Mind Key -
Aliens In Wonderland

(CD 2019, 57:49, Frontiers Records FR CD 961)

The tracks:
  1- Alien In Wonderland(5:28)
  2- Hank (The Blazing Eyes)(4:41)
  3- Hate At First Sight(4:38)
  4- Angry Men(5:25)
  5- Hands Off Cain(4:49)
  6- Be Polar(6:07)
  7- Oblivion(4:57)
  8- Psycho World(5:30)
  9- Vertigo (Where The Cold Wind Blows)(5:40)
10- Pure He/art(4:29)
11- No-Existence(5:59)

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Italian progmetallers Mind Key have returned to the scene after an almost ten year hiatus with a brand new album; Aliens In Wonderland. Since both guitarist Emanuele Colella and keyboard player Dario De Cicco started the band back in 1999 lots have changed. After their debut album Journey Of A Rough Diamond, their vocalist Marco Basile choose to leave the band and move onward to join DGM. The band then recruited Aurelio Fierro Jr. to join the ranks. A second successful album; Pulse For A Graveheart was released in 2009. Since that album, the band has changed its rhythm section and due to serious illness of Dario, it took until 2019 to proudly release Aliens In Wonderland.

Although guitar player Emanuele Colella has a very different approach and feel like DGM's Simone Mularoni, there certainly are musical similarities. On the other side, Mind Key also embraces the US AOR sound, which can be found on many solid Frontiers Records releases. Already during the powerful opener, Alien In Wonderland, both elements are combined and I think vocalist Aurelio has a smoother, cleaner voice as his predecessor. During the following; Hank (The Blazing Eyes) the symphonic element takes a larger role in the music, lush keyboards and orchestration shows the other side of the band. A song like Hands Off Cain strongly emphasis the wonderful vocals and tends to go more towards the melodic rock side. A song absolutely worth checking out is the smooth ballad Oblivion, which not only has beautiful vocals and subtle keyboards, it also has a great guitar solo. The album's final track; No-Existence is a fine, solid progressive rock composition, great keyboard and guitar solos, dedicated drum parts and a thundering bass laying down the base for a vocalist who is really on fire.

Mind Key has made the ten year wait one worthwhile. Musically both progressive rock/metal fans on one side as well melodic rock/AOR fan on the other side will absolutely be pleased with the release of this stunning album. Great vocals, powerful guitars and symphonic keyboards are the main ingredients of this very interesting album. I think I have to check the previous album out, since I seemed to have missed that one.

****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Dave Smith)

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