Exposé Online banner

Mastermind — IV - Until Eternity
(Cyclops CYCL 043, 1996, CD)

by Peter Thelen, 1997-02-01:

IV - Until Eternity Cover art

For their fourth album, Mastermind has carefully balanced all of their best tendencies within eight tracks of varying length, offering an album that captures the spirit of late-60s/early-70s rock living within the technology of the 90s. The brothers Berends have been playing these two forces off one another since their late-80s debut, but the sum of the parts have never before come together so well. As always, the playing is impeccable, but this time composition has taken a bold step forward, more concise and memorable overall. The material here is mixed between vocal and instrumental tracks — and while Bill Berends is not the world's most versatile vocalist, he seems to understand that and works well within the areas where he is most capable, his voice sharing an equal billing with the music in the mix. The album has considerable variety — "Jubilee" and "Inferno" are two shorter instrumentals, while the title track is a thirteen minute multi-part opus that stands very strong next to two similarly inclined efforts from the second album. "Under the Wheels" delivers a pessimistic and disillusioned view of modern society both in its music and spoken lyrics, and may be one of Mastermind's finest moments to date. "Dreaming" captures the essence of the quintessential 60s rock single, though how far that gets it in the 90s remains to be seen. Those who are not fans of the three-piece guitar/bass/drums sound pioneered by bands like Cream probably won't be won over by this either — even if the guitars do sound like keyboards sometimes. But overall, this is clearly Mastermind's most cohesive effort to date.


by Steve Robey, 1997-02-01:

Mastermind's calling card is the extraordinary talent of frontman Bill Berends, who composes the material and provides much of the sound, with his midi guitar and traditional guitar leads. Mastermind's fourth album further develops the musical themes explored on the first three, with a few fresh new elements thrown in for good measure. The opening track, "Under the Wheels," has a great riff, spoken vocals, and a mesmerizing middle section. This track reminds me a bit of recent Rush material, as it combines a progressive structure and attack with a modern, state-of-the-art sound. Unfortunately, no other track on the album grabs me like the first one.

The remainder of the album alternates between mid-tempo ELP-like instrumental sections and overblown ballad material. While the band's skill is formidable throughout, particularly Rich Berends’ drum work, the album never elevates beyond standard modern prog. My recommendation is to see this band live (I have twice) — their energy and dexterity come through much better in a live setting. The band has always had a very hard-edged, angry sound; this sound is best heard on stage. Overall, most Exposé readers will find this album impressive, if but somewhat lacking in engaging material.


by Mike Grimes, 1997-02-01:

Mastermind's fourth offering lies somewhere between melodic rock, hard rock, and progressive rock. Guitarist / songwriter Bill Berends plays and writes in a style reminiscent of people like Steve Morse and Eric Johnson — especially the Celtic rock inspired parts in "Jubilee" and "The Tempest." Throughout the album, the compositions are mostly open arrangements that leave plenty of space for the melodic guitar and midi-guitar lead lines. The Berends brothers stick to basic three and four beat time signatures, but provide depth and complexity in the tracks with unusual accent placement, harmony parts, and offset multiple melody lines. The sound can be quite interesting, especially considering that two guys did it all. Remember how you felt when Jeff Berlin sang on that last Bruford album? You'll feel the same way about the Mastermind vocals. He's not really singing out of key or anything, but... uh, did I mention he can shred on guitar?!?! At least he seems to be staying in his vocal range more on this album than the last one. Actually the coolest vocal parts on the album are the spoken "Thela Hun Ginjeet"-style mutterings on "Under the Wheels." Some of the low-pitched vocals, combined with the parallel fifth harmonies give some places, like the middle of "The Tempest," a haunting Devo sound. Much of the album is instrumental, so the vocals often aren't really an issue. The extensive tritone use, especially in "Under the Wheels" and "Until Eternity," is very suggestive of Anekdoten and King Crimson. With its shredding guitar, hectic changes, multiple parts, and sudden ending, "Until Eternity" (the title track, not necessarily the whole album) should really appeal to Dream Theater fans. If you like Dream Theater, King Crimson, and Eric Johnson, you're sure to like Until Eternity (the album, and the song too).


Filed under: New releases , Issue 11 , 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Mastermind, Bill Berends

More info
http://mastermind.bandcamp.com/album/mastermind-iv-until-eternity

Latest news

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Michel Sajrawy - Yathrib – The nine tracks presented on Yathrib not only attempt to bridge Arabic traditional composition forms, western jazz idioms and progressive rock, they also bridge the cultural differences (Christian,...  (2008) » Read more

Mauve Sideshow - Meet Me in the Wasteland – Meet Me in the Wasteland is the latest and final musical chapter of Treva (voice, electronics) and Dusty Lee (Mellotron, keyboards, sound collage). Like their self titled CD of two years previous,...  (1994) » Read more

Zzaj / Kissinger / Kramtones - Critical Mass & Emotional Circus – Rotcod Zzaj is a do-it-yourself musician who produces his own cassettes, right down to the home-made packaging and the handwriting on the labels. Working in collaboration with other musicians, he...  (1995) » Read more

Twin Age - Moving the Deck Chairs – Ten years ago this would have been right at home on the SI label. For many readers, maybe that’s all you need to know. If you don’t know what that means, well, consider some of the more...  (2001) » Read more

Norma Tanega & Mike Henderson - HybridVigor – Despite the presence of guitarist Mike Henderson, this disc sounds nothing like Djam Karet. Rather it is a pleasant if unspectacular acoustic excursion combining the talents of Henderson with master...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues