MESMERIZE - Off The Beaten Path

Mesmerize - Off The Beaten Path

11 songs
55:46 minutes
***** **

God knows I wanted to hate this CD. The cover artwork is a really poor rendition of a Gandalf-like wizard character walking through a medieval forest landscape. And the first time I listened to the CD, I actually disliked it a lot, so much for prejudices. But once you get past the fact that Mesmerize are one more Italian true metal band and see beyond the superficial veil, you will discover a rather good heavy metal band.

Instead of jumping on the true metal bandwagon, Mesmerize's roots go back to the late 80ies when the band first got together as the Mesmerizers. Although their first album only was released in 1998, they have not much in common with bands like Hammerfall and the likes. While listening to the album one evening while reading (best time to listen to music, that is), I nearly thought I was listening to old Iron Maiden, which I learned later are their main influence. Mostly the dual guitar solos sound 100% like the British legend, even if there's no Steve Harris on the bass guitar.

The song writing is decent enough, and songs like King Of Terror stick to your mind already after the second time listening to them.

Folco Orlandini's vocals may be more of a thing to get used to, but he used to sing with the semi-famous Italian prog metal band Time Machine, which speaks for his qualities. Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying that their third album Off The Beaten Path is a masterwork or that Mesmerize are reinventing the heavy metal genre... the later surely isn't even their intention. But you will absolutely get a solid piece of classic heavy metal by a band that sounds better than 90% of all new true metal bands. Seven subjective points from a reviewer who's more into grind and lo-fi.

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