Review Summary: The best virtuoso album of its time? Very possible.
They say hindsight is always 20-20; well, 1987's Mind's Eye
is a classic shred masterpiece that effectively combines skill, catchy melodies, and mind-blowing solos to create an album that still demands respect even today. While its style can now be considered dated, Mind's Eye
does rise above the cheesy, overly-gaudy drum tracking and effect-saturated guitar tones that became so cliché in the '80s metal scene. Instead, Moore wisely opts to keep the emphasis on his musical and songwriting prowess.
The first thing I notice as the 1st track ("In Control") starts is how well the rhythm flows as I naturally find my foot tapping along to music. I mention this because even as a Prog lover myself, far too often within the virtuoso circle, artists suck themselves into the rut of showcasing only technical proficiency rather than creating remarkably skilled, quality music that an untrained ear may still enjoy.
Fortunately, the rhythm remains rock solid throughout the album, never leaving the listener feeling confused by strange time signatures, oddly broken up measures, or mindless shredding that would be about as exciting as watching your professor stand on stage doing math problems. The simplicity on the backend allows for Moore's guitar work to grab center stage, and blast off to another planet.
Moore relies heavily on high-to-low, and low-to-high arpeggio runs on the G, B, and E to form many of the choruses and motifs. While Moore's style can become repetitive and at times predictable, Moore keeps each song fresh and manages to avoid the perception of all the songs mashing up to form a single epic. Frankly, it's a bit difficult to describe an album of this kind beyond, "impressive, tasteful shredding, check it out;" thus, this is where I'll tell you that the album is in fact quite impressive, comprised of tasteful shredding, and is certainly worth a listen. Or ten.
The sole minor complaint I can muster up is that the whole album is performed with a distorted guitar tone, excluding a minute long classical intro on "Saved By A Miracle." Additional clean work would've only strengthened this magnum opus, but this shortcoming is quickly forgotten by the sheer awesomeness of the actual finished product.
All in all, while Moore may not possess the string-melting capability of Malmsteen, nor the sensual feel of Timmons, Moore does very well with his talents, which results in a stellar album that is tough to top by any standards. I also can't help but wonder why Moore wasn't even more highly regarded in his prime.
"Shadows Of Yesterday"