Released By : Snowblind Productions
Genre : Traditional Heavy Metal
George Call – Vocals
Terry Dunn – Guitars
Chuck Hopkins – Bass
Marty Schiermann – Drums
01. Taming The Beast
02. Floodgates Of Hell
04. King Of Nothing
05. Hangman Lies
06. Full Circle
08. Legend Lost
09. The Phalanx
10. Halls Of Karma
I must admit that at first I didn’t get the connection. I began listening to this album without reading anything about it and went in as cold as could be. Within the first few minutes though I thought there was no way the class of the music I was hearing was created by a bunch of unknowns, and I was sure I recognized those vocals too. I let the album play right through to the end first and then decided to try and find out why the vocals seemed so familiar.
I was rather shocked to discover that the vocals were contributed by none other than George Call, who is responsible for the vocals on a few albums I really, really enjoyed by a Traditional Heavy Metal act called ASKA, and if you haven’t heard of them I suggest checking out some of their material right away, it’s top shelf for sure. But the shock still wasn’t over…Not by a long shot. Eventually I realized that this isn’t some new BANSHEE, no, no, no. This is THE BANSHEE, the band who released on of my favourite E.P’s of all time called CRY IN THE NIGHT back in 1986! They also released a couple of very good albums that are ones I have enjoyed at some stage or another in the past. I guess I should have connected the dots just by the band’s very distinctive logo, but seeing as though nary a thing has heard out of the band’s camp for around twenty years, and the fact that there was very little fan-fare about this album before its release I almost feel validated…Almost.
Anyway, that’s enough of me trying to justify myself don’t you think? Let’s get stuck into the music. Well, let me just say that MINDSLAVE is a truly awesome metal album that takes the Traditional Heavy Metal of the DIO vein, mixes in some IRON MAIDEDN-esque NWOBHM and tops it all off with the slightest of modern flair, all wrapped up in a monstrous production. The main draw card of the album is that all of the guys involved with the band these days have doing this for a long, long time and are really tuned into what they are doing. What I also noticed about the album is that you can almost feel how passionate the guys were about resurrecting BANSHEE. A lot of bands reform for the wrong reasons and end up releasing sup-par material that tarnishes their legacy, but these guys have clearly gotten back together due their still burning passion for all things pure metal, and it shows in the outcome.
Maybe it’s a shame for some people that the band couldn’t coax their original singer back into the fold, but for me I couldn’t be happier. As I mentioned earlier in this review, I was already a big fan of George Call, and the work he has done here is some of the best in his career. His vocal approach is in the DIO mould, but he also manages to channel Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, Tony Martin and others while making his own individual stamp on the sound. His higher register and vibrato work across the album give it a pure world-class feel and I can’t imagine anybody better suited to the job.
It’s hard to really point out the highlights here as MINDSLAVE really is a great album from beginning to end, but I’ll try anyway. Opening track TAMING THE BEAST has that rollicking IRON MAIDEN vibe to it, but with a few touches that make it feel a little bit heavier than what you would expect from MAIDEN. The title track MINDSLAVE mixes classic metal riffing with a bit of an early nineties metal groove, KING OF NOTHING is one of the best pure metal songs I have heard since the loss of the almighty DIO and should make any metal fan happy. HANGMAN LIES is a little different and has some definite modern metal tendencies, but Call’s classic metal vocals mix in to make a unique hybrid sound that seems to work very well. LEGEND LOST is a slower, brooding beast that I believe is a tribute to DIO, one which would make him proud I’m sure. There’s no filler in sight, but the tracks I mentioned are the ones that seem to rise above the others just a little bit.
BANSHEE have given the metal world a perfect example of the right way to make a comeback after a twenty year absence, stylistically there is certainly enough elements of the band’s earlier work, especially the CRY IN THE NIGHT E.P to ensure a logical use of the name, but everything has been rehashed, rejigged, refreshed and slightly modernized enough to give it some current day relevance. I for one am very glad to reacquaint myself with the almighty BANSHEE, and if this is just the beginning of a new era for the band, George Call in tow, then I already can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
Written By ZeeZee