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MIND KEY ‘Journey Of A Rough Diamond ’
Frontiers Records (2004)

Another month, another progressive metal band - another Dream Theater clone - or maybe not?

Mind Key is a five piece from the Italian city of Napoli featuring MarK Basile (vocals), Emanuele Colella (guitars), Dario De Cicco (piano, keys), Lele Castaldo (bass) and Andrea Stipa (drums). They started out in 1999 honing their skills in the clubs of their hometown. A four-song demo 'Welcome to Another Reality' followed in 2000, which led to their eventual signing by Frontiers for the recording of this, their debut album.

Listening to the album does bring Dream Theater to mind in places - but more their earlier, less self-indulgent output. The opening track 'Secret Dream' starts off sounding like something off DTís debut album 'When Dream and Day Unite' (personally one of my favourites) but then progresses into a style of its own.

The songs on the album all feature a variety of styles from epic progressive numbers to the shorter ballads, such as the delicate 'Without Ann'. Songs move fluidly from just piano and vocals to guitar shredding workouts to even what can best be described as 'jazzy interludes'. The only real off putting thing has to be the occasional high pitched keyboard 'squeaks' during 'Lord of the Flies' which detract from an otherwise excellent epic number.

Itís good to see Frontiers signing a high quality progressive metal band such as Mind Key rather than Inside Out having a monopoly on this type of band. In summary, a highly competent debut that bodes well for their future.


Review by Phil Berisford

Album review

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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