Exposé Online banner

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

by Mike Grimes, 1997-02-01:

IV - Until Eternity Cover art

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).


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 Peter Thelen, 1997-02-01:

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.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 11 , 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Mastermind, Bill Berends

More info

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Lesli Dalaba / Fred Frith / Eric Glick Rieman / Carla Kihlstedt - Dalaba Frith Glick Rieman Kihlsted – Another super group of improvisers meet at the crossroads with this collection of seven dialogs. Fred Frith is well known to our readers as a proprietor of real time inspirational chaos while Lesli...  (2004) » Read more

Metamorfosi - Paradiso – It’s been quite some time since Metamorfosi tackled Hell in their classic 1973 album Inferno, and now they’re ready to take on Heaven. With the vocalist and keyboard player from that bygone era...  (2005) » Read more

Organisation & Kraftwerk - Tone Float, Kraftwerk 1 & 2, Ralf & Florian – Kraftwerk, like many of the long running German outfits, was a completely different creature at its inception then after they rose to popularity. These albums, including the pre-Kraftwerk...  (1995) » Read more

Nouvelles Lectures Cosmopolites - Unis & The Cereal Killer – NLC is a project led by one Julien Ash, who has apparently been at this for some time, although these two releases were my first exposure to his work Their relative anonymity may not last, as they are...  (2001) » Read more

Steve Peters - The Webster Cycles – One usually thinks of the trombone in its more typical context as an essential part of a jazz ensemble, filling in the melodic low end parts between blazing trumpets, saxophones, and such. On its own,...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues