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"Man Vs. Machine" (Siegen Records)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)

Mystic-Force is poised to be the next breakout sensation in the power metal underground. Mystic-Force already have two solid CDs under their belts, but have now returned with a third (and even better) effort entitled "Man Vs. Machine."

With a style reminiscent of what Queensryche would sound like if they didn't change a whole lot after "Rage For Order" Mystic-Force add updated touches of progressive metal to their power metal core for a near perfect blend of melody and technical precision. The skillful arrangements add depth and emotional intrigue to the machine/humanity story. The music is a unified whole that rocks just as hard as it challenges the mind. The interesting element here is that the band takes the first person view of themselves as the machine wishing to be human knowing full well that man's imperfections are built into machine's hardware and software. 

"Identical Strangers" takes the Queensryche sound and adds its own aggressive edge with progressive embellishments worthy of guitar heroes. Even the instrumental "Master The Moments" adds flair and sensibility.

New vocalist William Wren takes a voice slightly reminiscent of an aggressive Geoff Tate. Wren can belt out the lyrics in a variety of ways. Aggressive rockers like "Circuitboard Ministry" displays Wren's penchant for passion and slower tunes like "One And Only" and "Suffering Minds" get similar treatment as the songs lend themselves to equally passionate renditions in stark contrast to the bombast of the heavy rockers.

Mystic-Force delivers with top-notch writing and memorable songs - a damn good combination if you ask me. "Man Vs. Machine" deserves a home in your CD player.

And Travis Smith does the artwork! You can't go wrong! 

"Man Vs. Machine" was produced by Mystic-Force, engineered by Rich Davis, and mixed by Drew Mazurek. 

Mystic-Force is William Wren on vocals, Rich Davis on guitars and guitar synth, Keith Menser on bass and keyboards, and Chris Lembach on drums and electronic percussion.

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Rating Guide:

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) A classic. This record will kick your ass.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) So-so. You've heard better.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

restinks.jpg (954 bytes) Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 20 Mar 2023 19:45:06 -0500.