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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » Minds Eye - 2006 Walking On H20
 
Minds Eye - 2006 Walking On H20



ARTIST: Minds Eye
ALBUM: Walking On H20
LABEL: Lion Music
SERIAL: LMC 162
YEAR: 2006

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Andreas Novak - vocals * Johan Niemann - guitars, bass * Daniel Flores - drums, keyboards, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Earth The Movie * 02 A Rabbit In The Hat * 03 Equally Immortal * 04 Mrs Clair Voyance * 05 Sahara In An Hourglass * 06 Out Of My System * 07 Umbrellas Under The Sun * 08 Sacred Rules * 09 The Nazca Lines * 10 Flight Of The Anunnaki * 11 Heal My Karma * 12 When I Whisper * 13 Poseidon

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.roundrec.com


Background
If the name Daniel Flores starts getting mentioned around the GLORY-DAZE site anymore, then I might have to ask for donations to offset his popularity. His name has popped up so much over the last few years, appearing on various projects, usually as a drummer but he does thrash the ivories just as often. The last significant project he appeared on was more AOR based, that being last years very good Novak album, featuring fellow Minds Eye vocalist Andreas Novak. This time around, it's all hands on deck for Minds Eye's latest offering, and along with guitarist Johan Niemann (also of Therion), the band serve up a delightful musical treat. The cleverly titled 'Walking On H20' walks the progressive rock plank so to speak, similar to other Swedish progsters such as A.C.T and more recently Flagship, rather than the heavier Swedish prog brigade a la Cloudscape or Crystal Eyes. The album talks about tracing the evolution of mankind, and our impact on planet Earth. Our rather precarious position at this stage of history equates to skating on thin ice I would suggest, not walking on H20. However the theme is cleverly represented on the album cover in a regressional sense (i.e Mankind going backwards). Being relatively new to Minds Eye's music, I come at it with no preconceived opinion, and I come away impressed. Despite being labeled a prog band, this album has more in common with the melodic hard rock brethren. The vocals are rich and chorused, the keyboards and guitars are lush, the arrangements are not self indulgent, and the whole thing carries itself with a melodic air not heard since the halcyon days of Yes a la '90125' and 'Big Generator'. Whereby a recent review elsewhere suggested that 'Walking On H20' was (quote) 'a gorgeous sounding mix of symphonic prog and classic rock hooks' (unquote) is pretty accurate in my books.


The Songs
The album starts off with 'Earth The Movie', a spoken-word intro by a school-teacher which then migrates to a movie soundtrack like prelude amid JFK voiceovers pledging his effort to get man to land on the moon. This leads into 'A Rabbit In A Hat', which asks the question 'did man actually land on the moon?' What is not doubtful is the musical presentation. Prog hasn't sounded this commercial for a long time. 'Equally Immortal' opens with tender piano and emotive vocals. Though the choruses are punchy, this song is more at home for those Journey supporters out there. 'Mrs Clair Voyance' is a weightier affair containing Yes like harmonies. It is followed by the exotic flavour of 'Sahara In An Hourglass', a magic musical carpet ride swept across a desert soundscape of lucid but aural melody. Minds Eye venture down the commercial path briefly with 'Out Of My System', before hopping on the H.G Wells time-machine and jetting back to the 70's with 'Umbrellas Under The Sun'. The arrangement is superb in my books - it has everything that appeals to me in this genre! 'Sacred Rules' is less interesting for me but things pick up again on 'The Nazca Lines', the topsy-turvy nature of this song makes for a musical jigsaw, not unlike the song-title perhaps? (is it true that Aliens consider the Nazca Lines to be nothing more than cosmic graffiti of no real significance?). Those Yes comparisons kick in big time on 'Flight Of The An.Unna.Ki'. You'd swear that Rick Wakeman and Chris Squire had just dropped in for the day. If that was the case then Daniel and Johann would have nothing to do. You can also hear the musical signature of Rush in there too. This instrumental segues into 'Heal My Karma', a symphonic track that ebbs and flows like the tide. Wistful and tender is how best to describe 'When I Whisper', the arrangement using piano and strings to good effect. The finale to 'Walking On H20' is completed by the 11 minute grandeur that is 'Poseidon Says'. What can you say about this track? Gosh. You really have to hear it for yourself, and appreciate that Minds Eye have rolled all their energies into this epic. It has movie soundtrack snippets, quiet and introspective phases, fluid bass lines, string arrangements, an ultimate crescendo, and a fade out of radio broadcasts followed by Andreas Novak's vocal wind-down to the end.


In Summary
Along with Section A (who's 2006 effort 'Parallel Lives' is just around the corner and by all accounts is another gem!), Minds Eye are one of the figurehead bands for the Lion Music label. With an album this intriguing and intelligent, many of the self-confessed trainspotters who regularly visit GLORY-DAZE will dive right in and get their feet wet listening to this. Don't get caught up in the notion that this album will get pigeon-holed alongside the likes of Spocks Beard or Dream Theater. 'Walking On H20' is far easier to digest than those guys current offerings. Certainly for melodic rock fans this should appeal greatly and at 75 minutes, this will keep you occupied for a long while but hopefully not at the expense of the spouse. We wouldn't want Minds Eye being responsible for any marriage/relationship breakups now would we?


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