Mastermind — Insomnia
(Lion Music LMC279, 2010, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2010-07-01
In 2005, five years after their previous, Angels of the Apocalypse, a Mastermind single called “Broken” appeared, featuring three new songs, an extended mix of the title cut, and four great live cuts – close to 45 minutes in all, featuring their new singer Tracy McShane, plus a mention that the full length, all-new Insomnia album would be coming in 2006. Well, so it took a bit more time than expected, but the album is finally here. Two cuts from the single are here along with eight new tracks, and after half a dozen listens I think it’s safe to say this is exactly the kind of record that Mastermind fans would be expecting – a tight-as-a-nut performance from brothers Bill and Rich Berends (guitar / vox and drums respectively), keyboardist Jens Johansson, and McShane’s powerful voice out front guiding the proceedings, with an assortment of different bassists, track depending. The sound is a solid hard-rock oriented progressive, but avoids the clichés of ‘prog metal,’ instead calling muses from an earlier time, before metal, and forming it into a blistering attack that is at once forceful, effective and satisfying. Unlike some of the earlier discs, there is only one instrumental here, but I’m not complaining. Guitarist Berends handles nearly all the songwriting and lyrics, as was the case on the six previous studio albums (all revisited in preparation for this review), but the result here tops all of those; that’s correct – I’m saying this is Mastermind’s best album to date.
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more