One might not always think of it that way, but getting into music has a cost of entry: time. While it might not be as apparent with your typical pop song, it becomes increasingly obvious the more technical the music is. Because, unlike the former, the latter usually aims to challenge the listener with hidden intricacies and complex, often nontraditional, song structures. In their eight years of existence, Mindpatrol have without a doubt proven that they don’t shy away from the unconventional and their new record Ikaria is no exception. I’ve had the privilege of getting my hands on it early and I want to talk about it, because it made me think about something.
First off, despite going through an almost complete line-up change, the quintet has stuck to their tried and tested formula of writing concept albums that don’t really stay inside the boundaries of a single metal genre and continue expanding the idea with a couple of new elements.
The most notable addition is a flamenco guitar that constitutes the main body of the instrumental title-track, which serves as a nice breather in the middle of the record. Instrumentally speaking, I would consider this to be Mindpatrol‘s heaviest record with the influence of the new members definitely being noticeable.
In the vocal department, we have what I think might be my favorite chorus of the band thus far in the form of super fast, almost rapped, lines on Trial Of A Simple Man that are interspersed with anthem-like screams. The clean vocals have, yet again, improved and the last forty seconds of the single Stainless White, found below, are a true testimony to their evolution. For my personal taste, the ratio between cleans and screams was just a bit off, and I would have loved more growls, screeches and angry shouts into my ear canals, but that’s just me.
I mentioned cost of entry earlier, and Ikaria is not a record that I’d call easily accessible, at all. After my third listening, the twelve songs started making sense to me and I was appreciating them more. But that was where I ended my exploring, because I noticed that I simply couldn’t devote enough time to it, in order to do it justice.
The main thing that kept me from going forward, was the run-time, which made me think about the age-old discussion of what the perfect length of a music release should be. At sixty-four minutes, Ikaria is not something I can put on during my daily commute and finish in one sitting, which is my main way of consuming music in general. And with traveling not really being a thing, at least for me, these days, that takes another big chunk from my usual musical routine. I want to make it clear though that I don’t mean that any artist should ever, EVER, EVER make a song or album shorter just for the sake of it being shorter and instead should always go with their vision.
All in all, Ikaria has the potential of being a very enjoyable album if you give it the proper time to unfold but the album as a whole didn’t speak to me personally, call it wrong place, wrong time, so I had to call it quits too early to savor it fully. However, if you are into progressive metal and are willing to invest the time, I can guarantee that Mindpatrol‘s newest release will not disappoint. You can find more info on the band’s Facebook page ahead of the release on June 4th and be sure to check out the video below!