Mindcage
Our Own Devices


3.4
great

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
September 16th, 2013 | 12 replies


Release Date: 09/17/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Progressive metal in the vein of early Fates Warning and Queensryche, with just enough modern flair to avoid simply being a tribute.

Progressive metal is a very hit-or-miss genre for me. It seems that for every great release there are ten that are content to engage in 70-minutes of sloppy Dream Theater fellatio. Fortunately, Florida-based Mindcage don’t have any intention of getting their lips chapped on the shaft of prog-metal wankery. In fact, if comparisons had to be made they would be to the classic prog of early Fates Warning and Queensryche, but with a heavier vibe overall and enough originality to distinguish the band from their influences.

Mindcage’s debut, Our Own Devices, is a concept album about a dystopian society where technology has smothered the arts and creativity. This, of course, leaves the world broken and oppressed – and, thus, a hero is born. This hero is a girl named Arabella Vash (voiced by Hydrogen’s Julie Westlake), and she becomes humanity’s only hope to return to a free-thinking, creative society. Operation: Mindcrime this is not, but the album mostly lives up to its grandiose ideas and influences. This is in large part due to the expressive vocals of Jeff Hignite. Hignite’s voice is steeped in the classic 80s-era Geoff Tate style, right down to the soaring highs and deeper refrains. If there is a difference between the two styles, it’s in the actual vocal phrasing and Jeff Hignite’s throatier delivery. His expressive vocalization really does help to make the (occasionally over-dramatic) storyline work.

Musically, Our Own Devices runs the gamut from upbeat and intense to solemn and mellow as the storyline demands, and it is pretty well done. Queensryche’s first two full-lengths seem to be a pretty big influence on these guys, but I can also hear some Perfect Symmetry in the busier nature of the rhythms and some of the riffs. This is combined with a more modern, heavy undercurrent that keeps the album from simply sounding like homage to the past. This conglomeration of influences allows the band to stick to a very traditional sound when a song demands it while still being able to push the intensity without it sounding like an unattached tangent.

At this point, Mindcage is a relatively unknown band, but that will probably change once Our Own Devices has been released. Our Own Devices is an excellent extension of those classic progressive metal albums that existed before Images and Words messed everything up, but without sounding like a straight-up tribute to the past. It is a song-driven concept album featuring the theatrical vocals of Jeff Hignite and backed by a collection of excellent riffs, melodies and leads. This album will almost certainly appeal to anyone into the classic sounds of Fates Warning, Queensryche and any similar artists that put the song ahead of the prog.



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user ratings (4)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
September 16th 2013


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

The Human Race: https://soundcloud.com/brosseaupr/the-human-race-mindcage-from

Digging: Necropoli - I

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
September 16th 2013


7041 Comments


Hey look a wille review : ]

RacoonSlayer50
September 16th 2013


18 Comments


Great review. ill might check this album out

Wadlez
September 16th 2013


4096 Comments


Hating on dream theater is becoming a cliche of itself

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2013


10203 Comments


Florida-based Mindcage don’t have any intention of getting their lips chapped on the shaft of prog-metal wankery

some lovely imagery right here

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

Willie
Moderator
September 16th 2013


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

Hating on dream theater is becoming a cliche of itself


I'm not hating on Dream Theater. I like DT. I'm hating on all the bands that have taken that blueprint and failed at reproducing it over and over again without any original thoughts in their heads.


Nagrarok
September 17th 2013


8247 Comments


In fact, if comparisons had to be made they would be to the classic prog of early Fates Warning and Queensryche, but with a heavier vibe overall and enough originality to distinguish the band from their influences.


Consider me interested.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2013


6105 Comments


Great review as always Trey, will check the YT link after work.

Digging: The Sabbathian - Ritual Rites

Willie
Moderator
September 17th 2013


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

It's pretty good. The vocalist definitely has one of those powerful, yet traditional, prog metal voices and that will be the main barrier.

BallsToTheWall
September 20th 2013


44378 Comments


Florida prog metal? Gayyyyyyyyyy.

Digging: Pharmakon - Abandon

BeneaththeDarkOcean
July 20th 2014


438 Comments


Great review, Willie! Although I am curious to hear how you think Images and Words "messed everything up", obviously it was a groundbreaking album.

This is a great album by the way, I'm halfway through it and especially loving the production, everything's really clear in the mix (that's what you get when you get the guy who mixed Master of Puppets to mix your album). :]

Willie
Moderator
July 21st 2014


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

Great review, Willie! Although I am curious to hear how you think Images and Words "messed everything up", obviously it was a groundbreaking album.
I agree that Images and Words is a groundbreaking and classic album. It's not really the album itself that messed it up, it's all the imitators. Before I&W progressive music still built around actual songs (for the most part). After I&W the sheer amount of random instrumental masturbation increased 10-fold. It's just like Meshuggah's album didn't mess anything up directly, but all the Djent bands that have come afterwards are mostly messing up the formula.



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