoustic guitar, but only for a moment; then another pummeling riff comes down on us. Once again there are shifting rhythms as Bakula forges progressive structures and searing licks. This stuff really crushes, the kid has talent to burn. He's all over the place, but has the melodic sense to hold it altogether. I normally don't enjoy instrumentals, but metal needs more of this.
More great double bass programming to start "The Sadness Never Sleeps." The riffs here are sinister and serpentine. Then Bakula cuts out to a piano interlude with solemn vocals. Don't worry, though, he's back soon with a huge chorus that almost has a Hetfield-esque quality (in a good way, people). Then an amazing hook where the riffs just dance and snarl and this is now rapidly approaching technical (ever want to loop a minute of music endlessly?).
The album concludes with "Collisionary." Bakula begins this one with slow movement and some emphatic synth that will recall Dream Theater at their best. Then more progressive structures and a verse that just grooves. Later, on he explodes with a power metal section that would give Nevermore a run for their money. Bakula is inspired here on vocals, you can really hear the potential in his voice. And by now, of course, you're wondering if there's anything this guy can't do.
Bakula has impressed the hell out of me with this album. I realize some people might be turned off by the mention of a "drum machine," but anyone with even a remote interest in progressive or power metal should visit James' website and pick this disc up for a measly $8 (with shipping) and give an inspired, up-and-coming musician the chance he deserves. I expect great things from Mr. Bakula and would expect that if the scene gets a hold of Algorithms he'll have a band behind him in no time at all-and then the fun will really start..." Ladd Everitt - Transcending the Mundane
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