"Our Own Devices"

By Dark Starr

This is quite an effective metal album. It leans along the lines of progressive metal and epic metal. It’s often quite theatrical. In fact, sometimes it’s a bit too theatrical for my tastes (particularly in the vocal department). Still, with influences that seem to range from Iron Maiden to Queensryche and even Rush, you can’t go too far wrong here. Songs like "For All Mankind" (The Dark Design) and "Firefly" have that classical metal energy to them, but the progressive and epic elements of Mindcage come to the fore with tracks such as "The Human Race" and "The One Constant". In addition to the omnipresent Maiden/Ryche sounds, there's almost a symphonic and operatic edge, including some really powerful female vocals. At times, the vocals tend to overpower the music and come across as too fruity and that's my sole complaint with Mindcage.

The final three songs (two of them are parts of a suite) that end the album are the best pieces here and worth the price of admission by themselves. "Arabella's Arc" is flat-out metal with some screamed vocals like 70's Rush while the two-part suite "Renaissance" cuts loose with some very involved prog metal jamming. This again brings late 70's/early 80's Rush to mind but never in such a way that it seems heavy handed. This provides a very strong and fitting end to the album.