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Galadriel — Mindscapers
(Musea FGBG 4233.AR, 1997, CD)

Mindscapers Cover art

For some reason this neoprog concept album keeps conjuring up somewhat misplaced visions of Queensrÿche's Operation Mindcrime with each listen. Perhaps it's the allusive title, the metalish guitar leads, and the often bleak, futuristic aural and lyrical landscape. Whatever the reason, the implication may be that there is little of interest here aside from some muted similarities to a minor decade-old classic. The concept itself is a bit laughable — flea-sized adventurers who navigate through the brain to cure hapless, over-stressed humans of their ills — but it wouldn't be at all bad if it took a back seat to some musical substance every once in a while. Unfortunately most of the music is subverted by the concept, and there is little in the way of sustained melodies or developed instrumental themes. Promising beginnings that sound like they could easily open out into powerful instrumental passages instead fade quickly away, replaced by background programmatic accompaniment to another section of the story. To be fair, there are certainly a few sustained, composed, cohesive sections, but any truly interesting or memorable material is quite scarce. A mediocre album at best, even by neo-prog standards.

by Rob Walker, Published 1998-07-01

Jesús Filardi's third work under the moniker of Galadriel has blossomed from the promised potential of their previous two Musea albums. Unlike solo projects which masquerade as real bands, Galadriel has avoided the trap as the band's identity has evolved despite shifting personnel. In fact the parallels to Camel's history are many for Filardi not only because he's the only original member left, but also the single creative force behind the group. Vocally his lyrical delivery parallels FM's Cameron Hawkins in approach and attack. This singing trait is both the strength and weakness of the album making it an acquired taste once the listener adapts to the sound of his lead vocal. Once you get past that, the rest of the album is very good. The title track draws easy attention with a recited description of the "Mindscapers" (by guest narrator, David Fulton) where the scientific role of these entities is described in detail within the brain. "Run for Cover" is also standout piece which relies on a subtle lyrical intro which builds to a forceful guitar and keyboard based main theme. Most of the album's guitar passages are powerful melodic surges, since Nacho Serano uses a sustain which also reminds me of Andy Latimer from Camel. The song writing has good development; passages are less keyboard-heavy than recent recordings and overall flow between tracks is better. Alex Romain's keyboards, are clearly understated to a tee and the use of piano is excellent. As a matter of fact, Mindscapers reminds me of Camel's Stationary Traveler period as Filardi balances poppish motifs with more complex arrangements. Another notch in the Musea catalog of European taste.

by Jeff Melton, Published 1998-07-01

Jesús Filardi is back with a new Galadriel release and essentially an entirely new band. It must have been difficult putting a new group together, but he is a determined guy and so here we are with Mindscapers, on Musea no less. The title is taken from a 16 minute sci-fi opus about a squadron of microscopic pilots whose mission it is to keep our minds healthy and happy. Here, and with the rest of the songs, many small, self-contained musical vignettes are linked together to form the greater whole. Some vignettes are predominantly vocal while others more instrumental. While this allows for a deeper exploration of dynamics and thematic shifts, it also occasionally robs the songs of cohesion. In many places these vignettes will come to a complete finish before the next begins, causing the listener to wonder if the song had ended or not. Exacerbating the problem is a relative flatness to the music overall. Generally the prevailing mood is laid back and casual, even hinting occasionally toward a jazzy approach. Jesús' vocal monologues are delivered in a partly spoken, partly sung approach and are typically dense with lyrics. And while his voice has a charming fragility to it, it unfortunately also often exposes somewhat weak technique. On the plus side, the playing throughout is crisp and full of finesse. The subtleties and nuances required by the material are easily within the grasp of these musicians. "Run for Cover," the most successful track overall, bristles with controlled intensity and sizzles along nicely. With a bit more energy and thematic continuity this could have been a superb effort. As it is, it's a strong showing from a fine band.

by Paul Hightower, Published 1998-07-01

Filed under: New releases, Issue 15, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Galadriel


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