What can we say about Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania quintet Mind Power that we haven’t already? Well… They feature in their ranks members of and former members of members of A Life Once Lost, Dead End Path, Ligeia and Bring The Heat. Said that before. They’ve taken the a gamble and promised to release a quarterly EP (that’s right, 4x 4 new songs every 3 months) for the year of 2019. Said that before. And with the final part, Q4, they’ve smashed that goal out of the park. When we spoke to them around the release of Q3, they said simply that they didn’t want to write a full length of 12 tracks that was forgotten about in 3 months after it’s release. So the goal was to keep them as a band fresh in our minds as listeners while also keeping their creative muscles flexing. Not said that before.
As you might expect from such rich heritage, Mind Power are a well oiled Metal machine at this point in their collective musical lives. They’ve got enough experience to be able to approach things from different angles and create things with consummate ease. Should they so wish. As with the previous material, they’ve periodically raided past and present for friends to make guest appearances and Q4 is no different with a trio on board ship. First up is Mike Shaw on “Deprived” who lends an beautiful aching Deftones inspired clean vocal to the final verse of a powerhouse cut. The opening riffs are reminiscent of those from A Life Once Lost, however Robert Meadows is in the vocal form of his career and the riffs shift away with some huge pounding groove rhythms from drummer Mike Tyahur. Brining in Mike Schleibaum of Washington DC Metalcore heroes Darkest Hour to add some slick leads to “Misery Wins” is like taking a prize fighter and giving him wings. Meadows snarls and stomps his way through self loathing lyrics with the throat shredding unclean vocals of Monster while the band make the best use of their guest musician by letting him add to the sound rather than being a separate component part. As the jackhammer footwork slows and the vocals gradually take to a harsh spoken word and Meadows depicts hanging himself in both the first and third person as if it was a dream.
Mike Gunface McKenzie of The Red Chord fame lends his 6 string skills to “Trapped Down” which is the perfect choice of guest for the material. Some tight ocilating riffs and rhythmic pounding gymnastics on the kit build in concentric circles gradually opening out for the first verse and gear shift with some impressive musicanship and haunting undercurrent. There is sense of tension and melody that is subtle and Meadows eases up on some of the ferociousness with a more measured unclean that matches the sentiment of the lyrics perfectly. Deep diving with nearly 7 and a half minute final track to not only the EP but to the quartet of EPs in “A Lingering Echo” might seem like a brave move from a band known for their polyrhythmic riff pummelling but getting straight to the groove, Mind Power waste no time in setting the scene. Bill Check and Ryan Farrell create a sense of tension and discomfort with their guitar work to match off the vocal and lyrics while Brandon Whipple produces some of the finest bass lines we’ve heard during the opening half. The music then fades out into an ethereal melodic instrumental passage that is the calm before the storm as the harrowing vocals resurface for a final verse. It’s brilliantly beautiful and savagely brutal as Meadows exposes his inner thoughts. Q4 is the perfect way to round off 2019 for Mind Power and with this, they’re a firm contender for our top 5 EPs of the year that will pop it’s cork between Christmas and New Year [8.5/10]
Deprived (ft. Mike Shaw)
Misery Wins (ft. Mike Schleibaum of Darkest Hour)
Trapped Down (ft. Mike “Gunface” McKenzie of The RedChord)
A Lingering Echo
Q4 by Mind Power is out now and available via bandcamp