Exposé Online banner

Mastermind — Volume One
(Cyclops , 1987/1996, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-08-01

Volume One Cover art

Ten years after it was recorded and released as a cassette, and about six years after its original CD incarnation on ZNR records, Mastermind's debut is finally available once again. It establishes many of the surviving aspects of Mastermind's current sound, that furious fretted firestorm that can fool the listener into thinking "Hey, that's a great keyboard player," through the use of guitar synths with keyboard-type effects, and the powerhouse "blow out the main transformers" approach to classical-type themes in a rock format. Mastermind's ideals were (and still are) set primarily by a rock base firmly rooted in the late 60s and early 70s, before the heyday of so-called 'progressive rock.' Not constrained by the limitations of such labels, the band moves freely between the poles of the rock idiom. Certain tunes like "Long Distance Love Affair" and "Eye of the Storm" weigh in on the more accessible side of the scale, the latter could be a cross between Van Halen and ELP if it weren't for Berends' tenor crooning. Others, like "Fanfare" dial into a more classical-rock style. "On the Wings of Mercury" is a four-minute hard fusion fireball that incinerates everything in its path, while the closer "War Machine" hints at what was to come on Volume 2. For this reissue, two bonus tracks have been added, both recorded a few years after the other material, both vocal tracks in the four minute range. Is that Billy Idol's voice guesting on "Reach for the Sky"? Mastermind's debut still stands strong today a decade after its original release.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 10, 1996 releases, 1987 recordings

Related artist(s): Mastermind, Bill Berends

Latest news

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

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

(Tom Newman) - Variations on a Rhythm of Mike Oldfield - David Bedford – This is a four track EP, and is basically a Tom Newman album. It's confusing, I know. This is some of that stuff you know Oldfield and Co. did for laughs (when perhaps beer and worse entered the...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues