The brothers Rich and Bill Berends really took their time for this new album Insomnia, they got a new vocalist named Tracy McShane, who has a darker voice than Lisa Bouchelle, who sang on the previous album, released in 2000.
As a vocalist she proves to be a worthy successor to Lisa, this girl has power, darkness and lots of emotion in her voice. Still continuing to play the keyboards on the albums is Jens Johansson, his remarkable playing is also one of the recognizable aspects for this band.
The music itself is still very progressive with some more accessible elements; influences from modern rock/doom and a touch of gothic have slipped into the sound of Mastermind.
The modern rock influences on the dark progressive song Desire , which opens the album, sets the mood for the complete album, an atmospheric intro, lots of power and a great voice.
Break Me Down has a riff which Korn would be happy about if they could use it for a song of their own; the vocals give this song a more Evanescence touch. The following One More Night starts off as a nice progressive rock song, until our friend Bill messes up the whole thing, by contributing his vocal part. I have to say I always accepted Billís voice as a part of Mastermind, but singing along Tracy makes his voice sound very poor. Luckily Meltdown makes up for it, Tracy shows her complete vocal range here, very impressive. Nice guitar/keyboard soloís and a Tool sounding bass. For me Piggy World is the best song on this album, Tracyís vocal parts start aggressive (talking) and flow into a wonderful melodic melody. The song has progressive keyboards and some great guitars. Cool song!
No Answer is more of a ballad with piano and a nice relaxed melody, my daughter liked this one and she is not a progressive rock fan, so a song for a broader audience.
The first note on Broken made me almost sing Tom Sawyer by Rush, but continues as a slow heavy doomy song. I heard Bill singing again. Night Flier is an instrumental piece, which suited well on the Excelsior album and has nice keyboard and guitar trade offs, makes me think of Planet X. Progressive fusion, nice.
The more straight forward Nietzsche is an excellent progressive rock song with vocals in the higher range. Enjoying the Last Cigarette, you can listen to some dark emotional vocals, that make this last song a pleasant ending of a nice album.
For me the vocals on this album are very important, Tracy does a great job and is very nice to listen to. Bill on the other hand, is not my favourite singer and next to a vocalist like Tracy, he sounds very poor. Sorry Bill, this is going to cost you one star. The two voices donít go together very well, but you hear them only on two songs, so plenty of nice songs left.
*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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