Mindscape - 'Dismantling Evolution'
Insanity Records (2002)

Official band website: score: 9 / 10 review by: Chris Clayton

The unmixed sessions for Mindscape’s latest full-length album ‘Dismantling Evolution’ were frequently gracing my doorstep. Culled from raw recording sessions, many of the tracks featured on the record were displayed on those rough demos, bypassing any sort of production with pure ferocious intent. As time has passed on and greater expectations have been built up, it’s almost been like watching something from the birth to the time it can finally fly. This rings true for ‘Dismantling Evolution’.

Comparing the rough mixes I received early last year to the final product allows for several key elements to be seen. Yes indeed, Mindscape totally slams and they deliver their music with full-on fuck-it-up intensity. The production remains rather disappointing but the general idea comes through regardless. In every respect, this is a raw, pissed-off record. Destructive madness ensues on power-packed numbers like opener ‘Pressure’. Built to the fore with thumping drums and crunchy guitars, layered neatly with rough but occasionally characteristic and unique vocals, this is the sound that Mindscape employs effectively.

Strong meaty songs come in thick and fast on the record, perhaps best exemplified by tracks such as ‘Shame’ and ‘Dream Of The Weak’, which come across as sweltering, intense slabs of unrefined brutality. It’s not a cultured outlook and nowhere near as polished as the band’s heroes Dream Theater but it is real and basic honesty within music counts for a hell of a lot these days. If as to cement the point, the band go for the jugular on the thunderous ‘World Of Dreams’, one of the most technically-able and memorable songs on the album. Likewise, the full-frontal assault of follow-up track ‘Deceiver’ cleverly throws everything but the kitchen sink at the listener.

However, it’s not the heavy songs that really set Mindscape apart from others. Anyone can write heavy metal songs. It’s the two melodic tracks on the album that truly make Mindscape a distinctive force. Whereas 99% of the album showcases vocalist Steve Bull’s sometimes-weak-sometimes-strong delivery, ‘Ultimate Gift’ and ‘Fly Away’ display his abilities to strengthen his capabilities as a vocalist when given the right sort of musical frame. For indeed, while he fires out fluctuating vocals on the heavy material, he seems much more comfortable when given the chance to let his voice breathe a little. ‘Ultimate Gift’ finds the band experimenting with Metallica-esque melodies before turning the pace back up again and then repeating the formula. But, that and pretty much everything else pales in comparison to the album highlight ‘Fly Away’, a warm and soft number draped in fragility and given a good coating of Steve’s comforting voice. It’s here that Mindscape quickly establish themselves as distinctive, easily marking ‘Fly Away’ as one of the best album tracks of 2002, which should be discovered by the fussy UK market on the double.

All in all, ‘Dismantling Evolution’ is a very decent offering, with plenty of blood ‘n guts heavy stuff, padded with a couple of stripped down songs to mix it up. The only slight grumble for you might be less-than-brilliant production but then, rather like Megadeth’s ‘Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?’ the raw delivery appears to compliment the music rather well. If you’re not a production nut you’ll probably appreciate ‘Dismantling Evolution’ for what it is – a strictly in-for-face slab of meaty heavy metal. And that, my friends, is a rarity these days.