Release DetailsLABEL Nuclear Blast
RELEASED ON 6/28/2005
Conspiracy In Mind
posted on 7/2005 By:
My first impression from Communic’s debut album was how much the singer sounded like the singer from Norway’s Scariot. Hitting the bio confirmed that they are one in the same. Oddleif Stensland heads up this trio, serving up all of the vocals and guitarwork, as well as being the main songwriter. Joining him is another ex-member of Scariot, Tor Andersen on the drums, along with Erik Mortensen on the bass. Those that are familiar with Oddleif’s old band can expect a similar slab of progressive metal with clean and powerful singing and technicality not as much in the musicianship, but in the song construction. With seven tracks spanning an hour, many bands would have bitten off more than they can chew, but with Communic, each song flows well enough to feel like they are four minutes apiece and not eight.
Now don’t get me wrong, I certainly wasn’t implying that they don’t bring a high level of musicality to the table – just the contrary. I get the impression that every piece of a song sounds just as they intended it to sound, each riff played right. The difference between them and, say, a Dream Theater, is that while each write solid songs, Communic don’t go out of their way to show you how well they can play their instruments. The tunes speak for themselves, embarking on journeys of highs and lows. Oddleif’s guitarwork stands out, with a series of memorable riffs whether in clean tones, or heavy riffs played over double-bass drumming. But behind him, Erik’s bass actually serves a purpose, noticeably contributing to the atmosphere of a song, rather than just adding low-end heft like on so many other albums. A textbook example of how metal basswork should be integrated is on “They Feed on Our Fear”.
Their general sound is a dark prog approach, not quite as dark and epic as Evergrey, but a more serious mood than a band like Symphony X or Time Requiem. When they break out the heaviness, they come off like Nevermore-lite. “Ocean Bed” is a fine example of their style. A quirky, squealing riff builds up until it yields to an acoustic break. A couple of verses go by and the song turns heavy, climaxes with a musical silence while Oddleif grinds out a gritty vocal line that faintly reminds of Mustaine. “Silence Surrounds” is a fitting finale: an 11 minute voyage that ends on a strong note with high-pitched shrieks straight out of the 1980’s over a chugging riff.
Conspiracy of Mind is one of those albums that will end up atop a few people’s year-end lists, and will totally leave others wanting. For my part, I’m enjoying it, but I can tell that it deserves more credit than that, seeing as how I’m hard-pressed to find flaws, thus it will get appropriately high scores. Communic is a band worthy of the attention of any prog-metal fan, in addition to any other metalhead with at least a tolerance of clean and emotional vocals and an appreciation of melody and expertly constructed songs. Very nice work here.
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