Souljourners is an unsigned progressive metal act from Southern California. The four-piece consists of Michael Couts on guitar and vocals, Scoops (David Brockenborough) on bass, Paul Ellingson on keys, and Paul Zimmer on drums.
Before doing any research, the first band that I thought of when listening to Mind Control was Dream Theater. At times I thought of Metallica or some of Steve Vai’s various projects a little as well, but more consistently Dream Theater. The Galactic Cowboys seem to also be a common comparison for Souljourners.
Needless to say, this album is full of shredding solos and technical ability. I think we all have some friends that love bands that “know how to play their instruments” that won’t listen to anyone that they feel doesn’t fall into that category. There is no doubt that this will be an album that they would enjoy. Mind Control really does rock in that regard. I think what I like best about it on that level is the presence that Ellingson provides on the keys. Not only do you get good synthesizer parts on some of the tracks (check out “Crazy Times”), but songs that focus on piano (“Lost Vision”) also.
For listeners that aren’t as into the technicality of music, I think Mind Control is still a pretty rockin’ metal album. With two-thirds of the songs clocking in at over six minutes, this is a pretty long album. It could use fewer tracks or more short ones. I mean I love some good wailing just as much as the next guy, but this seemed a bit long to listen to from start to finish. Lyrically the songs are fine, but I found them to be too serious.
In the end, I think this is a strong debut for Souljourners. Instrumentally it is very strong and has a fair amount of variation from song to song. As they mature and with additional production their albums will only get better. I would imagine they put on a first-rate, solo filled, live show for metal fans, so do look into them if that’s your thing.
For a couple more songs, I recommend checking out “Half Life” and the instrumental track “Sapphire World”.
3 ½/5 Stars
January 21, 2010