Review: “Cortex” by Mindwork

After an eight year hiatus Prague-based Progressive Death Metal band Mindwork are back with a new line up and new music. Original members Martin Schuster (vocals, guitars) and Filip Kittnar (drums) are joined by new pairing Jiri Rambousek (lead guitars) and Dominik Vozobule (bass) for a new EP mastered by the legendary Jens Bogren (Sepultura, Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates) at Fascination Street Studio. Recorded, produced and mixed by Martin Schuster himself with drums recorded at studio Svarov by Lukas Martinek, “Cortex” marks the bands first work since their sophomore album in 2012’s “Eterea“, having originally caught our attention with their debut in 2009’s “Into the Swirl“.

Having officially got back together for a reunion gig in Prague in February 2020 there seemed little doubt that Mindwork, who appeared at Brutal Assault festival in 2008, 2010 and 2012 would resurface again and with “Cortex” they pave the way for their third studio album with four songs with which they re-introduce themselves in some style. “Beyond The Corex” is an achingly beautiful ambient soundscape of programming that makes way for “Depersonalized” which sees former Death guitarist Bobby Koelble lay down a face melter of a solo. The song itself has a raging opening half that slows gradually to introduce more melody through an almost grunge bridge section reminiscent of recent works by Opeth or Cynic and builds on the foundations of 2012’s “Eterea“, making it a record is clearly defined as Mindwork, something which will please long time fans. That styling continues into “Last Lie Told“, a song with a classic 90’s Tech-Death sound with a modern production quality. The brooding quality of guitar work is lit up by the technical solo which lights the blue touch paper of a lyric that sees the unravelling of a citizen forced to deal with a two faced politician with unhinged consequences. The show is however stolen by finale “Grinding the Edges” which is an ode to Cynic with use of vocoder a particularly stylish moment. The guitar work is rich and sublimely textured as both players play between light and shade, choosing not to reach the powerful and aggressive heights of Obscura, instead taking a more meandering and sinister route with soaring flourishes of technical lead work in interestingly textured time signatures. “Cortex” is only the beginning [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Beyond The Cortex
  2. Depersonalized (ft. Bobby Koelble ex-Death)
  3. Last Lie Told
  4. Grinding the Edges

Cortex” by Mindwork is out 22nd January 2021 and is available over at bandcamp

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