Mindcage is a progressive metal band that was founded in 1996. Based in Florida, the band is made up of members Jeff Hignite (vocals), Brain Howell (bass), Craig Nudo (drums), and Dietrick Hardwick (guitars). They self-released an EP in 2000 titled Encapsulation. The band has grown since then, and signed to Kinematic Music this year. With a label behind them, they are releasing their first full-length album, Our Own Devices.
Mindcage’s new record is a concept album that tells the story of a world
without arts, creativity, and humanity. In this broken world, a heroic
character, Arabella Vash, enters to enlighten the world. Julie Westlake
of Hydrogen provides the voice of Arabella Vash on “The Human Race” and
“The Serenity Sequence.” To tell this cautionary tale, Mindcage uses
influences from hard rock acts such as Queensryche and Iron Maiden. The
result is a progressive concept album with a heavy metal sound.
“The Human Race” is the highlight of Our Own Devices. The song
begins with a melodic collage of electric guitar tones before blasting
into full hard rock mode. Jeff Hignite sings with a passion that compels
you to follow the story of this album. Julie Westlake beautifully sings
the part of Arabella Vash. Her voice naturally accompanies Hignite’s
voice for some pleasant harmonies.
The incredibly technical “Firefly” showcases the band’s musical
abilities. Dietrick Hardwick is in full control of the guitar, and can
make it sound however he likes. Craig Nudo’s drumming is simply
astonishing. Brian Howell also does a great job on bass, and gives the
song that heavy metal sound. Jeff Hignite brings powerful vocals that
give this song real emotion. “Firefly” is a great song that highlights
all the band’s abilities.
The song that has the most different sounds is “The Serenity Sequence
(Renaissance Pt. I).” This track sounds more like a rock ballad than a
heavy metal song, but it shows that Mindcage has diversity. Westblake
contributes her beautiful voice once again, and adds a layer of
sincerity to the song. The track has some really nice tonalities, from
Hardwick’s elegant guitar to Howell’s smooth bass. “Part II” picks the
tempo back up to close Our Own Devices rocking, but “The Serenity
Sequence (Renaissance Pt. I)” is my personal favorite for being a little
off the beaten path.
Mindcage has been developing their sounds for years, and their music is
evident of that. Our Own Devices has great elements; progressive rock,
hard rock, heavy metal, that are blended together in the lost art of the
concept album. This is a great album to listen to, and I believe
Mindcage will be much more popular after people have heard Our Own Devices.
Key Tracks: The Human Race, Firefly, The Serenity Sequence (Renaissance Pt. I)
Craig Kidd - MuzikReviews.com Staff
October 10, 2013