Mind-A-Stray - Sign Of Victory
At any rate, I digress-my intent is to review this kick ass demo sent to me by Tommi Tilhonen, so let's tackle that task. From the first track, I was greatly impressed by the skills displayed by this band, and I'd compare it to only two of the most excellent demos I've had the pleasure of reviewing in the last two years. In terms of production quality, it actually exceeds the 2003 Shadow Demon demo, and in terms of musical ability, it's on a par with Imp's "Ashes in the Hourglass". Very playable and very enjoyable-I practically gushed, however I am a barbarian and as you know, all barbarians are genetically incapable of gushing. It sounds like a serious work-the voices are balanced, the drums are tight without annoying overtones and properly gated, I would imagine. Sammi Ilvonen takes an interesting approach to metal vocals with his operatic baritone style in a way that brings to mind a beefed-up, metalled-out version of Green Carnation. The first and last tracks attack fast with traditional juicy riffage, and the middle track , more ballad-like than anything else, sweeps over the listener with all the subtlety and seductive power of good opium. Not an unkind word can I muster to say about this band, based only on this demo
EXCEPT LOSE THE DAMN NAME! This is one of the downfalls of the necessity of being fluent in English but not thinking in English-there are some little details that can be an obstacle to marketing. Take Magic Kingdom, for example-good band, yes, but did no one tell them that their band name is a synonym for Disneyland in the United States? Makes it a little tougher to be taken seriously over here. My only problem with Mind-A-Stray is the packaging-the name has no definite imagery that comes to mind when you first hear it. Too many hyphens for too few syllables-it's too cerebral and therefore suffers for lack of simplicity. Hemmingway said "give me the clean, crisp, clear line" and the same can be said for band names. Simplicity in all things, with nouns providing the quickest, easiest imagery. The same goes for the chosen cover art-a briefcase opening in mid stride with a variety of objects spilling out that can represent various aspects of societal ills: sex, drugs, crime, death-too cerebral, but still well done.
If I owned a major label, I would sign them right away-with a stipulation that they immediately change their name. If I were their manager shopping this band to my major label, I would insist at the next band meeting that the name has got to go. Based on what I've experienced so far, there is no reason for this band to remain unsigned-the production quality on this demo is far better than some recent major releases by some of my all time favourites (Dance Of Death and Helldorado). Hopefully, they'll get a catchy name, release a full-length CD and get a spot on a tour with Persuader.
I don't give chalices for demos lads, but good job anyway.