MINDPATROL - Vulture City

Mindpatrol - Vulture City

10 songs
50:35 minutes
***** ****


At the end of every odd-numbered year, we have to get ready for a new album by Luxembourgish metal band Mindpatrol. Their debut Downfall Theatre from 2003 was an ambitious if slightly flawed first effort, on which they built on the successor The Marble Fall two years later. Production skills were already more professional, and the album had a more homogenous sound. Now they are back with album number three, Vulture City, and once again the band made huge improvements, and also some changes.

The previous record came out on a small independent label. This time Mindpatrol decided to do things by themselves again, although production and mastering were in the hands of professionals. Itís also their first album to fully feature three guitarists. They also play in other bands: Xavier in metalcore band We Knew John Doe, Yann in progressive metal band Decipher and Miguel in old school thrash metal band Fusion Bomb. These different backgrounds come together in a very unique sound that Mindpatrol finally seem to work out for themselves. They label their music extreme progressive metal, and while the progressive elements are more than obvious, the extreme component probably means the bandís openness for all kinds of sub-genres: thrash metal, death metal, black metal, doom metal and post metal all have their place on Vulture City, which is also at fifty minutes a good ten minutes shorter than their previous efforts.

My first impression was not yet one of complete conviction, but thatís because so much is happening on every single track that you need to listen to them a couple of times before you finally unlock every little melody and secret ingredient. The nearly six-minute-long opener Mother is one of the bandís more aggressive tracks, and although three guitars are at work, they never give the impression that one is trying to steal the spotlight from the other two. The vocals are harsh, but also vastly improved. Singer Luc finally feels much more confident as a frontman. And once you think the track is over at four and a half minutes, we get an encore that takes a somewhat psychedelic direction. The following Whoreheart is also a powerful thrasher, but also comes with more melodic parts on which Luc introduces his melodic vocals which this time around sound harsh and whispered and actually fit the mood of the music perfectly. He, Summoned By The Needle combines brutal thrash metal with incredibly crazy prog rhythms and so many parts that this should be a feast for the sophisticated extreme prog fan. Calamity (The Cleansing) is another wild ride through the edgy waters of progressive thrash metal, before the title track, at three and a half minutes, is a more melodic piece with a very dark atmosphere.

On the bandís first album, the songs became gradually more aggressive throughout the album. This time it seems to be the other side around. Not that Mindpatrol are soft from here onwards, but the songs before more varied in timbre. The first video edit Her Dire Sacrifice comes with a great chorus and is a masterful example of progressive power thrash metal, with a very strange middle part to shake things up even more. The Latin titled Tentatio Utopiae also convinced with a really memorable chorus, proving once and for all that Mindpatrol have finally become the mature metal band they always strived to be. The complex six-minute epic Enjoy (The Violation) is followed by another highlight: I, Observer With Crimson Hands is melodic progressive death metal at its best, with a chorus that somehow reminded of the better moments of Scarred. The album concludes with the seven-minute behemoth The Voyager, an incredibly varied track with some fine doom metal parts.

As you can guess, Vulture City is a big step forward for Mindpatrol. Everything sounds perfect, and even though sometimes the many different parts can leave you light-headed for moments, there are enough melodic parts that keep it all finely together. As with the debut album, there is a companion novel, also titled Vulture City, written by vocalist and author Luc FranÁois. This far future science fiction novel about a brother and a sisters making their lives through a desolate city is already his fifth novel. Not bad, considering he is only twenty-four years young. Do read the novel, provided you know the German language, because the book and the record give even more depth to each other. If Mindpatrol continue to grow like this, there is certainly no stopping them.

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